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May 15, 2020 15 mins

Radio and TV personality Bobby Bones who “has carved out a place for himself in nearly every corner of the entertainment world,” Bones is host of the nationally syndicated radio show, The Bobby Bones Show, which broadcasts to over 150 stations and is the #1 Country morning show with millions of weekly listeners.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Commencement Speeches for the Class of twenty is a production
of I Heart Radio. Class of Parents, faculty, rising graduates,
Welcome to commencement. You made it. This year is a

(00:22):
little different, a difficult time to graduate because the traditional
graduation day has been put on hold. So we're bringing
it to you wherever you are, because this is still
your day, your moment. And now put your hands together.
It's time to be inspired. This year's commencement speaker the
one and only Bobby Bones. Hello to the class of

(00:54):
My name is Bobby Bones. I am on your radio
every day with my show, The Bobby Bones Show on
I Heart Radio, on your t V, on American Idol.
I want a dancing show, which is uh even more
crazy molso on your bookshelf or your kindle. Got a
couple of New York Times best selling books there, and
you know I didn't make the last part. I have
a promise, but I don't want those things to paint
a picture that I was some cool guy with a

(01:16):
degree from a fancy college who could have been whatever
he wanted. You know, I'm a kid from a really
small town in Arkansas, Mountain Pine, Arkansas, population seven seventy two.
Who knew that if you ever wanted to be something
in this world and achieve his dreams, that he had
to put in real hard work. He didn't have advantages.
By the way I'm saying, he that's me. Feels a
little weird to say that, but you get it that

(01:37):
I would have to fail time and time again, and
then I have to get used to being rejected all
along the way. And someday, someday, after all these years
and years of hard work and determination, this person me
would be ridiculed by his peers and be dubbed an
overnight success, which is crazy. But as I sit here
before you today, I'm in my isolated studio, took away

(01:59):
in a corner upstairs in my house. I'm quarantine with
a girlfriend who is ten times more attractive than me.
And that's me on a good day. That can be
you one day. But if if that's your thing, whether
you're a girls or the guys, or dressing up like
furry animals, you know, rubbing together, whatever your thing is,
I'm not gonna judge you. But if you want to,
you can do it. Because it's a crazy world we're
living in right now, no doubt about it. The the

(02:21):
coronavirus pandemic is happening, and it feels like the last
time I left my house, Rkle was still on TV,
because that's been that long. By the way, for those
of you two young to remember RCLE, he was the
lovable nerd in the nineties TV show Family Matters. For
those of you too young to remember what the TV is,
it was that big black box that your mom and
dad would angle all the furniture in your living room towards.
And I know you're probably all gotten really gonna make

(02:42):
a TikTok dancing videos with your cat, but are also sad.
I thought of missing your graduation ceremonies and that stinks,
like I hate that for you, and I wanted to
share with you guys a little bit of my story
so you feel less alone, because I hate that you
can't do what is a big part in all of
our lives, which is going through graduation. But you're gonna
be stronger because of it. I promise you that everyone
who has ever walked the stage before you had to

(03:04):
overcome obstacles to get where they are and achieve their goals.
And maybe they're obstacles didn't come in the form of
a global pandemic. But I believe there is some beauty
in dealing with wrenches thrown in your gears. You probably
heard the phrases that tough times never last, how people
do right, and that's true now more than ever. As
we kind of wait for the world to get back
to normal or whatever normal may look like, you guys

(03:25):
will be the ones navigating that road, and you can
choose to go into it one or two ways, feeling
like life isn't fair because you don't have it easy
like those before you, or you can take it and
strive to realize that if you can get ahead of
this and come out on top, that you'll come out
stronger than anyone in history. You're gonna learn so much.
Now you get to write your own story. They may
cancel your graduation, they may cancel every event till the

(03:47):
end of the year, but they can't cancel your dream.
They can't cancel you make yourself essential. If you look
back in history, you can find people before you who
at one time we're dubbed as being non essential. Walt
Disney was labeled un as ential by the Kansas City Star.
According to his editor, he was fired because he quote,
lacked imagination and had no good ideas. Walt Freaking Disney

(04:11):
Steve Jobs. He was labeled unessential by Apple. He was
fired by the company he founded after one of his
Apple products was deemed a failure. In the eighties, Oprah
Winfrey unessential by a TV station in Baltimore. Seven and
a half months into her reporting job there, she was
fired and reportedly told by a producer that she was
unfit for television news. You're talking about three of the
biggest successes in American history. All were told as you're

(04:34):
not good enough, it's not for you at one point,
and every successful person's career, and probably more than that,
they were labeled unessential. Every person you look to and
admire for achieving their goals has felt so many times
along the way. And that's what I'm here to talk about.
They too were threatened to being canceled, but they didn't
let us stop them. They made themselves be undeniable. They
made their dreams and they're worth essential to them, and

(04:57):
then made it essentially everyone else too. You know, mom,
UTR for years has been fight, grind repeat, And if
you ever heard that before, I would I would suspect
you haven't because I'm not famous like Hillary Clinton or
Oprah or anybody else is doing. You know one of
these talks, fight, grind, repeat, it's easy. The fight is
seeing something that you want to do and knowing you

