Eli Manning Puts Emphasis On The Little Things In Commencement Speech

Eli Manning knows a thing or two about getting hit and making his way back on his feet. That's part of the tale that the NFL giant told in his new speech as part of the Commencement Podcast on iHeartRadio. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on graduation season, Manning has shared some inspiring words of encouragement for the Class of 2020 and it's worth your attention.

"I was a football player. That means I got knocked down a few times. In reality, it was more like I got plowed into the ground. And when I was face down on the turf, I sometimes was uncontrollably wincing in pain, but neither my team nor I could afford to wallow in what had just happened," Manning said, admitting that his father used to refer to it as "getting back to zero." "He taught us that if we spent a fraction more than necessary thinking about the failed play, we couldn't focus on or be ready for what was coming next. That's not just true for football. That's life. I don't mean to ignore what happened. You put it into perspective and give it its fair analysis, but after the game is done."

Manning was a graduate of Ole Miss and he remembers everything from the scantrons to the Sunday scaries when he'd have to cram his assignments into a 12-hour window before Monday rolled around. "But that's in the past for me and for you. It's time to think about tomorrow. No, you're not sitting in an auditorium or stadium today with classmates, family, friends, distinguished academics and a million cameras capturing a well choreographed ceremony," he continued, before stressing the importance of embracing the awkward, getting used to accepting the challenge and being generous with kindness.

"There are little things that can make a difference too, like just being on time. It doesn't require any skill or talent to be on time and to be present. Half of success is simply showing up and being present, putting you in position to succeed," he explained. "Not showing up, or being late, is the quickest way to fail. I'm not the smartest person you've ever met, by a long shot. School was hard for me all my life, from elementary through college, but I showed up and I was present. That doesn't take skill. It takes commitment. And that's within everybody's capability. As author Brittany Brown wrote, the willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time."

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! iHeartRadio’s ”Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” podcast celebrates this year’s graduating students as they take their next steps into the world. For more inspiring speeches from celebrities, athletes, business leaders and more, listen to the podcast on iHeartRadio.

Photo: Getty Images

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