Motivational commencement speech by Peter Dinklage for Bennington College’s Class of 2012
When I was 29, I told myself: the next acting job I get, no matter what it pays, I will, from now on, for better or worse, be a working actor. At 29, walking away from data processing, I was terrified.
10 years in a place without heat, 6 years at a job I felt stuck in. Maybe I was afraid of change.
I got a low-paying theatre job in a play called Imperfect Love. Which led to other roles, which led to other roles. And I’ve worked as an actor ever since.
Raise the rest of your life to meet you. Don’t search for defining moments because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened. And they will already happen again.
You just get a bit derailed. But soon something starts to happen, trust me. A rhythm sets in. Just try not to wait until, like me, you’re 29 before you find it. And if you are, that’s fine too. Some of us never find it. But you will, I promise you.
Don’t wait until they tell you you are ready.
The world might say you are not allowed to yet. I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail. Please, don’t even bother asking, don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it.
The world is yours. Treat everyone kindly and light up the night.
Thank you so much for having me here.