What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
We all seem to think that we’re somehow different — that the natural laws of aging don’t apply to us. That our missteps are the fault of bad luck, not poor reasoning. That we’ll always have time later to right our wrongs, get close to our children, and find our true calling.
If there’s one thing the advice of these 1963 Harvard Business School grads makes abundantly clear, it's that no one is exempt. The most successful of these alumni — depending on how you define “success” — have still known their fair share of tragedy, illness, and other setbacks.
So, while all the graduates have their own take on what he or she knows now that escaped them in 1963, there’s a bigger message that those who are still finding their true path should take to heart.
That message is that it’s not about the diploma, the bank account, the résumé, the summer home, the books authored, the stock options, the wine cellar, or the luxury sedan in the driveway. "Keep your perspective," they say. "Realize that your purpose in this world is, first and foremost, to make a better life for others."
To those who see their own 50th class reunion as an imperceptibly distant point on the horizon, this may all sound like trite platitudes. "But take our word for it," says the Class of 1963. One alumnus put it as simply as it can ever be stated: “Be kind. Soon we’ll all be dead.”