Lazaridis: Education conquers fear


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For his accomplished career in business, Michael Lazaridis, founder of Blackberry, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) at the Wednesday morning session of Western’s 310th Convocation.

Lazaridis spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Faculty of Science, Ivey Business School and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, stressing the importance of education and its ability to neutralize fear.

“My most prized possession is something I take with me everywhere I go. It’s something that no one can take away from me. It can’t be stolen. It’s something that appreciates every time I use it. It helped me build one of Canada’s largest technology companies and helped me create the modern smart phone. It’s my education,” Lazaridis said.

“Today, all of you graduate into the world with your own precious education. How you use it, how you add to it and how you shape it is entirely up to you, but I assure you, it is valuable and likely the best investment you will ever make,” he continued.

The whole purpose of education, Lazaridis added, is it allows the individual to master fear and not let it stand in the way of success. Fear is the sole reason we make mistakes. It is the reason we miss opportunities. It is the enemy of success. And nothing prepares you to face fear better than education.

“Once I learned how something worked, I lost all fear about controlling it, changing it, or improving it. Understanding removes your fear of the unknown,” he noted.

“Fear is not a place, person or thing. It is not a power. It is an emotional reaction to the unknown. It is an indicator you need more information or training. Your education will help you conquer fear, if you let it; it is the most powerful weapon to neutralize fear.”