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Six Lessons of Gratitude

Most of us MAM[ers] have never celebrated Thanksgiving before this year and experienced it for the very first time this fall. While I personally do not know a great deal about the origins of this holiday, I find in it something of great value, conspicuous gratitude.

This post I dedicate to the lessons we have been taught by the MAM speakers during the month of November. Thus I would like to say that I am thankful for being exposed to a line up of incredibly accomplished leaders that included: Mr. Ian Cook, Ms. Ellen Shuman, Mr. Jonathan Klein, and Governor Howard Dean. I am also thankful for the opportunity to share these lessons in this post.

Lesson 1

Being where we are and recognizing who we will be, forever proudly associated with the name “Yale.” What a privileged group we are – most of us are likely to be viewed with some sort of admiration by many moving forward. It is our responsibility to best use this influence and to recognize our voices and actions will now carry more weight – our potential to have a positive impact is bigger than before.

Lesson 2

All of us are prone to get blindly passionate about something, but that does not mean that we should ignore all we know and pursue uncalculated action. Before we act we must consider the consequences of our actions.

Lesson 3

Listening is a skill far scarcer than we think, yet it is one necessary to make change. We often confuse hearing with listening and tend to engulf ourselves in the belief that we are listening when we silently look into the eyes of our addressors and periodically nod. This is not listening. To listen is to hear and understand others; to watch their slightest gestures and link them to their utterances; to hear the words unspoken yet loudly said. Do not be the person who waits for others to finish their sentence so you can start yours. Be the person who nourishes ideas.

Lesson 4

Some of us swim too much against the current and admire this rebelliousness while others walk with one hand holding the rail. Both behaviors are extremes, and extremes do not bring progress. If you see something others don’t, do not be afraid to voice your opinion and stand up for what you believe is true, or the best way.

Lesson 5

What we do will matter. We should focus on how we do the things we do and habituate ourselves to always keep calm under pressure to avoid spontaneous regrettable actions. Mr. Ian Cook from Colgate called this “optimistic resilience.”

Lesson 6

Know that it’s alright if you don’t know what you want. My academic studies are grounded in psychology and I can assure you that our desires will change throughout our lifetime development. Most of us don’t really think deeply enough about the things we want to make our actions directed by goals tailored to the future. Taking a year or two off after working is a process that most of us have not taken lightly. We naively expect it to set our lives on track without falter. This is not true. We cannot plan for the future, but we can prepare for it by making ourselves aware of our skills and qualifications, improving them in the process and increasing them if possible.

These six lessons were the ones that have resonated with me the most. I hope they will help you put things into perspective as they have helped me.