Define Yourself by What You Love

This graduation talk by Australian comedian and Groundhog Day composer Tim Minchin contains advice that I’ve probably heard elsewhere, but it seems especially useful at a time when we’re all plagued by constant pressure to assert our identity on social media.

Overall the performance is good, but I especially like this part:

Define Yourself By What You Love

Recently I found myself in this business, when when asked what kind of music I like, I say, “Well, I don’t listen to the radio because pop lyrics annoy me.” Or, if someone asks me what food I like, my answer is, “I think truffle oil is used too often and is a little unpleasant.” And I see it all the time on the internet, people who consider themselves part of a subculture hate Coldplay, football, feminists or the Liberal Party. We have a tendency to oppose ourselves to things; As a comedian, I do it for a living. But try to also express your passion for the things you love. Praise those you admire in a demonstrative and generous way. Send thank you cards and give a standing ovation. Be supporters, not just opponents.

It’s been in 2013, but this is the first time I’ve encountered it. It’s so easy to get into this anti-everything pose. Irony is simple and safe; seriousness and sincerity make a person vulnerable. Identifying yourself by what you love means identifying what you love, which is at least a valuable exercise in gratitude.

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