Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Eleanor Roosevelt on maturity

To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for.

Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1960).
This passage reminds me of the one thing I remember of what Alan Alda, the commencement speaker, said at my college graduation. And of something André Gregory’s character says in My Dinner with André (dir. Louis Malle, 1981):
“I mean, I don’t know about you, Wally, but I — I just had to put myself into a kind of training program to learn how to be a human being. I mean, how did I feel about anything? I didn’t know. What kind of things did I like? What kind of people did I really want to be with, you know? And the only way that I could think of to find out was to just cut out all the noise and stop performing all the time and just listen to what was inside me.”
Also from ER
Doing what you think you cannot do : Honoring the human race : Attention

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