Speaker: ‘Possible to make dollar, difference at same time’

Motivational speaker and author Michael Miller addressed Clarion University students about fulfilling their dreams and setting clear goals Nov. 3 in the Gemmell Multi-Purpose Room.

Sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee and the office of Minority Student Services, the Martin Luther King Jr. Series “Keeping the Dream Alive” featured Miller and his presentation “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish.”

Motivational speaker and author Michael Miller speaks to students about finding their calling in life as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Series "Keeping the Dream Alive."
Motivational speaker and author Michael Miller speaks to students about finding their calling in life as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Series “Keeping the Dream Alive.”

Throughout his speech and during his question and answer session after the presentation, Miller gave many details about how to reach your goals and follow your dreams. Although Miller said he came from a background where he was considered learning disabled and a “troubled youth,” he still walked down the path of success.

As a father at the age of 14 and a high school drop out at 16, no one expected Miller to earn his General Education Diploma. But he did, and he continued to succeed. He set national records and become the first person to graduate from a community college with a 4.0 grade point average during three semesters and earn both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, all despite his “troubled” background.

Miller had plenty of wise words for his audience. He said that having clear, powerful goals is the way to be successful. He said that the application of knowledge, rather than knowledge itself, is power, comparing the current generation to “information junkies” and not “application addicts.”

“JOB stands for ‘just over broke,’” Miller said. Even a career is not good enough for a fulfilling life, according to Miller. He told his listeners to follow their passions and hear their callings.

“Find your calling: what you’re made for instead of what you’re paid for,” Miller said. “Passion is when you set yourself on fire while people pay to watch you burn. The minute you find your passion is the minute it becomes easy.”

Miller’s equation for success is simple: inspiration plus aspiration equals motivation. He cited his kids as his inspiration and the desire to prove people wrong his aspiration to continue what he did throughout his life to become a success.

“It’s possible to make a dollar and a difference at the same time,” Miller said. One for metaphors, Miller affirmed, “A rose can grow out of concrete,” as he referenced something he had said to one of his college advisers who doubted what he was capable of.

Students walked away gaining a lot of insightful advice. “Dr. Miller is a very great speaker. He actually made me think of what I should do to better myself as well as what ways I can take to complete my undergraduate degree,” said Torron Mollett, a member of Minority Student Services.

Miller was asked to present at the university by Minority Student Services, who were impressed after hearing him present at a student leadership conference.

Miller said he was glad to speak here at Clarion. “It’s important to bring someone from the outside coming in. Students are looking for some type of motivation, and I like to empower people,” Miller said.

Miller said he likes what he does with students here and at other universities. But he does not consider himself a motivational speaker because anyone can empower anyone and “everyone has a story to tell.”

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