Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action
29 May, 2004
About when you were born, Ronald Reagan ran for president asking voters, "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" That's the question I'm going to talk about today. Are you better off now than you were four years ago? My answer is no and yes. I'm going to suggest that your experience at Swarthmore has created or at least exacerbated certain problems with living in modern society, and, that it has given you the tools for coping with those problems. So, to dredge up a slogan from the 60's, my answer to another question: "is Swarthmore part of the solution or is it part of the problem?" is "yes!" And I'm going to tell you why.
If there's a supreme value in American society it's freedom. The political and cultural development of American society has seen an almost unbroken increase in the amount of freedom, autonomy, and self-determination people get to experience. And you are at the pinnacle of this development. Never before have people been so free to determine their own life course. Here at Swarthmore, you could study pretty much anything you wanted. And now that you're graduating, what you buy, where you live, what kind of work you do and when you do it, whether and how you worship, how you look, whether and when you marry, whether and when you have kids — each of these things will be up to you. We've nurtured the kind of independence of mind and heart that will enable you to challenge social norms or legal constraints that once operated to nudge or even push you in one direction or another. When the Microsoft ad asks you "where do you want to go today," you should know and feel that almost anything is possible. You are the embodiment of an American success story.
So I want to talk to you today about autonomy, freedom, and choice. I want to talk to you about these things because what we're learning, as the experience of personal freedom continues to grow, is that there can be too much of a good thing — that too much freedom can be bad for well-being. For along with this growth of freedom has come unprecedented unhappiness — clinical depression, suicide, and use of psychological services and antidepressant drugs in alarming numbers.
Why should so much choice create a problem? After all, people who don't want the myriad options that life presents can just ignore them. If you're content with your Americano, you can pay no attention to the hundred other options that Starbucks provides you. The answer is that whereas it is logically true that people can ignore unwanted options, it isn't psychologically true. As some of you probably know, I recently published a book on this topic. It's called The Paradox of Choice, and it tries to explain why more choice can bring less satisfaction. I'm not going to summarize the book for you. Go read it. What I will do is highlight some themes from the book, in an effort to provide you with some advice to carry out of here with your diplomas.
A wealth of options creates an opportunity, to be sure, but it also creates a problem that has to be solved. It forces you to have to put time and effort into decisions, even about trivial things. It causes you to worry, if you choose without having explored all the possibilities, that maybe you've made a mistake. It forces you to make tradeoffs, passing up an option with one attractive feature to select a different option with another attractive feature. It raises your expectations about just how good the thing you finally choose will be. Expectations can get so high that no result will meet them, no matter how good it is. And finally, it induces you to blame yourself when the choice you make after lots of hand wringing turns out to be less than perfect. Massive effort in making decisions, passed-up attractive alternatives, disappointing results, and self-blame. This is not a recipe for well-being. Yet it is a recipe that more and more people seem compelled to follow.
Some of you newly minted college graduates may know what I'm talking about, but some of you may be a little dubious that there could ever be too much choice in life. You've coped, and you may have felt on more than one occasion, that the choices offered by little Swarthmore are too narrow — too constraining. "Bring them on," you may be thinking, as you face the larger world. Perhaps. But your lives are about to get much more complicated. Your parents, and then the College, have looked after you — made countless decisions on your behalf so that day-to-day life runs effortlessly in the background while you concentrate on what you care about. That's about to change. Ask your parents how manageable life is when you're deciding about raising kids, eating healthy, buying insurance, renegotiating mortgages, investing for retirement, seeking adequate medical care, helping ageing relatives, and so on. Ask them if they also say "bring them on" whenever another cell phone plan promotion arrives in the mail.
Choice overload is a problem for everyone, but it's a special problem for people who feel like they have to get the best when they make decisions — the best college, the best job, the best romantic partner, the best car, the best stereo, the best investment, and yes, the best jeans. Andrew Ward and I call such people "maximizers." For people like this, choice overload can be a nightmare, for the only way to know you've got the best is by examining all the alternatives, by doing an exhaustive, and exhausting, search. And the impossibility of doing such a search almost guarantees that you'll regret decisions, even if they're good. In contrast, people who are satisfied with a good enough option — we call them "satisficers" — can stop looking as soon as they find one, and relax.
