Daren’t Dream

06.10.1412:49 PM ET

Shonda Rhimes’s Inspirational Commencement Address

At Dartmouth, Rhimes tells graduates to forget dreaming and start doing.

In an unsurprisingly kick-ass commencement address at Darmouth, writer and director Shonda Rhimes turned the inspirational model upside down, telling graduates that “dreams are for losers.” The creator of megahit shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal starts off with a confession about her own fear of public speaking but then proceeds with bold advice.  

She said, "When people give these kinds of speeches, they usually tell you all kinds of wise and heartfelt things. They have wisdom to impart. They have lessons to share. They tell you: follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true. I think that’s crap.  

“I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”  

Rhimes confides that she herself dreamed of becoming Toni Morrison. “And while I was dreaming, I was living in my sister’s basement. Dreamers often end up living in the basements of relatives, fyi.”

Of course, “Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up.” Fast forward to her meeting, years later, with Toni Morrison: “All she wanted to talk about was Grey’s Anatomy. That never would have happened if I hadn’t stopped dreaming of becoming her and gotten busy becoming myself."  

That’s just a taste. It’s worth reading the entire fantastic speech, here.