Aug 2, 2013

The importance of...[KINDNESS]

- What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness, says famous author George Saunders, who was asked to deliver the convocation speech at Syracuse University for class 2013. George Saunders inspires his audience with a speech about getting older and how that leads to replacing the selfishness with love and kindness. And to find and follow our own path, by taking ourselves seriously, and doing it with kindness all the way.

I think this is a beautiful and inspirational speech. Life gets better with love and being kind to each other. And maybe most important; start with being kind to yourself. Be your own best friend. Here is a little bit from the speech, but head over to NY Times blog 6th floor where you can read the whole speech.

" you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love.  YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE.  If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously – as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers.  We have to do that, to be our best selves. So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up.  Speed it along.  Start right now.  There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really:selfishness.  But there’s also a cure.  So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf – seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life. Do all the other things, the ambitious things – travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.  Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.  That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.  Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly. And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been.  I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful."

[Text source: NY Times 6th Floor Pinterest image via]