Let me illustrate the problem with an example that might be especially salient to you all right now — finding a job. With Sheena Iyengar and Rachael Elwork, I just finished a study of 600 college seniors throughout the year as they searched for jobs. Some of these students were out for the best, whereas others were looking for a job that was good enough. Think about the agony that job-hunting can be if you're trying to find the best job. This job is in a great location, but that one offers the most interesting work. And that other one offers the highest starting salary. But still another one offers great opportunities for advancement. Yet another will allow you to do work that helps people. Another will afford you a great group of colleagues. And finally, there's the one that's located in the same city that your partner will be living in while she attends medical school. Why can't there be a job that combines all these attractive features? So you're disappointed before you've even had your first interview.
Then the interview process begins, and the good news is that if you're the sort of person who seeks the very best, you're likely to end up with a better job than people who are satisfied with good enough. We found that the starting salary of maximizers was $7,000 more than the starting salary of satisficers. But ... and it's a big but, maximizers reported themselves to be more pessimistic, more stressed, more tired, more anxious, more worried, more overwhelmed, more regretful, more disappointed, more frustrated, and more depressed than satisficers were. And, they were less satisfied with the jobs they ended up getting. Maximizers did better, but they felt worse.
There's a simple lesson to draw. Don't be a maximizer. Learn that "good enough" is good enough. You may end up with results of decisions that are slightly less good, but you'll feel much better about them. And you'll save yourself a great deal of time, worry, and stress in the process of choosing.
I know this isn't easy advice to follow. The kinds of people who end up coming to places like Swarthmore are not likely to be satisfied with good enough, at least when it comes to the important things. There's a good chance that many of you have gotten into the habit of seeking — even demanding — the best, and of having the best demanded and expected of you. And it isn't even the right advice. Sometimes, you should seek and demand the best. Sometimes, that's important. I can't tell you when, partly because I don't know and partly because it will be different for each of you. So the advice I will offer is only be a maximizer when it matters. Be deliberate and self-conscious about how you do your decision making. Develop your standards wisely, using your judgment — judgment that your Swarthmore education has helped to cultivate. This is an example of what I meant when I said that Swarthmore is both part of the problem and part of the solution. Swarthmore has surely encouraged you to have very high standards, but it has also nurtured in you the judgment to help you determine when those high standards should be applied.
I want to illustrate this recommendation — don't be a maximizer unless it really matters — by discussing a part of life that's not an issue for you now, but soon may be, at least for most of you. At some point in the not-too-distant future, you will become parents. Whereas it may be possible to settle for a good enough car, a good enough stereo, a good enough 401(k), even a good enough job, have you ever heard anyone say that "I only want what's 'good enough' for my kids"? I haven't. When it comes to our kids, only the best will do.
A few years ago, as my daughter was anticipating the birth of her first child, she asked my wife and me to help her shop for a stroller. Based on my own child-rearing experiences, almost thirty years ago, I didn't understand why buying a stroller needed to be a group activity. Then we went to the store — and found dozens and dozens of options. Combined stroller-car seats, combined stroller-carriages, stand-alones, joggers, umbrella types, strollers that reclined to horizontal, those that reclined to almost horizontal, strollers with heavy duty wheels, strollers with lots of storage — on and on it went. Each type had its plusses and minuses. Making a choice took several hours, and we left feeling uncertain we had made the right one.
Thus was I introduced to parenting in modern America. Cribs, high-chairs, baby foods, diapers. Nursery schools and pediatricians. Medical decisions when your pediatrician refuses to tell you what to do. Breast or bottle-feeding. Books, videos, TV shows. Private or public school, and either way, which one. Academic enrichment after school, or sports (which sport) or music (what instrument). Summer camp (which type), when to permit ear-piercing, how to regulate internet access, what kind of restrictions to place on TV-watching. As choices proliferate, parents have a harder and harder time making decisions. And because even satisficers are likely to be maximizers when it comes to their kids, the child-rearing decisions they face will be nerve-wracking.
I believe that parents who put pressure on themselves to make the best choices for their kids are making a mistake — an understandable mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. They may end up with better strollers, teachers, pediatricians, schools, and recreational activities than satisficers do. But the burden they bear, and the price they pay, will be reflected in their interaction with their kids. The time parents spend finding the best stroller is time they will not be spending playing with or talking to their child. The time they spend finding the best books is time they will not spend reading to their child.
