Graduation season is upon us! (We at GCP are especially excited about this, as one of our young’uns is graduating in a few weeks.) For this week’s Thoughtful Thursday offering, we are serving up a few quotes from commencement speeches to inspire us all. Enjoy.

“You have been tested and tempered by events that your parents and I never imagined we’d see when we sat where you sit … And yet, despite all this — or more likely because of it — yours has become a generation possessed with that most American of ideas: that people who love their country can change it for the better. I dare you to do better. I dare you to be better.” President Barack Obama

“Think hard, always think hard, but don’t worry too much about figuring out a precise strategy, a step-by-step plan. Instead cultivate a faith, a specific faith that, by and large, doing the best you possibly can at what you value doing will bring you the chances and opportunities you need.” Social Psychologist Claude M. Steele

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Former Apple Computer and Pixar Animation CEO Steve Jobs

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

“Every encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you to be more of who you are… [F]igure out what is the next right move. The key to life is to develop an internal moral emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go. Oprah Winfrey