(05:18):
want to do it and having the passion to do it.
That's just a fight and getting started. That is the fight.
The grind is the everyday routine. It's the consistency tunnel
that is not comfortable because every day it doesn't feel
like you're getting ahead. Some days it feels like you're
losing a step. It's discipline, and the repeat is resilience
because you're probably not gonna make it the first time,

(05:38):
for the forty second time, or in my case, at
seventh time, but being able to bounce back and do
it again. That's the repeat. That's the fight, the grind,
and the repeat until you get it. Doesn't have to
be a job, could be a family, It could be helping,
it could be work. I wanted to be on the
radio and TV my whole life. I knew that since
I was a kid, and it wasn't The people in
my hometown ever me from achieving that dream. They just

(06:02):
didn't know that dream could ever be accomplished because no
one they had ever seen had to achieve a dream
like that. It wasn't a reality. Kids like me didn't
have that option of someday having a big, fancy pants
career like I have now. The struggle daily just to
get food on the table. Most people in my hometown
worked at the sawmill. The struggle was just to have
food on the table. So it wasn't that they didn't

(06:23):
want to dream. Was there was no room for a
dream because you just had to get food and to
make sure the bills are paid. Even for me, I
was the first person ever graduate from high school in
my family. The thought of someday graduating high school and
going into college was never really in the cars the
thought of it. But I knew if I ever wanted
to get my dream job, I would have to do
just that. So that's why I made doing well in
school such a priority. It was my way out of

(06:44):
a small town that was divided by railroad tracks. Still
to this day, I had to work the system. I
had to study hard, had to get good grades on
my s A T S and a C t s.
Had to land the jobs that were cleaning the radio station.
Convinced the people at the same radio station that a
dorky white guy with bad glasses could actually to get
on the air. Like all these really small steps happen
way early. By the way, I'm certainly really small steps today.

(07:06):
You know, it's the really non glamorous things that you're
going to do that makes all the difference in the world.
I've been on the radio for over twenty years now.
I have the biggest country music radio show in America,
biggest one they've ever had. I'll be honest with you,
but I've only ever been able to get to the
place where I am now because of all the really
small steps I've taken, all the adversity that I have
been through and learned from, and the chaos that I've

(07:27):
been able to navigate along the way. Basically, it's my
tool belt. I've used them as tools to craft my
own dream. I have learned, and I'm not kidding you
that the world is bendable. You can create the world
you want to live in, but it does take work.
But again, you can create the world you want to
live in. You can decide what you want to do,
you can set those terms, and you can go do

(07:47):
it if you want it. Bad enough. You don't just
wake up one day and decide I'm gonna run a marathon.
You kill yourself trying. But what you can do is
wake up one day and go, I want to run
a marathon, and then decide to take a walk, and
that walk leads to a job, and that job works
until a run before you know it, freaking finished line
of the marathons happening. Now. It doesn't come quick, it
doesn't come easy. But if it's what you really want,

(08:10):
there is no doubt that you can do it. But
you don't get to that finish line without shedding some
butt sweat and some tears from all parts of your
body along the way. And but sweat is not cute.
I don't know my girlfriend's guy a nice little but sweat. Listen,
no one likes talking about their butt sweat. No one
puts that on Instagram, and I haven't mean that in
a non funny way. Nobody puts the hard work on Instagram. Really,

(08:31):
social media is the trophy case. So stop looking at
other social media accounts going, man, they got it all
figured out. I'm gonna tell you, the more they're flexing,
the less they got in reality. The hardest working people
I know that have great jobs and great careers and
and smart thinking and big plans, they don't post that
stuff that much. So stop looking at social media as
basically a trophy case of all the things that haven't

(08:54):
haven't gone your way or their way in life. You
crying in a pilot, dirty laundry after not landing that
job you want to last twesda. It does not look
good in a post, so don't post that either. So
it doesn't matter if you have the Alcavia filter or
not for the hmming Way filter, whatever all those filters are.
But listen, that's what dreams are built on, right It's
the stuff people don't see much like all the anxieties
you're feeling right now because you're graduating, you're going out

(09:16):
into the real world, and you don't know what the
craft about to happen. You wouldn't known anyway, I'll be
honest with you, wouldn't know what's gonna happen in the
world anyway. And you've been like, what do I do?
But on top of that, freaking corona is here? Are
you kidding me? Actually? I'm excited for you because with
any struggle comes so much learning. You know, for me,

(09:37):
I went through a lot of crap to get where
I am today, and I used to look back and go, huh,
I feel sorry for that food stamp kid who's a
little shorter than everybody else, a little poorer than everybody else,
less athletic than the other guys, who didn't have a mom,
who's an addict, whose dad left. I felt sorry for
that kid. That's me, right But now I look back
and I'm so happy that I had that struggle because

