12 Most Inspiring Quotes from Chadwick Boseman on Finding Your Purpose

Boseman delivered Howard University’s 2018 Commencement Address, after he starred as T’Challa in Black Panther.

On Saturday May 12th 2018, Chadwick Boseman delivered a groundbreaking speech at his alma mater, Howard University, for the institution’s 150th Commencement Ceremony. It was arguably one of the greatest commencement speeches of all time, yet it remains highly underrated and under-shared; an imperfect transcript of the speech was only published by CNN after his death.

Boseman’s profound ideas on finding your purpose are worthy of a wider audience. So, here are the most 12 inspiring quotes and poignant stories from his speech:

1. “Sometimes your grades don’t give a great indication of what your greatness might be.”

2. “As is often the case, those that follow most often enjoy the results of the progress you gained.”

3. “Everything that you fought for was not for yourself. It was for those that come after.”

4. “Students, your protests are also promising because many of you will leave Howard and enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalization. The fact that you have struggled with this university that you love is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world that you are entering.”

5. “Never judge the characters you play, that’s what we were always taught. That’s the first rule of acting.”

6. “I was let go from that job on the next day. A phone call from my agent. They decided to go another way. The questions that I asked set the producers on guard and perhaps paved the way for a less stereotypical portrayal for the black actor that stepped into the role after me. As the scripture says, “I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it. But God kept growing. God kept it growing.”

7. “As conflicted as I was before I lost the job, as adamant that I was about the need to speak truth to power, I found myself even more conflicted afterwards. I stand here today knowing that my Howard University education prepared me to play Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and T’Challa. But what do you do, when the principles and standards that are instilled in you here at Howard close the doors in front of you?”

8. “Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is, and how you need to fight it.”

9. “Finally, I thought of [Muhammad] Ali in the middle of the yard. In his elder years, drawing from his victories, and his losses. At that moment, I realized something new about Ali, and how he carried the greatness of his crown. I realized that he was transferring something to me on that day. He was transferring the spirit of the fighter in me. He was transferring the spirit of the fighter to me. He was transferring the spirit of the fighter to me. Sometimes you need to feel the pain and sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose that God predestined inside of you.”

10. “God says in Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you. And not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” ”

11. “You would rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose in your career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”

12. “When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me. The path to my destiny. When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who stands against it. God will move someone who is holding you back away from a door and put someone there who will open it for you, if it’s meant for you.”



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