Beyond all this, the aspiring parent will provide the child with a model of perfection, one that may well create a great deal of stress, anxiety, indecision, and dissatisfaction in the child when she is making her own choices. It may also induce parents to take too much control over their children's lives. In efforts to provide their kids with a wide array of the most exciting and educational activities, parents may so overschedule their kids that the children have no time to be by themselves — to imagine, to create, or just to hang out. Indeed, kids may have no time to be themselves, or to figure out what kind of selves they want to be.
I'm convinced that kids will be better served by good enough strollers, and maybe even good enough teachers and pediatricians, and relaxed, happy parents, than they will by the best strollers, pediatricians, and teachers and anxious, unhappy parents. Though I'm sure you'll find it impossible to settle for "good enough" in general when it comes to your kids, you can try to develop the attitude that good enough is good enough most of the time, and use the good judgment you've acquired here at Swarthmore to know when to look for more than good enough. This will help you to be much better than good enough at what matters most — being engaged and energetic in your interactions with your kids.
My second piece of advice related to the extraordinary freedom of choice you have is that you choose when to choose. In the modern world, the only way to have the time you want to devote to the things that matter is to allow others to make decisions on your behalf. Which others? Friends, family, doctors, financial advisors, Consumer Reports. The list is long. What I'm telling you is that you should rely on "experts" — people who know the domain in question, and ideally people who know you — to take some of the burdens off your shoulders.
Let's talk a little bit about trusting experts. In order for you to trust experts, there must be experts. And in order for there to be experts, there must be some body of knowledge — some set of truths — for them to be expert about. It is intellectually fashionable nowadays to attack the very notion of expertise — of truth. You have your truth and I have mine. You have one truth today but you may have a different one tomorrow. Everything is relative, a matter of perspective. People who claim to know the "truth," are in reality just using their positions of power and privilege in society to shove their version of things down our throats.
This turn to relativism is in part a reflection of something good and important that has happened to higher education and intellectual inquiry in general. People have finally caught on to the fact that much of what the intellectual elite thought was the truth was distorted by limitations of perspective. Slowly the voices of the excluded have been welcomed into the conversation. And their perspectives have enriched our understanding enormously. But the reason they've enriched our understanding is that they've given the rest of us an important piece of the truth that was previously invisible to us. Not their truth, but the truth. It is troubling to see how quickly an appreciation that each of us can only attain a partial grasp of the truth degrades into a view that there really isn't any truth out there to be grasped.
This relativistic approach to inquiry has become so pervasive that you've surely encountered it. And you may have found it extremely seductive. It makes intellectual life a whole lot easier. When a fellow student says something in class with which you disagree, you don't need to worry about finding a way to challenge that view and make a case for your own. There's no need to struggle through disagreements to get to the bottom of things if there is no "bottom" of things. Everyone's entitled to an opinion. It's the great democratization of knowledge. Everyone's got it in equal amounts because there really isn't, after all, any of "it" to have.
I think that this enthusiastic embrace of relativism is a moral and practical disaster. Morally, an attitude like this chips away at our most fundamental respect for one another as human beings. When people have respect for the truth, they seek it and speak it in dialogue with one another. Once truth becomes suspect, relations between people become nothing more than efforts at manipulation. Instead of trying to enlighten or persuade people by giving them reasons to see things as we do, we can use any form of influence we think will work. In the absence of respect for truth, all dialogue becomes a Nike ad. This is what "spin" is all about in our modern political discourse.
A few years ago I read an interview with a senior advisor to several presidents. He objected to the very idea that politicians "spin" anything, because, he said, there really wasn't anything to be "spun." Spin was all there was. I'm reminded of a cartoon that appeared in The New Yorker several years ago, in which three fish are swimming along, one behind the other. The lead fish is tiny, the middle one is medium sized, and the one in back is huge. Each has a "thought bubble" above its head. "There is no justice in the world," thinks the little fish, with a worried look on its face. "There is some justice in the world," thinks the medium sized fish, as it pursues the little fish with an open mouth. "The world is just," thinks the big fish, with a casual, satisfied smirk on its face. Respect for truth means a commitment to figuring out which of these fish has it right.
