The ten commandments according to John Carlin

In the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar the graduation ceremony of the graduating class of 2018 in International Relations and the graduating classes of  2018 in Cinema and Television, Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations took place, sponsored by writer and journalist John Carlin.

"It is a true honor," he said to the more than 300 students who graduated this year, "and especially because of the place of the event." Since he came to the city to live there, in 1998, his favorite corner of Barcelona is the Cathedral of the Sea: "Every time a “guiri” friend comes to visit, I say: Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, yes, but you can not miss the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar".

His speech was full of anecdotes, insights and deep reflections. In fact, the first thing that the author of Playing the Enemy recalled (The Guardian, 2008) is that in South Africa, on such a day as today - last June 16 -, the Day of Youth is celebrated, in memory of the year 1976, when in "Soweto, the largely black populated township outside Johannesburg, the youth rebelled." Mandela was in prison and apartheid still reigned as a segregation system. That day, however, the young people in South Africa "took their destiny into their own hands," he remembered. "Now it's your turn."

Carlin took the opportunity, however, to remember the luck and privileges surrounding this generation of young people, who listened to him with attention. The fate of many of them having been born in Barcelona, ​​for example, and the privilege of being able to dedicate themselves, like him, to a profession they love:

"Without advertising, journalism is a hobby. No need to talk about public relations. If one does not have a certain sense of people, it is better to change jobs. Cinema and television. Right now I am in a stage of my life in which I do much less written journalism and I am entering much more in the world of cinema and television. And international relations. For a large part of my life I have been a foreign correspondent and many of my sources, and even my friends have been diplomats, or even spies."

After a review of his life, the beginnings in London, childhood in Buenos Aires and the memory of an Argentinian girlfriend who got  him into journalism, Carlin fell, as he himself said, in the heresy of enumerating "his ten secular commandments".

  1. Out of mediocrity: Always get the best out of yourself. As a journalist, call a source again, even if you already have enough, or review the text and remove the adjectives or read what you have written aloud.

  2. Ask yourself everything: Be strong with yourself and with your own opinions and prejudices. Let life be a learning process. It will be if you always go with an open mind. If the facts change, change your opinions.

  3. Play it: Take risks, do not be scared. Say or write what you think. Orwell, who fought in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side, affirmed: "If freedom means something, it is the right to say what people do not want to hear."

  4. Be curious: Go for life with your eyes open, with curiosity so that life is a permanent learning process, which will enrich you. Keep an eye on the details, give your vision, give added value.

  5. Write well: You have to write with grace and originality.  You need to surprise. Samuel Johnson said that the purpose of writing was to instruct delightfully, that is, to educate and entertain at the same time.

  6. Be honest: Be faithful to yourself. Hamlet has a speech with life tips and the last one says: first of all, be faithful to yourself and do not betray your values, be whole and value your reputation. Being faithful to yourself is essential in journalism, as in any part of life.

  7. Do it better: Think that you can write or work better, never think you've reached the top. You can never believe it, the day you believe it, it will end. You always need to think that you can improve, have a certain point of insecurity.

  8. Choose the difficult path: When you have to choose between the easy or difficult path, choose the difficult one, the one that presents the most challenges. The harder the road, the more worth the end result is.

  9. Be generous and respectful: The famous Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski said that to be a good journalist you should be a good person, but that is not true. You need to be a good person, yes. Be generous towards others and towards yourself. First of all, be respectful. The word respect was the key word in the political and personal vocabulary of Nelson Mandela, that is the basis of everything.

  10. Be enthusiastic: An English soccer player, Stanley Matthews, played in the first division until he was fifty years old. In an interview he said: "The secret of football, like life, is enthusiasm." This is the most valuable thing I can say. The word enthusiasm summarizes everything I have told you so far

Finally, Carlin emphasized the important things in life: "My wealth is not in the money I have earned but in what I have lived and how I have lived. The only thing we have is life and we need to get as much juice out of it as possible. You have to love, eat, dance, play with respect, courageously, generously with your eyes open and with enthusiasm ".

Congratulations, graduates!