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Home » Tim Minchin’s UWA Address: 9 Life Lessons (Transcript)

Tim Minchin’s UWA Address: 9 Life Lessons (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Tim Minchin’s UWA Address titled “9 Life Lessons” which was delivered in 2013.

Listen to the audio version here:


Corporate Gig Gone Wrong

In darker days, I did a corporate gig at a conference for this big company who made and sold accounting software. In a bid, I presumed, to inspire their salespeople to greater heights. They’d forked out 12 grand for an inspirational speaker who was this extreme sports guy who had had a couple of his limbs frozen off when he got stuck on a ledge on some mountain. It was weird.

Software salespeople, I think, need to hear from someone who has had a long, successful career in software sales, not from an overly optimistic ex-mountaineer.

Some poor guy who had arrived in the morning hoping to learn about sales techniques ended up going home worried about the blood flow to his extremities. It’s not inspirational, it’s confusing. And if the mountain was meant to be a symbol of life’s challenges and the loss of limbs a metaphor for sacrifice, the software guy is not going to get it, is he? Because he didn’t do an Arts degree, did he? He should have.

The Value of an Arts Degree

Arts degrees are awesome, and they help you find meaning where there is none. And let me assure you, there is none. Don’t go looking for it. Searching for meaning is like searching for a rhyme scheme in a cookbook; you won’t find it, and it will bugger up your soufflé.

If you didn’t like that metaphor, you won’t like the rest of it. Point being, I’m not an inspirational speaker. I’ve never ever lost a limb on a mountainside, metaphorically or otherwise, and I’m certainly not going to give career advice because, well, I’ve never really had what most would consider a job.

Nine Life Lessons

However, I have had large groups of people listening to what I say for quite a few years now, and it’s given me an inflated sense of self-importance. So, I will now, at the ripe old age of 37.9, bestow upon you nine life lessons to echo, of course, the nine lessons of carols of the traditional Christmas service, which is also pretty obscure. You might find some of this stuff inspiring.

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