Now what about the practical consequences of relativism? Practically, the great "democratization" of expertise makes the problem of choice much worse than before. We now have two exploding social institutions that embody the democratization of expertise — TV and radio talk shows and the internet. If you think that in their present form, they will help you make intelligent choices by giving you access to reams of information, I fear that you're kidding yourselves. Which of these self-proclaimed experts actually knows something? How do you begin to find that out? These new modes of communication are the concrete embodiments of the view that nobody knows anything since there's nothing to know so that everyone's entitled to speak with equal authority. Instead of solving the choice problem, this flood of so-called "information" only makes it worse. So if you are going to relieve the burden you face of unending choices among unending alternatives, you're going to have to face up to the idea that there are things to be known and that some people actually know them. And you're going to have to figure out who those people are.
Once again, your Swarthmore education has given you a problem by making you suspicious of expertise. But on the other hand, your education has also given you the tools — the judgment — to evaluate the claims to expertise made by others so that you can determine which "experts" you should actually be listening to. What I want to emphasize is that the effort to find experts you can trust is worthwhile. You simply won't be able to make all the decisions you have to make, and figure out all you need to figure out, on your own.
If you're with me this far, and you're willing often to settle for good enough and to choose when to choose, you're going to find that you've got time on your hands. So what should you do with it? I'm going to tell you. A great deal of research has been done on the determinants of happiness, or well-being, or satisfaction with life, and a few key results jump out at you again and again. The biggest single contributor to happiness is close relations with other people — with family, friends, romantic partners, community members. The richer and deeper the social networks people have, the happier they are. So love brings happiness.
I bet you knew this. But what I want you to think about is the relation between close relationships with other people and freedom of choice. Part of what it means to be close to friends, family, or lovers, is that you have responsibilities, commitments, and obligations to other people. You are not free to come and go as you please. The options you consider are limited by the needs and desires of others. In other words, close relations are constraints on freedom — they bind rather than liberate; they reduce options rather than expanding them.
I used to think that the fact that close relationships required us to give up some of our freedom was a testament to how important they are. In other words, even though there was a significant price (in freedom) to being close to others, it was a price worth paying. As I thought more and more about freedom, choice, and well-being, I gradually came to a different view. I now think that the constraints imposed by close relations with others are not a cost; they are actually part of the benefit. Knowing, for example, that you have to look for work in Boston because your romantic partner will be going to school there is a benefit, because it helps you to reduce the set of possibilities you'll consider. Close relations provide the beginnings of an answer to Microsoft's question — a question that you might otherwise spend the rest of your life trying to answer.
Let me be clear about something here. I don't think the constraints imposed by responsibilities to family and friends have always been a benefit. In past times, when the options were fewer and the responsibilities greater, such responsibilities may well have been correctly perceived as an excessive burden — as too big an impediment to being and doing what we want to be and do. But for most members modern society, especially those of what's called the "knowledge class," having something like commitment to others set limits on what's possible has become a blessing.
Once again, Swarthmore has taught you something really important about what to aspire to in "real life," and perhaps, how to achieve it. You've had practice, here at Swarthmore, in caring for others. And you've richly experienced what it feels like to be cared for by others. The Swarthmore community is extraordinary for its kindness, its empathy, it's humanity. You may be a little tired of seeing the same old faces, but you'll be hard pressed to find or create a community to match the Swarthmore community after you leave. If you bring what Swarthmore has taught you into the world, you may be better able to develop and sustain the close relations after you leave that are essential for well being.
Not far behind close relations with others as a significant source of well-being is meaningful, satisfying work — work that challenges, that stimulates, and that adds value to the world. Others have referred to work like this as a "calling." For people with a calling it is the concrete products of what they do, and not just personal advancement or material reward, that provide satisfaction. People with a calling are doing something that will not lose its value, even if they are stuck doing it, with no prospects for advancement, for the next forty years.
To some degree, whether your work is a calling or not depends on the work. But to a large degree, it depends on the person — on you. Psychologist Amy Wrziesnewski did a lovely study of people who worked as cleaners in hospitals. These people are at the very lowest rung of the hospital's status (and pay) hierarchy. Nonetheless, Amy found that many of the hospital cleaners thought of their work as challenging, highly skilled, respected, and central to the hospital's mission. That's because they saw their work not as mopping floors, but as doing whatever was needed to contribute to the health, safety, and comfort of the patients. And they thought their work was no less essential to achieving those goals than the work of surgeons or nurses.
