July 10, 2009
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice. – Mary Oliver
I had the good fortune of having Paul Hawken’s Commencement Address to the University of Portland (May 3, 2009) forwarded to me by a friend, and I read it last night. Wow, it knocked my socks off! Paul said he was asked to give a talk that was, “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” It was.
Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author. At the age of 20, he chose to dedicate his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. He talked about immense environmental challenges that we’re facing on our planet, yet he also talked about humanity’s willingness to restore, re-imagine and reconsider. People around the globe who are forming together to work on behalf of people they don’t even know.
“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.”
In the past few years as I have researched and written about people who have chosen to pursue their Professional Destiny – people who opt to use their gifts and make a difference. I can’t help being both inspired and immensely relieved to find yet another person like Paul Hawken and the vast movement of others, who have decided to follow their passion and make a contribution. All over the world, there are ordinary people who have chosen to become extraordinary. It takes conviction, strength, passion and a lot of guts, but once you’re on the journey, your life becomes so satisfyingly rich, you would never choose to go back.
See Paul Hawken’s Commencement address at: http://www.paulhawken.com/paulhawken_frameset.html
Filed under: Professional Destiny Heroes