Graduating from college can be overwhelming, but Tim Cook's message to the Class of 2018 is that there's no time to let worries stand in your way.
"If you're anything like I was on graduation day, maybe you're not feeling so fearless," he said, speaking at Duke University's commencement on Sunday.
Cook listed several of the anxieties he faced as a college student. "Maybe you're thinking about the job you hope to get, or wondering where you're going to live, or how to repay that student loan," he said. "These, I know, are real concerns. I had them, too. But don't let those worries stop you from making a difference."
He urged students to take on issues like political polarization, climate change and inequality. Students today, he asserted, are uniquely positioned to address these issues and, moreover, are obliged to do so.
"No generation has ever held more power than yours," said Cook. "And no generation has been able to make change happen faster than yours can. The pace at which progress is possible has accelerated dramatically. Aided by technology, every individual has the tools, potential and reach to build a better world."
The key to facing your fears and making a difference, he argued, is having faith and continuing to move forward — no matter what doubts you may have.
"Fearlessness means taking the first step, even if you don't know where it will take you. It means being driven by a higher purpose, rather than by applause," explained Cook. "It means knowing that you reveal your character when you stand apart, more than when you stand with the crowd."
Cook suggested several role models for graduates, including the Parkland shooting survivors, the women of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements as well as immigration rights activists.
Put simply, Cook said, the world needs fixing and college graduates need to get to work. To do so, students need to put aside some of their less-than-brave feelings.
"If you hope to change the world, you must find your fearlessness," said Cook.