"To be or not to be is NOT the question; the vital question is how to be and how not to be"

~ Abraham Heschel.


This is the quote Natalie Portman closes her Graduation Address to Harvard and it's a good'un.


I've recently started a bit of an obsession with these graduation addresses which can be a bit of pleasant distraction but often contain some pearls of wisdom. Ms. Portman makes some excellent points in hers coming from a place of insecurity and finishing with triumph.


Although directed at graduates these are easily transferable to entrepreneurs, leaders and anyone considering a change.


I've pulled out the key messages I take away - you may hear others, I'd love to hear what yours are.


Mine are:

  • Insecurities and inexperience may lead you to embrace other people’s expectations, standards or values but you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path. One that is free from burden.

  • Achievement is wonderful when you know why you are doing it, and when you don’t know it can be a terrible trap.

  • Prizes serve as false idols.

  • Seriousness for seriousness’s sake is a dubious trap.

  • To love what you do is not only an acceptable reason IT’S THE BEST ONE.

  • The only thing you can be the best at is developing yourself. Find perfection and pleasure in your own self.

  • Be oblivious to your own limits. Make use of the fact that you don’t doubt yourself too much. Dive into your own obliviousness.

  • Inexperience is an asset that will help you see things in new, original and innovative ways.

  • Helping others ends up helping you more than anyone. Getting out of your own concerns and caring about someone else’s life for a while reminds you that you are not the center of the universe

  • Small feats of kindness have the most lasting affect.



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