Speech by Brian Dyson, CEO Coca Cola

If anyone knows the original source of this, please let me know so I can link to it.

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or evenshattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.


Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each together.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be pave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find time. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings!

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.

Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way…

–Brian G. Dyson

President and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises during his speech at the Georgia Tech 172nd Commencement Address Sept. 6, 1996

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UPDATE: Apparently, as stated below in the comments by blissfu1ness, this quote is originally from the book: “Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas” by James Patterson

UPDATE 2: (Feb 15, 2012) According to Beckie’s comment below: “Brian Dyson died in 1994, Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas was published in 2001. How could he have gotten that from James Patterson when the book came out 7 years after Brian died?”

UPDATE 3: (Apr 13, 2012) According to Aleph’s comment below: “Mr. Dyson is very much alive and well and living in Atlanta, and gave his commencement speech in 1996.” … I did some googling and found the following:

Mr. Brian G. Dyson has been the President of Chatham International Corp. since December 1993. Mr. Dyson served as a Senior Consultant to The Coca-Cola Company from January 1992 to October 1993. Prior to 1992, he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. and held various other Executive Level Positions with The Coca-Cola Company; and in 1991 Mr. Dyson was named the Vice Chairman of Coca-Cola Enterprises. He joined Coca Cola Co. in Venezuela in 1959, and worked for many years in South America, the Caribbean and Mexico. In 1978 Mr. Dyson was named the President of Coca-Cola USA, Coca Cola Co.’s U.S. soft drink division. In 1983, he was named the President of Coca-Cola North America, with responsibility for Coca Cola Co.’s entire North American business. Mr. Dyson retired from the Coca-Cola system in 1994. In August 2001, he came out of retirement and accepted the positions of the Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Coca Cola Co., the latter of which Mr. Dyson held until December 2002. He is a Member of Advisory Board of Linley Capital. He served as a Director of Audits & Surveys Worldwide Inc., since May 1995. Mr. Dyson served as the Chairman of the Board of PlusPharma since August 2004. He served as the Vice Chairman of Coca Cola Co. until July 31, 2003.


56 thoughts on “Speech by Brian Dyson, CEO Coca Cola

  1. Pingback: Happiness Today AND Happiness Tomorrow | Retire Fabulously!

    • I believe the speech ended with these lines from Mr Dyson (I may be paraphrasing a little here)
      “Yesterday is history, today is a mystery, that is why we call it the present”.

  2. Love the article! But geeee… your updating on Brian Dyson is really messed up. Perhaps you should consider doing it in chronological order though. Sounds more logical.

  3. The words of Mr. Dyson sums up the true meaning of life. These words means a lot to the people who are in the mad race of proving their professional might forgetting their loved ones waiting down in the drawing rooms back at home to listen to the doorbell of the son/ husband/ father/ mother.
    I was also doing the same mistake. Remember, you are blessed with a beautiful family. Don’t take it for granted.
    Before becoming a role model for the outside world, try to be a hero of your family.
    Thanks Brian, thank you very much.

  4. Oh, that’s are good words, but there is no end.
    I read the speech in 2008. I was given it by my professor. I kept the paper but I lost it =( and have just found here~ thank you~

    I remember the last part of the speech:

    “….Yesterday is History,
    Tomorrow is a Mystery,
    Today is a gift,
    that’s why we call it Present”

  5. Life is the reflection of everyone’s action. i think that so far Dyson told about about life is completely a summary of life itself. do your duty as best as you can do for your life to make the upcoming days relaxed. Family ties and values are breaking down because of over materialistic and departing from the main stream of God’s regulation. If we try to maintain every relation to keep it as in a safe place where we will clean its dart then we will have a good life. Because life does not have any rewind button.

  6. Its too good to miss..all of us should remember and value the valuables…as family..freinds..spirit …these are our roots. if we cut the root we cant survive and the entier tree will die.so nothing will be left as career or work life.

  7. We all are agreed with Brain words,but need to act in our lives. Its way to success.. share with friends as much as possible.

  8. Pingback: Are you Entrepreneur? «

  9. Not sure that it can be originally from ‘Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas’. That book was published in 2001. Bryan Dyson’s speech was made in 1996.

  10. The speech by Bryan was given in 1996 whereas the book “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas” by James Patterson was published in 2001 , so James has used Bryan’s speech in his novel and not vice versa

  11. I read some where on the internet that the initial sentences are from

    “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas” A 2001 novel by James Patterson

  12. The speech is a beautiful piece of literature but I slightly differ with it . In fact , the present day social life is much dependent on economy of a person which is generated by rubber ball and rest of the four balls almost totally depend on it. If a person has no job , no money , he may not be accepted as a respectable family member even in his own house . However, we need to develop a balance among all the five balls as only a juggler who keeps all the balls juggling in the air in a circus is considered to be a successful one. Let ‘s be realistic as philosophy can not fill the stomach of a hungry child crying for the food.
    Muhammad Iqbal Anjum
    Assistant Professor of Communication studies
    GC University , Lahore , Pakistan.

  13. Very inspiring but not by Bryan Dyson as blissfu1ness says above.

    From the book:

    “Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas” by James Patterson

    • Brian Dyson died in 1994, Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas was published in 2001. How could he have gotten that from James Patterson when the book came out 7 years after Brian died?

      • Mr. Dyson is very much alive and well and living in Atlanta, and gave his commencement speech in 1996.

        Mr. Patterson, on the other hand, writes so many books — with the help of different writing partners — it’s understandable someone might have picked up the quote somewhere for the book, published in 2001, without giving due credit. But then it’s a novel, not a thesis.

  14. Excellent speech , its fantastic and each an every words of the speech has got a broad valuable meaning .

    i am a looser that i cannt meet and listen other speech from the person like him.

    i really admire him.

    santnau dash
    Manager Human Resource

  15. people read those words daily but do they realy understand their meaning? when god molded the world into what it is nw he said man shall control all thats on it but in this life time everything has been reversed, the world controls us

  16. The delivery is great and practical.It touches the core of mankind which is the spirit.When the spirit is at peace man will realise the worth of living this life.

  17. Above speech is really practical, for current life people has to understand above points mentioned by CEO of Coca-Cola

  18. I like the Idea of Setting your Goals not what other people think is Important, We are all told by the Guru’s that we must do this or that but the most Important thing in Achieving a Goal is that we have to know what is best ourselves and not be told by others that only this works.


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