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Ali was one of the greatest human beings of all time. What made Ali great was not his boxing skills, chiseled looks or mercurial eloquence. What made him great was the nobility of his character; his courage to speak truth to power and stand up for what he believed in. No matter the cost.
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We create career expectations, relationship goals and five-year plans, all pressuring us to succeed within constrained periods of time. While I do believe that planning and having attainable goals is good practice, I feel our understanding and assessment of our personal success shouldn't be linked.
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In August 2010, I was attending week three of a youth conference and found myself deep in meditation, sobbing as if I had just emerged from the womb. Here I was, in the middle of Berlin deep in meditation, with the photo of an older Indian man with long hair and in white robes at the front of the room, feeling at my very core that my life was about to change dramatically.
We tend to be so hung up on rising to the top that we fail to realize that being overly competitive can actually push us down. True greatness comes to those who elevate others; who lift them up without regard to where it will place them in the hierarchy of the marketplace of life.
I am not saying that we should not strive to be the very best people and professionals we can be. This is not a call to "lean out." By all means, let's strive to be amazing, but let's also aspire to be more gentle with ourselves and with others.
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Everybody's a critique. Paul Cézanne, the Post-Impressionist painter, was mercilessly ridiculed by critics when he exhibited with the Impressionists. Claude Monet's paintings were called "formless, unfinished and ugly." Aside from the art of perseverance, what can the greatest artists of all time teach us? Here are my top 10 takeaways.
I know several philanthropists who will only fund the projects that no one else will touch. Give me the most stigmatized cause, the most complex client group! What does this teach us about life? The nobility of standing in solidarity with the marginalized.