I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. The weather has been cold but just beautiful. I know I said that I planed to use the blog space to report on the speakers I heard at the Learning and the Brain conference, and I will continue to do that, but I felt the need to reflect upon the life of Nelson Mandela after his recent passing.
I had the great fortune of hearing Mandela speak in Sydney Australia in the fall of 1990, only a few months after he was released from prison. I was a college student at the time, and I knew very little about what he had been through and what he had overcome. But I remember being incredibly moved by his words and his spirit.
Mandela was an amazing human being who endured terrible hardships yet managed to continue to view the world in a positive way. In his autobiography, he writes, ““I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” I find these words so powerful and important to remember. Our life is not a dress rehearsal – this is it. And we can waste a lot of time and energy complaining about our situation or wondering what might have been. I strongly believe in the idea of keeping my head “pointed toward the sun” and encourage you to do the same. We will be emulating an extraordinary person when we do so.
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