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Remarks by Jamie Dimon at SU and SUNY ESF Commencement

I think Teddy Roosevelt understood this nearly a century ago when he said, "It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or whether the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man -- now the woman --who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without erring and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

It takes knowledge to be accountable. Having the ability to speak up is important, but it is not sufficient. If you have the guts to take a stand, what you think is a principled stand, then have the brains to face the facts and analysis and critical thinking. In some places, it's always clear what the right thing to do is, but in many other situations, it is much more complex. There's a temptation to come up with simple and binary answers, especially when it couldn't possibly apply.

We should remember what Albert Einstein once said: "Be as simple as possible, but no simpler." Acquiring knowledge must be a lifelong pursuit; it will lead to wisdom and judgment. It will never end. You will learn by reading--and read everything you get your hands on--and by talking to and watching other people, and you especially learn by listening to the arguments on the other side. It is your job to constantly learn and develop informed opinions as you move forward in your lives.

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