Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock surprised the graduating class at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans Monday with a rousing speech about rejecting failure and finding joy in life.
Bullock said what she tells her four-year-old son, Louis, is the sort of advice she wishes she had when she was in the graduates’ shoes — including, “Do not pick your nose in public.”
“Stop worrying so much,” Bullock said.
“The unknown we can’t do anything about, and I don’t remember any of the moments in my life where I worried,” she added. “So that’s a lot of time I couldn’t get back.”
The actress received a hearty round of applause when she told the students to challenge themselves, ignore doubters, and view failure as a source of new opportunities.
“It is noisy out there, and for some reason people want to see you fail, but that is not your problem, that is their problem,” she said.
“I only remember the moments where I tried beyond what I thought I could do, and I do not remember the failures because I didn’t [fail],” Bullock added. “Nothing is a failure; it’s just not supposed to work out that way, because something better is supposed to come along.”
Lastly, Bullock advised students to find their “joy.”
“Go find your joy. Are you going to have a good day, or are you going to have a great day? Because it’s completely up to you,” she said.
“It’s the joy that stays with you.”
Bullock became an advocate for Warren Easton in 2005 after it was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. She donated money to help rebuild the school and fund scholarships. The actress also lives part time in New Orleans, where her adopted son was born.