Denzel Washington’s Acceptance Speech at the 2017 NAACP Image Awards
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Tarji P. Henson
“25 Things That Really Matter In Life” is designed to get you started living a better life within the next fifteen minutes. Moreover, here’s the best thing: You can read this book in an hour and it will still be relevant five years from now. The book changes with you.
If you’re looking for a book written by a highly credentialed author with letters after his name to help you find out who you are and what happened in your life that made you the way you are, this is not the book for you. If you want a book to help you begin to change your life right now, then keep reading because this is the book for you.
#1. Faith: Have faith in God or believe in something other than yourself. Faith is the greatest power at your disposal. Faith never fails. You need to believe in yourself in order to convince others to believe in you. Pray and ask God to give you the strength and humility to be more focused and forgiving. Leave the negative aspects of living to a higher power so you can live your best life. The only time you can fail is when you give up on faith, so incorporate faith as part of your spirit. Then, when negative circumstances confront you, you automatically go into “Faith Mode,” a way of life that allows you to behave without fear of the opposing forces that may surround you. There are levels of faith. Having strong faith is a process. If your faith is not at the highest level, you may suffer a setback. This is no reason to quit or give up. You will not be strong overnight. (Faith moved me to quit my job. With a wife and two small children, I chose to change my career and pursue a path I had been doing for less than three years. I developed a solid and flexible plan that guided me to where I am today. There are no limitations on how much faith you can have. Fear causes paralysis. Faith is an energizer.)
#2. Family: Spending quality time with your family (spouse, children, and parents) can extend your life. Loved ones at home, who love you, are among the things in life that really matter. (When I was growing up, family was important in my life. Aunts, uncles and cousins lived in my neighborhood. Most of us worshiped at the same church and vacationed together. Family was a way of life that was never challenged. That foundation remains solid today: My family members never distanced themselves from me.)
#3. Love: Despite the high divorce rate (approximately fifty percent), studies show people who are in committed, monogamous relationships believe they have healthier and happier lives. A strong emotional connection with the one you love is paramount for a happy existence. Love should feel euphoric. When you find that special someone who will not take advantage of your vulnerabilities, who you trust implicitly, who can communicate with you in a manner that is “hearable” and who is consistent in his or her behavior, then you will live a happier and more meaningful life. When you totally surrender to the other person, you will experience a bond sealed by a higher power. One of the best things about having a true love is that everything you do together is special. (Love is expressed in many ways: patience, kindness, caring, forgiveness, and so forth. Self-love is probably the most important aspect of love. I’ve learned that you must have boundaries in love. You can’t keep saying “Yes” without being able to say “No.” Falling in love is easy. Maintaining love is something entirely different. In my early relationships, I was comfortable with conflict (arguing.) Later in life, I overcompensated by avoiding conflict. I’m a “work in progress” when it comes to having my needs met. For me, loving someone and making someone feel loved are different. Love requires balance. Are you able to identify the important components of love and balance them with the other aspects of your life? Some of us confuse lust with love. Lust desires to take . . . love desires to give.)
#4. Children: A happy family is the key to a happy life, especially with your children. Quality relationships with your children will help you stay balanced and will help them lead balanced lives. The only way to cultivate and sustain solid relationships with your children is to spend quality time with them. Turn off the television, leave work early, and invest your time where you’ll get the most return, which is with the ones you love. From the time my children were infants, I took them everywhere I went. I even set up a workstation at my office and home office for them. We worked, laughed, talked and played every day. One of my fondest memories is watching my children laugh. When children are laughing, all is right with the world. (I was born to be a dad. Having a good relationship with my children is one of the most important factors for my happiness and stability. The best gift that a man can give to his children, in addition to spending time with them, is to model the appropriate behavior consistently.)
#5. Good Health: Good health is paramount to good living. Good health is something many people tend to appreciate only when it’s deteriorating or gone. You can have millions of dollars in the bank, a beautiful house and a nice car, and it will mean very little if you’re sick. Take care of your mind, body and soul. (I’m in relatively good health. I have no physical limitations. Like many people, living a healthy life style was not a priority. Although I never smoked, used drugs, or drank alcohol, I had poor eating habits and didn’t exercise consistently throughout the first half of my life. I wish I had acted differently. Today, I realize that those poor eating habits have not been kind to me. Living a healthier lifestyle can add years to your life.)
25 Things That Really Matter In Life by Gary A. Johnson
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By Gary A. Johnson Tennis coach Richard Williams is a controversial figure in women’s tennis. I read his new book, “Black and White: The Way I See It,” on a plane ride to Vermont. I could not put the book down. I don’t play [...]