Swarthmore, I hope, has taught many of you what it's like to do something that really matters. It has exposed you to many people who, as they clean your rooms or wash your dirty dishes, feel and act as if they are performing tasks that are essential to the College's mission. It may even have taught you what it feels like to start each day looking forward to the work you have to do. If it has, you will be better prepared to find your calling, or to make your work a calling, than you otherwise would. And I hope you all do.
But something to notice about work that is a calling is that like close relations to other people, a calling binds and constrains rather than liberating. People with callings are tied both to the people they serve and to the people they work with. They are not free to leave when the next good opportunity arises.
And beware. The problem with callings is that often, you can't make work a calling all by yourself. Most of the time, for work to be a calling, it needs to be supported by the right kind of institutional structure. As a doctor, you may feel "called" to serve your patients in a particular way, but in the modern world of medicine, you may find that unless your practice generates adequate revenues, you won't be allowed to do it the way you think you should. As a teacher, you may feel called to excite and educate your students in a certain way, but if you are under pressure from administrators to adhere to a rigid curriculum so that scores on "big tests" will be good, you won't be able to teach the way you think you should. You are going to be challenged to find work to do that you regard as a calling, in a setting that will allow you to do that work in the right way.
Let's review what I've said so far. Be satisfied with good enough, choose when to choose, and seek out and welcome the constraints on your freedom imposed by close relations with others and commitment to your work. So far, so good. But there's another thing I want to tell you. Make sure your expectations are reasonable. Don't ask me what "reasonable" is because I don't know. All I can say is be on your guard against excessively high expectations. In your work, in your love life, with your friends, with your kids, don't expect perfection.
Here's why controlling expectations is so important. A major way we evaluate how good things are is by comparing them to how good we expect them to be. Was senior week fun? Was Swarthmore a good college experience? Is this a good talk? We answer questions like these, in part, by comparing results to expectations. If expectations are too high, then the reality of the experience will suffer from the comparison. Exquisitely good results are taken as disappointments if they don't live up to even more exquisite expectations.
It's a real challenge to maintain reasonable expectations in the modern world. The combination of material abundance, almost unlimited freedom, and overwhelming choice conspire to create the highest of expectations. I think that runaway expectations help explain the epidemic of depression that I mentioned to you before. My guess is that along with your increased ability to take control over your lives has come an even greater increase in your expectations about what aspects of your lives you should control, and what you should achieve with that control. Your grandparents had different expectations. For them, not everything was possible. For them, life was meant to be lived with and for others, subject to many constraints. There's a New Yorker cartoon that captures this idea. An old couple with weather-beaten scowls on their faces is strolling arm-in-arm. The caption reads, "everything was better back when everything was worse."
Here, alas, I think Swarthmore has contributed to the problem but not to the solution. Swarthmore has encouraged you to have the highest of expectations, and for the most part, it has met them. I hope that the rest of your life is like this, but I wouldn't count on it.
But enough about you! All this talk focused on what you can do to make your life happier seems out of place here at an outward looking, socially responsible institution like Swarthmore. What about the rest of the world? And what's so important about happiness anyway? Surely it's better to have a few hundred miserable college graduates improving the lives of millions than it is to have them tending to their own gardens, with smiles on their faces, oblivious to the suffering that's going on around them.
There are a three things I want to say about this. First, I readily agree that happiness isn't everything. It isn't even the most important thing. But all other things being equal, it's better to be happy than not. And since nothing that I or anyone else says is going to stop you from trying to be happy, you might as well know how to do it.
Second, there actually is something great about happiness. Despite the romantic images we have of the suffering geniuses who have enriched our civilization, creative by day and tormented by night, there is a growing body of evidence that people think more effectively and expansively when they're happy than when they're not. Giving medical residents a little bag of candy unexpectedly before they engage in a difficult differential diagnosis improves both the speed and the accuracy of their diagnoses (you may want to keep this in mind the next time you visit your doctor). And happy people are more energetic, and physically healthier, than unhappy ones. As Andrew Ward pointed out on this occasion last year, happiness adds about nine years to life expectancy. So even if you don't think that happiness is such a big deal in itself, it seems to serve a useful instrumental function. Happy people are more likely to change the world in positive ways than unhappy ones.