(09:59):
now I'll go back to the tool belt. I have
the freaking tools. I have them. I have all the tools.
There's nothing in life right now that it's gonna hit
me that I can't take. You know why, because I've
already been through it and going through hard times. As
sucky as it seems, sometimes it's actually a really good
place for you to be because you're learning, you're acquiring

(10:19):
those tools. So it's are you willing to go and
sit through all the hard stuff to get what you want?
Most people are, I'll be honest with you. Most people are.
Most people say they want it, and then when it
comes down to really wanting it, most people want to
run a marathon. I mean, I like run a marathon.
I have put in the work for that, because that's
crazy talk. Most people want to run a marathon and
they're like one day, but they don't ever put in
the time. I've done a couple of triath lines. You know,

(10:41):
when it comes to work. Most people want to be
I have a big fans pants radio show, talk to
millions of people every day, be on TV, right books.
But it's all the stuff that you don't see that
actually make that happen. It's the tiny decisions every single
day when no one is watching you. It's not an
Instagram post, it's life. And if you're willing to do that,
you could be whatever you want it. And I'm excited
that you have a struggle right now because you're gonna

(11:04):
be smarter and stronger because of it. Now. I don't
know if you're listening to these other ones. I haven't
heard any other you know, speeches that celebrities way richer
and cooler than me. You are giving and they may
say they feel completely bad for you and life stinks.
And I must say, you're just lifting weights right now,
basically getting stronger for later. You're just training for later.

(11:24):
I know you can do it. You know you can
do it. That's the stuff. Dreams are built on. All
of your accomplishments, all of your success, It's all built
on stuff that people won't see. Remember that there should
be a voice in your head right now and talking
to you because you have a lot going on, and
it may say to you, am I good enough to
make it? Will there even be a place for my
crazy dreams once this is all said and done. That

(11:46):
voice is the test. Because if you're starting a question
and go, I don't know, maybe that's not for you.
But if you hear that and you go, yeah, of
course there is, that's what you're supposed to do. You
found it. That's it. This is all just a test.
A test is started once your life got flipped upside down.
And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there.
I'll tell you how I became the prince of a
town called bell Air. That's another nineties TV show. I

(12:07):
didn't mean all that stuff before that. I'm not here
to deny the fact that it doesn't suck right now.
But it's the world we're living in now. You either
run with it or you run away from it. That's it.
It's okay to be upset that you're missing out on
getting to walk across the stage and everybody clapping, all
your family and friends. You should be sad about that.
Take a minute and be sad. That's okay. And although
it may feel like all your hard work will be
for nothing without that moment, I'm here to tell you

(12:28):
you're gonna be fine. You're gonna be glowing. Ten years Fromell,
you look back and realize you were the first in
history to celebrate your graduation virtually. That makes you special,
if anything else. And did you really want to sit
in some smelly old jim crammed in an uncomfortable chair,
faking enthusiasm for all these random people you don't even know.
Probably not. It's way too long anyway, I'll be honest
with you. Make the most of this moment. You'll regret

(12:51):
it if you don't. I know. It may feel like
you've been cheated out of a senior year, as you
saw the class that graduated before you get all the
fun things for your high schoolers. Maybe you've missed out
on a senior trip or prom, or the shot at
that crush that probably never go out with you anyway.
For you college kids, maybe you didn't get to finish
out that internship that you can invested so much time into.
Sometimes we need a storm. There are times in my

(13:11):
life when a storm has led me to a better place,
given me a reset, shrunk my head. Storms can be great.
Maybe not right in the middle of the high winds
and pelting right into the storm, but when it blows over,
you really appreciate the view. So if anything, this is
giving you a head start to finding out that one
life isn't always fair. But the good thing is you
can learn from it and move on to the next
phase and be stronger because of it. The end of

(13:33):
high school, you get to going to college with a
fresh start. No one war remember the nickname the mean
kids gave you in school, you know, t Bone from
that time you're short, split wide open while wrestling another dude.
That's me. No one remembered. Yeah, I guess they kind of.
You get it. The end of college. Hey, you're in
the real world now I'm talking to you. It may
look a little different right now, So come on in,
grab a face mask, sanitize your hands, take the world

(13:56):
by storm, even if you have to stand six ft
away from your new boss. Class of I'm here to
tell you you are capable of anything that you set
your mind too. You are entering the next chapter of
your life in a world that may seem a little
more scary and a little more uncertain. This hasn't been
the most traditional commencement speech, but we're living in untraditional times.

(14:16):
Go out, set a new precedent, be the new standard.
Don't let anyone deem you unessential. You don't deem yourself unessential.
When you think I don't know if I can make it,
I did, look at me crazy. I shouldn't be here,
We shouldn't be anywhere. We're only where we choose to
be in work to get so. With that being said,
I'm proud of you. Congratulations. That's what I'm talking about.

(14:38):
Let's get going. Congratulations, class of Oh here goes nothing.
You can find aflection of incredible commencement addresses from all
your favorite speakers at the Commitment podcast on I heart Rate,

(15:00):
or wherever you listen to podcasts. H
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