Joe Plumeri Tells New York Law School Grads: 'Go Play In Traffic'

05/23/2015 12:21 pm ET | Updated May 23, 2015

Businessman Joe Plumeri, who currently serves as vice chairman of the First Data Board of Directors, gave the commencement address at New York Law School on Tuesday. He dropped out of New York Law School in the 1960s to pursue a job on Wall Street but was awarded an honorary degree this week.

In his energetic speech, Plumeri said graduates must have commitment, purpose and vision in order to have success. He encouraged graduates to commit fully to whatever they wanted to do, using the analogy that Vikings burned their ships when they landed at a place they wanted to conquer. But without purpose, Plumeri said, they won't succeed.

"The purpose has got to be genuine concern for what you do and the people you do it for," he said.

Plumeri told the graduates to "go play in traffic" to find their vision.

"Now you’re saying, 'What's wrong with the guy? He wants me to go get hit by a car!'" Plumeri said. "That's not what I want you to do. What I want you to do is engage."

He further explained that "playing in traffic" is all about going out there and exploring your vision, making blunders and taking risks.

"Go out, play in traffic," he said. "Something's gonna happen eventually."

Suggest a correction