But third, and perhaps most important, taking seriously some of the suggestions I've given you will contribute not just to your well being, but also to the well being of others. If you take some of my advice, and agonize less about the many decisions you face, you can use that time and energy instead getting to know and understand all the people in your life — your lovers, your children, your parents, your friends, your patients, your clients, your students. And that's what you should do. The really, really hard thing in life is not choosing the right cell phone plan or 401(k). It's getting it right in your social interactions. The hard thing in life is knowing how to balance honesty with kindness, courage with caution, encouragement with criticism, empathy with detachment, paternalism with respect for autonomy. In the course that Ken Sharpe and I teach on practical wisdom, the main point we emphasize is that there are no rules or formulas that tell you the right thing to do in all your social interactions. You have to figure it out case by case — person by person. You have to use your judgment. You have to be wise. And the only way to figure it out is by knowing the other people involved well — by taking the time to listen to them, to imagine what life is like through their eyes, and to be open to being changed — even transformed — by them.
In a world that hurries by, forcing you to make decision after decision, each involving almost unlimited options, it's hard to find the needed time. Though you surely won't be doing it deliberately, your effort to get the best car will interfere with your desire to be the best friend. Your effort to get the best job will intrude on your desire to be the best parent. And so, if the time you save by following some of my suggestions is redirected, with wisdom, to the welfare of the other people in your life, you will not only make yourself happier, you will improve the lives of others as well. And you may have noticed, by the way, that the very practical wisdom you will need to be a good lover, friend, parent, doctor, or teacher, you will also need to know when to settle for good enough, and when to trust experts.
One last thing. I have a specific political project that I'd like you to work on. This talk has mostly been about the problem of too much freedom of choice. You surely must have realized that this is not a "problem" that everyone has. In the U.S., wealth is a pretty good proxy for freedom of choice. So whereas the upper economic classes in the U.S. may suffer from too much choice, there is little doubt that the lower classes suffer from too little. I'd like you to work on fixing this. I'd like you to work on reversing a thirty-year trend of increases in wealth inequality that is being exacerbated, not mitigated, by current economic policies. One could view the effort to establish a living wage policy at Swarthmore as one small step in this direction. The aim of the living wage movement, at least as I see it, is to enable people to live dignified and balanced lives, with work that can pay the bills and with time and energy left at the end of the day to devote to the care and nurture of their loved ones and participation in their communities. It is perhaps unrealistic to imagine a society in which everyone has the opportunity to live the kind of life that you are now equipped to live, but certainly, a commitment to making that possibility available to more, not fewer, people is worth devoting oneself to. And you can start on this political project by using your newly attained power as alums to make your feelings known to your alma mater.
OK. It's just about time for dinner. Let me wrap this up. Some of you may be leaving tomorrow a little disappointed with your Swarthmore education — not because you didn't learn a lot, but because you are less sure now of what you want to be and do than you were when you started. What were these four years for? I'm reminded of a quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle:
"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way."
I think you actually are wiser than before, even if you are uncertain about what your future holds, and I have tried today to offer a few tips for those of you who feel what Vonnegut was talking about. There are those who, even if they agree with my analysis, think that tips like mine are unnecessary. They view society as largely self-correcting, and believe that it will essentially automatically diagnose its mistakes and change accordingly. The cartoonist Jules Feiffer captures this view. He has a cartoon in which a woman about my age is speaking. "I hated the way I turned out," she says , "so everything my mother did with me I have tried to do the opposite with Jennifer. Mother was possessive. I encouraged independence. Mother was manipulative. I have been direct. Mother was secretive. I have been open. Mother was evasive. I have been decisive. Now my work is done. Jennifer is grown. The exact image of my mother."
I don't believe that society, or individuals, automatically self-correct. I think acts of will are required. And I have tried to suggest several things that you should will for yourself and for others, and work to achieve. I wish each of you a life in which good enough is good enough — a life governed by reasonable expectations, and filled with love and with work that is a calling. A life as part of a community that listens to you just as you listen to it. And I thank you most sincerely for honoring me with this invitation to speak to you.
Congratulations to you all and to your families.