In honor of graduation season, CNBC Make It is rolling out the speeches and advice that America's leaders are most excited to share with the Class of 2017. Follow along using the hashtag #MakeItNewGrads.
Former Vice President Joe Biden told Colby College graduates on Sunday to be committed and passionate, to stand up against indignity and, perhaps most importantly, to realize that you can't go through life without connecting with people. Even, or especially, your opponents.
Form relationships with other people, he said. Real ones. That will help you to both be happy in life and to succeed.
Biden told the Class of 2017:
All politics, all international relations is personal.
I have met every major world leader in the last 42 years, without exception. I've met an awful lot of people who are supposedly, in fact are, powerful. And I've found that not all those who are successful are happy. And I've found the one common trait, that those who've found that sweet spot between success and happiness, are those persons who are personal.
Caring about your colleague as they're dealing with a sick parent, or their child has graduated from college, or the child just was in an accident. That's the stuff that fosters real relationships, breeds trust, allows you to get things done in a complex world.
It helps to tell, and listen to, stories, Biden said. He lamented that, when people forget to do that, they drift from each other and then "we don't know each other anymore." That makes it easier for suspicion and enmity to develop.
When you do tell stories with someone else, on the other hand, "you get to understand and see their humanity." It's part of treating everyone with dignity, even an adversary.