That is the American story. People, just like you, following their passions, determined to meet the times on their own terms. They weren't doing it for the money. Their titles weren't fancy. But they changed the course of history and so can you.
I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you. I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check; we've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.Yes we can.It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights.Yes we can.It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.Yes we can.
You can't rest on your laurels. Your own body of work is yet to come.
The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important.
We too often let the material things serve as indicators that we're doing well, even though something inside us tells us that were not doing our best. That we are avoiding that which is hard, but also necessary. That we are shrinking from rather than vising to the challenges of the age.
In this new, hyper competitive age, none of us, none of us can afford to be complacent.
Abraham Lincoln and Millard Fillmore had the same title. They were both presidents of the United States, but their tenure in office and their legacy could not be more different.
Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.
Acts of sacrifice and decency without regard to what's in it for you create ripple effects. Ones that lift up families and communities, that spread opportunity and boost our economy.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
We cannot meet 21st Century challenges with a 20th Century bureaucracy.
We are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight.
I know starting careers in troubled times is a challenge, but it is also a privilege. Because it's moments like these that force us to try harder, dig deeper and to discover gifts we never knew we had. To find the greatness that lies within each of us. So don't ever shy away from that endeavor. Don't stop adding to your body of work. I can promise that you will be the better for that continued effort as will be this nation that we all love.
I've come to embrace the notion that I haven't done enough in my life. I've come to confirm that one's title, even a title like president of the United States, says very little about how well one's life has been led. No matter how much you've done or how successful you've been, there's always more to do, always more to learn, and always more to achieve.
In recent years, we've become enamored with our own past success. Lulled into complacency by the glitter of our own achievements. We've become accustomed to the title of Military Superpower, forgetting the qualities that got us there. We've become accustomed to our economic dominance in the world, forgetting that it wasn't reckless deals and get rich quick schemes that got us where we are, but hard work and smart ideas, quality products and wise investments.
That's what building a body of work is all about. It's about the daily labor, the many individual acts, the choices large and small that add up over time, over a lifetime to a lasting legacy. It's about not being satisfied with the latest achievement, the latest gold star, because the one thing I know about a body of work is that it's never finished. It's cumulative. It deepens and expands with each day you give your best. You may have setbacks and you may have failures, but you're not done. You haven't even started.
The leaders we revere and the businesses that last are generally not the result of a narrow pursuit of popularity or personal advancement, but of devotion to some bigger purpose. That's the hallmark of real success. The other trapping of success might be the by product of this larger mission, but it can't be the central thing.