Lessons from a Former Secretary of State

ImageOne of the major advantages of being a college student at a large university is the opportunity to hear world-class speakers on campus at no charge. Tonight I had the opportunity to hear Condoleezza Rice, the United State’s 66th Secretary of State and the first African American woman to hold this position. She shared a little about her experiences as Secretary of State, but I loved the advice she offered to UNT students most of all:

 1. “Find your passion while you’re here in college. If you don’t find it, it just might find you.”

 Students often come to college clueless of which major to pursue and spend a lot of time going from one thing to the next, but it’s important to spend time developing dreams and making them come to life.

2.  “Seek out different opinions. You can never defend your own position until you seek out the other side.”

There are a multitude of perspectives on just about anything you could possibly think of. What one might see as the only answer might not even occur to another. It’s important to take a step of courage to see what the other side sees. Who knows; you might find that you like the other side better.

3.  “Trying hard things is more fulfilling than doing things that come easy to you.”

Although we gravitate toward things that come naturally, sometimes it’s the most rewarding to break out of that comfort zone. The most successful people are often the most well-rounded and courageous. Plus, if you’re constantly challenging yourself, you wont fret the challenges you face because you’ll be more prepared to facing them head-on.

4. “Study abroad!”

There are so many different cultures in this world. For some, college is the best time to explore and even work toward their degree. Traveling helps diversify education and inspires a new sense of wonder.

5. “The best way to be optimistic is to help others that are less fortunate.”

Our culture feeds into materialism and the idea that more is better. With this state of mind, no sum is great enough and you will always find yourself longing for more. Helping others loosens the grip of materialism and tightens the bonds that only compassion can build.

“Helping others changes our mindset from ‘Why don’t I have…?’ to ‘Why do I have so much?”” -Condoleezza Rice

6. “Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand.”

As citizens of this country it’s important to enjoy the freedoms that have been bought with a price, but it’s also important to remember our duties. We should constantly strive to leave a legacy and for things to be left better than when we found them.

7. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, but where you’re going.”

We have all faced hardships, but true leaders overcome these obstacles and focus more on the future rather than the past. Come to terms with your circumstances and understand that surpassing them will only make you stronger.

Thank you Condoleezza Rice for sharing your words of wisdom and thank you, UNT for having speakers that help us learn and grow.

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2 thoughts on “Lessons from a Former Secretary of State

  1. If someone took part in starting a war under false pretenses that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as approving of torturing people, in other words committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, does that person deserve respect? Or do they instead deserve to be held accountable for their actions?

    • This blog post was written to summarize Condoleezza’s presentation for UNT students. This is by no means an endorsement or rejection of her political decisions made during her time in office. Love her or hate her, she served our country at a very difficult time and I think she deserves respect. The advice she gave during her presentation was worth sharing and I firmly believe you can learn something from anyone if you put aside differences and give them a chance. Thank you for reading.

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