Life hacks, according to Dr Taylor Swift
After receiving an honorary doctorate of fine arts from New York University, Taylor Swift stepped up on the podium in front of the graduating Class of 2022 for NYU’s 2022 commencement ceremony while rocking her graduation gown and her signature red lipstick.
The highlight of her 20-minute speech would be listing out the life hacks she wishes she had known she was starting out her dreams of a career, and navigating life, love, pressure, choices, shame, hope and friendship.
The singer-songwriter, producer and director left quite an impression with her inspirational and light-hearted speech as she joked that she was 90 per cent sure the main reason she was there is because she has a song called "22" and how she thanked NYU for "making me technically, on paper at least, a doctor”.
Now, what are the life hacks by the 32-year-old superstar?
Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go
First of all, Taylor mentioned that it is important for you to be aware that ‘catch and release’ is a crucial part of life where you have to know the things to keep, and what things to let go.
She said life can be heavy, and more so if you try to carry it all at once.
This is why you get to pick what your life has time and room for, so that more good things in your life can fill the room you have left for them instead of letting something negative outweigh those room for joys in your life.
“Often times the good things in your life are lighter anyway, so there’s more room for them. One toxic relationship can outweigh so many wonderful, simple joys. You get to pick what your life has time and room for. Be discerning,” she said.
Learn to live alongside cringe
Taylor said you can’t avoid cringe, it's inevitable.
“No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively.
“Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term ‘cringe’ might someday be deemed ‘cringe’,” she said in her speech.
She said what is more important is to make sure that you have fun doing those ‘cringe’ things, and you are able to look back and laugh at that.
Never be ashamed of trying
She called out for people to not be ashamed of trying because of the false stigma around eagerness, in our culture of ‘unbothered ambivalence’.
What this stigma encourages is the idea that wanting something is not cool and trying hard for it makes you look less ‘chic’ than people who don’t.
“And I wouldn’t know because I have been a lot of things but I’ve never been an expert on ‘chic.’
“But I’m the one who’s up here so you have to listen to me when I say this: never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth.
“The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it most are the people I now hire to work for my company,” she said.
Everything is up to you
As a songwriter, Taylor explained why she really does think all of us are writers or as she described, a literary chameleon.
She said most of us write in a different voice for different situations and that is fascinating to think about.
What it shows is the continuation of the idea that we are so many things, all the time and it is really up to us to decide what we want to be.
“And I know it can be really overwhelming figuring out who to be, and when. Who you are now and how to act in order to get where you want to go.
“I have some good news: It’s totally up to you. I also have some terrifying news: It’s totally up to you,” she said.
It's alright to make mistakes
As someone who started her career at the young age of 15, Taylor explained how she grew up with unsolicited advice which sent a message to her that mistakes equal failure and ultimately, the loss of any chance at a happy or rewarding life.
“But this has not been my experience. My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life.
“And being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience. Getting back up, dusting yourself off and seeing who still wants to hang out with you afterward and laugh about it? That’s a gift,” she said in the speech.
Then, she went on by listing the mistakes people would typically make such as trusting the wrong people, overreacting, hurting people who don't deserve it, overthinking, not thinking at all, self-sabotage, and the list goes on.
What she highlighted here is that such mistakes are inevitable and they will make you lose things in life, but that is not all there is to it.
“I’m trying to tell you that losing things doesn’t just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too,” she said.
She also mentioned how there will be times where your choices will lead you to the next choice, and making sure you are doing things at the right time is not easy.
In her own way, Taylor reassured that there is no way for you to know what the right choice will be in the crucial moments of your life, and that is totally fine.
“We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes. So will I.
“And when I do, you will most likely read about it on the internet. Anyway...hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it.
“As long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out. And I’m a doctor now, so I know how breathing works,” she concluded.