“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you.”
On August 11, 2013 Ashton Kutcher delivered a powerful speech at the Teen Choice Awards, though I’m not positive that every screaming teenage girl in the audience heard him. I’ve admired Ashton for a while now, and I was even more impressed with him after I watched his speech online. It’s been a month since he gave the speech, and I can’t seem to get the above quote out of my head. This morning I re-watched his speech and noted how composed and serious he was when he said the words. He sounded sincere and paused for the applause after the first sentence, and by the end of it he punctuated the words in a near yell. His simple quote is an affirmation of the things I stand for.
Being really smart brings to mind my wish that everyone desired education. Our growing world has ample opportunities for us to learn: public, private and online colleges and universities, the Internet, work, print and online books and even apps. We have access to these devices and institutions at flexible costs for many budgets–there is no excuse not to use them.
Being thoughtful is easy. Show people you care by spending time with them, keeping your commitments and expressing your gratitude often.
Being generous doesn’t have to mean becoming a philanthropist and showering your friends with expensive gifts. Give what you can. If you have a little time to help a friend on a Saturday night, go do it. Even better, don’t expect a pat on the back when you do the favor. Generous people are more likely to have the acts reciprocated than those who aren’t. Also, studies show that they are the happiest people and tend to be less lonely.
What’s the crap, then? The crap is being vain and believing you always come first. The crap is caring about your appearance more than caring about what you think and why you think it. The crap is saying that you have learned everything there is to know–this is impossible, as each day is a new day and with that brings fresh learning. How do we avoid the crap? My advice is stick to the three things Ashton talked about. You’ll be fine.
It is my hope that the kids who nominated him learned something that night. Thanks for reading–I’ve included the video of Ashton’s speech here.