Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wisdom gained from experience is a gift

There's a new book out by photographer Andrew Zuckerman titled "Wisdom."

Zuckerman "traveled to seven countries, flew 65,000 miles, and drove 5,000 more, all in a quest to ask 50 distinguished individuals ages 65 years and older what they would like others to know."

"The greatest gift from one generation to the next? It's wisdom gained from experience."

[If you have time, be sure to watch the video.]

Here are a couple of highlights:

DESMOND TUTU, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize: "Each one of us can make a contribution. Too frequently we think we have to do spectacular things. Yet if we remember that the sea is actually made up of drops of water and each drop counts, each one of us can do our little bit where we are. Those little bits can come together and almost overwhelm the world. Each one of us can be an oasis of peace."

CLINT EASTWOOD, winner of four Academy Awards: "Take your profession seriously; don't take yourself seriously. You really only matter to a certain degree in the whole circus out there. If you take yourself seriously, you're not going to be able to move forward."

LELLA and MASSIMO VIGNELLI, designers and creators of the New York City subway signage: "You need to have passion. The greatest thing I've learned in my life is that there is room for everybody. Learn from the past if you want what matters in the present. Knowledge is the most important thing. To young people, we say, 'Fill your brain with as much information as you can.' Look at everything, know everything, develop a critical mind. History, theory, and criticism are the three fundamental elements to grow in a professional life.

NELSON MANDELA, 1993 Nobel Peace Prize: "Wounds that can't be seen are more painful than those that can be seen and cured by a doctor. I learned that to humiliate another person is to make him suffer an unnecessarily cruel fate. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. I felt fear myself more times than I can remember, but I hid it behind a mask of boldness. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers fear."