Remember Who You Are

Academic News & Updates

As the story goes, Beethoven was to have given sheet music to the 1st violinist in the orchestra. The violinist said, “Maestro, you can’t expect us to play that.” Beethoven replied, “the music is for another generation, just play the notes on the page.” The same Beethoven was to have asked a friend at his deathbed, “I did have a certain talent, didn’t I?” The point is that the doubts can always be there, but it shouldn’t keep you from executing on your excellence.

What are the aspects of excellence in you? What are your life’s greatest achievement? For me, two moments stand out. One was standing up to an unfair faculty member, working hard and really learning in my master’s degree (even compared to my doctorate). The other occurred when I was working as a young electrical wholesaler, and I generated a creative lighting sale for over $100,000. It wasn’t the achievements per say, but more of what they represent for me and my character. In these situations, it was speaking from my integrity, challenging my intellect (and the number of hours of sleep I needed), being fearless, and thinking outside the box to achieve my goal.  These aspects of excellence are part of me, and your aspects are part of you.

Martin Seligman writes that pessimistic people get sicker than optimistic people.  I believe that developing your aspects of excellence and positive character traits will keep you optimistic, healthier, keep you seeking out social support, and keep your immune system strong, especially during this holiday season.

So, this month I salute your achievements and character: to remembering who you are!

Have a wonderful holiday,

Best, James

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