25 Lessons for Life

by Marion Wright Edelman

  1. There is no free lunch. Don’t feel entitled to anything you don’t sweat and struggle for.
  2. Set goals and work quietly and systematically toward them.
  3. Assign yourself.
  4. Never work for just money or for power. They won’t save your soul or build a decent family or help you sleep at night.
  5. Don’t be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized.
  6. Take parenting and family life seriously and insist that those you work for and who represent you do.
  7. Remember that your wife/husband is not your mother/father or servant, but your partner and friend.
  8. Forming families is serious business.
  9. Be honest.
  10. Remember and help America remember that the fellowship of human beings is more important that the fellowship of race and class and gender in a democratic society.
  11. Sell the shadow for the substance.
  12. Never give up!
  13. Be confident that you can make a difference.
  14. Don’t ever stop learning and improving your mind.
  15. Don’t be afraid of hard work or teaching your children to work.
  16. Slow down and live.
  17. Choose your friends carefully.
  18. Be a can-do, will-try person.
  19. Try to live in the present.
  20. Use your political and economic power for the community.
  21. Listen for "the sound of the genuine" within yourself and others.
  22. You are in charge of your own attitude.
  23. Remember your roots, your history, and the forebears’ shoulder on which you stand.
  24. Be reliable. Be faithful. Finish what you start.
  25. Always remember that you are never alone.

Thanks to Laurie Mann for reminding me of this wonderful essay.

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