Thursday, December 3, 2009

Five rules.

Recently I read a commencement address by a scholar, a wise and intelligent one at that, called Samantha Powers.

She's a Professor of Human Rights Practice at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and won a Pulitzer and a National Book Critics Circle Award for her book "A Problem From Hell": America and the Age of Genocide.

Powers' address did what a lot of graduation addresses do. It laid out rules for 22-year-olds. Reading the address made me think that Powers' rules are worth thinking about if you work in an agency or run one.

First, as you figure out your path in life, try to follow your nose. Don't try to be an award-winning creative. Don't obsess over getting to Cannes. Focus on doing work you like, and a lot of it. Good things will follow.

Second, be sure to create quiet time so you maximize the chances you will be able to hear your gut when it speaks to you.
Slow down and think. Take a walk around the block. Read a book.

Third, by far the most important quality one needs in life is not in fact talent; it is resiliency. I've been fired twice now. Quit two different jobs without having another. Each time, I think I've come back better.

Fourth, find friends who have your back.

Fifth and final suggestion be a good ancestor.
In other words, help young people. Take the time to listen to them.

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