Take off Career

Lessons from JJ Watt’s Graduation Speech: Overcoming Obstacles and Finding Silver Linings

J.J. Watt is a name that needs no introduction. The American football defensive end and former player delivered an inspiring and impactful speech at his graduation ceremony from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2021.

Watt shared his personal experiences of overcoming adversity and achieving his dreams while acknowledging the role of his support system. This article delves deeper into the lessons that J.J. Watt’s graduation speech offers, as well as his personal journey.

Overcoming Obstacles and Asking for Help

In his speech, Watt acknowledged the hardships that life can throw at us, including injuries, missed opportunities, and failures. However, he emphasized that we must learn to overcome these obstacles instead of letting them break us down.

Watt said, “Life is going to punch you in the face. It’s going to kick you when you’re down.

But you can’t ever quit. You have to keep getting up, keep fighting, and keep grinding.”

One significant lesson we can take away from Watt’s speech is the importance of resilience in the face of adversity.

It’s crucial to keep pushing forward, even when faced with challenges. However, we don’t have to do it alone.

Watt highlighted the role of our support system in helping us overcome obstacles. He encouraged the graduates to lean on their loved ones, mentors, and peers for assistance and guidance during tough times.

Finding Silver Linings and Always Learning

Another critical lesson Watt shared in his speech is the importance of finding silver linings and always learning. He emphasized the need to focus on the positives in life, even when things seem bleak.

Watt said, “The way you choose to look at the world determines the world you live in.”

Watt’s attitude of growth and positivity underpins his approach to learning. He encouraged graduates to continue learning from life’s experiences, failures, and successes, and use them to grow.

Watt believes that the knowledge we acquire and the skills we learn are invaluable assets that we should continue to develop throughout our lives.

Recovering from Injuries and Supporting Others

In his personal life, Watt has had to overcome numerous challenges, including several career-threatening injuries. Injuries are a common occurrence in football, and Watt’s perseverance amidst these challenges is inspiring.

However, Watt went beyond sharing his story of injury and recovery; he also emphasized the importance of empathy and supporting others.

Watt encouraged the graduates to extend kindness to those around them, even if it’s not reciprocated.

He highlighted the power of small acts of kindness, such as holding doors open, offering a helping hand, or simply a friendly smile. In Watt’s words, “It takes nothing to be kind, but it can mean everything to someone else.”

Working Hard and Changing Paths to Achieve Dreams

Watt’s journey to becoming an NFL star has been one of hard work, dedication, and the willingness to change paths to achieve his dreams. Watt’s original plan was to play college football at Northwestern University, but he was not recruited.

Instead, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a walk-on player and worked his way up to become one of the best players in college football.

Watt’s journey shows us that achieving our dreams may require hard work, discipline, and occasionally, the willingness to change course.

Despite setbacks, Watt believed in himself and was willing to work hard to make his dream a reality.


In conclusion, J.J. Watt’s graduation speech offers valuable lessons that we can apply to our daily lives. Whether it’s overcoming obstacles, finding silver linings, supporting others, or working hard to achieve our dreams, Watt’s words resonate with all of us.

Life may be challenging at times, but with resilience, positivity, and a strong support system, we can overcome any obstacles that come our way. J.J. Watt is known for being one of the most successful NFL players in history.

However, he did not achieve his success overnight. He worked incredibly hard to get there, and his journey has been full of ups and downs.

Watt’s graduation speech not only highlighted his personal experiences of perseverance and resilience, but it also provided valuable insights into dreaming big and achieving goals. This article delves into two more important lessons that we can learn from Watt’s experience.

Importance of Seeking Help and Being Grateful

J.J. Watt has achieved extraordinary success throughout his career, but he did not do it alone. He highlighted the importance of seeking help and being grateful for the support we have.

In his speech, Watt acknowledged his coaches, family, and teammates for their role in his success. Watt’s message reminds us that nobody should underestimate the power of seeking assistance.

We all need help from others, and there is no shame in asking for it. Seeking help and admitting when we need assistance is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Additionally, being grateful for the people in our lives who help us reach our goals is essential. It is crucial to recognize and appreciate the people who have supported us and helped us achieve our dreams.

Gratitude not only shows respect for those who have supported us, but it also promotes a positive mindset that contributes to further success.

Adapting and Navigating Difficulties

J.J. Watt has faced several challenges throughout his career, both on and off the field. However, he has always managed to navigate through adversity, demonstrating his resilience and adaptability.

Watt shared his belief that the key to success is to be adaptable and empowers us to never give up.

Adaptability is an essential trait for achieving success, especially in the current business environment, where constant change and disruption are the norm.

By staying flexible and open to change, we can continue to move forward and achieve our objectives, regardless of what obstacles we may face along the way. Watt further emphasized that perseverance is essential when it comes to achieving our goals.

Life is going to throw us unexpected curveballs, but we must continue pushing ourselves, even when things seem challenging. Resilience helps us to keep an open mind and eyes for opportunities.

Taking time to reflect and learn from our experiences is critical to develop better insights, solutions and find answers to address complex problems along the way.


J.J. Watt’s graduation speech has offered numerous lessons that can help all of us achieve our goals and dreams. From adapting and navigating difficulties, being grateful for help, recognizing opportunities, and persisting even when it’s tough, we can turn a path towards whatever direction we aspire.

We must always remember never to lose sight of our goals, even when challenges push us backwards. The journey and the effort we put into building ourselves is what adds richness to our lives.

With the right mindset, support system, and ability to learn and adapt, we can all achieve great things. J.J. Watt’s graduation speech provides valuable lessons on achieving success in life.

From overcoming obstacles and seeking help to adapting to difficulties and staying open to learning, Watt offered insights based on his personal experiences. His journey to success highlighted the importance of resilience, perseverance, gratitude, and collaboration.

Regardless of where we might find ourselves, the path to achieving our dreams requires patience, resilience, and an open mind to adapt and navigate through challenges. Watt’s message is simple, persevere, learn, seek help, and trust the journey.

Popular Posts