Max Out Our Humanity

Oprah Winfrey to Harvard graduates:

It doesn’t matter how far you might rise — at some point, you are bound to stumble. Because if you’re constantly doing what we do — raising the bar — if you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher, the law of averages predicts that you will, at some point, fall. And when you do, I want you to know this, remember this: There is no such thing as failure — failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. [emphasis added]

Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. . . . And when you’re down in the hole, when that moment comes, it’s really okay to feel bad for a little while — give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost — but, then, here’s the key: Learn from every mistake. Because every experience, encounter, and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are.

No matter what challenges or setbacks or disappointments you may encounter along the way, you will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal — there really is only one, and that is this: To fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being. You wanna max out your humanity by using your energy to lift yourself up, your family, and the people around you.

I find Oprah’s comments in the first paragraph to be profoundly true in my life. Sometimes life moves us in another direction before we are conscious of the shift, before we have words to describe the inner transition, and before what is going on with us makes sense to us. We might feel confused, befuddled, and may worry about our sanity. We are not failing; we are evolving. We lose what was part of the old reality of who we are and gain more of who we really are.

One key to life, I believe, is to stay true to my purpose, values, and vision for my life in times good and bad and trust in the process of life.

2 thoughts on “Max Out Our Humanity

  1. I find all of this “true” for me — Oprah’s address and your comments, Tom.
    I’m always looking closer at the words “fall” and “fail” when I see them in print. They look similar and sometimes are used interchangeably, inaccurately in many cases. I once had an Argus poster on my classroom wall: Success means getting up one more time than you fall. That is FALL, not FAIL.

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