𝗥𝗨𝗟𝗘 𝟱: 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗞 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗕𝗨𝗧𝗧 𝗢𝗙𝗙.
And that brings me to rule number five, which is the most important rule of all: Work your butt off. You never want to fail because you didn’t work hard enough. I never wanted to lose a competition or lose an election because I didn’t work hard enough. I always believed leaving no stone unturned.
Mohammed Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the ’70s when he was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”
That’s what makes you a champion. And that’s the way it is with everything. No pain, no gain. So many of those lessons that I apply in life I have learned from sports, let me tell you, and especially that one.
And let me tell you, it is important to have fun in life, of course. But when you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard.
Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that.
Now, if you want to coast through life, don’t pay attention to any of those rules. But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work. None of my rules, by the way, of success, will work unless you do.
I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left.
Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.
Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left, and there are a lot of things you can accomplish. As a matter of fact, Ed Turner used to say always, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”
And, of course, all of you know already those things, because otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting here today. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.
𝗥𝗨𝗟𝗘 𝟲: 𝗜𝗧’𝗦 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗚𝗜𝗩𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞
And that takes me to rule number six, which is a very important rule: it’s about giving back.
Whatever path that you take in your lives, you must always find time to give something back, something back to your community, give something back to your state or to your country.
My father-in-law, Sargent Shriver — who is a great American, a truly great American who started the Peace Corps, the Job Corps, Legal Aid to the Poor — he said at Yale University to the students at a commencement speech:
“Tear down that mirror. Tear down that mirror that makes you always look at yourself, and you will be able to look beyond that mirror and you will see the millions of people that need your help.”
And let me tell you something, reaching out and helping people will bring you more satisfaction than anything else you have ever done.
As a matter of fact today, after having worked for Special Olympics and having started After School Programs, I’ve promoted fitness, and now with my job as governor, I can tell you, playing a game of chess with an eight-year-old kid in an inner city school is far more exciting for me than walking down another red carpet or a movie premiere.
So let me tell you, as you prepare to go off into the world, remember those six rules:
Trust yourself, Break some rules, Don’t be afraid to fail, Ignore the naysayers, Work like hell, and Give something back.
And now let me leave you with one final thought, and I will be brief, I promise.
This university was conceived in 1880, back when Los Angeles was just a small frontier town. One hundred and twenty-five classes of Trojans have gone before you. They have sat there, exactly where you sit today, in good times and in bad, in times of war and in times of peace, in times of great promise and in times of great uncertainty.
Through it all, this great country, this great state, this great university, have stood tall and persevered.
We are in tough times now and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. But there is one thing certain; we’ll be back.
And we will back stronger and more prosperous than ever before, because that is what California and America have always done. The ancient Trojans were known for their fighting spirit, their refusal to give up, their ability to overcome great odds.
So as you graduate today, never lose that optimism and that fighting spirit. Never lose the spirit of Troy.
Because remember, this is America and you are USC Trojans, proud, strong and ready to soar.
Congratulations and God bless all of you. Thank you very much. Thank you.