You Have Options... : The Lift | Brian@GrowthWorks

You Have Options...

by Brian McDermott on 09/25/13

The hard work of choosing to see possibilities in life rather than problems begins at the crossroads of routine and frustration. Good things are hidden in plain sight. Discovering them starts with the belief we have options.

This nine-minute video is built on an inspiring audio recording of a college commencement speech by David Foster Wallace, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, essayist and professor. His delivery style is understated, but the message and the visual imagery provided by the filmmakers are striking.

The message is all the more poignant for me knowing Wallace struggled personally -- and ultimately, perhaps, unsuccessfully -- with these very challenges in his own life. He committed suicide in 2008, after 20 years of dealing with depression. An obituary in the New York Times said, “David Foster Wallace can do practically anything if he puts his mind to it,” Michiko Kakutani, chief book critic of The New York Times, who was not a consistent praiser of Mr. Wallace’s work, wrote in 2006. “He can do sad, funny, silly, heartbreaking and absurd with equal ease; he can even do them all at once.”

He's done writing and speaking, but he left this legacy -- the challenge to understand that "the most obvious important realities in life are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about." It might take will and effort, but we get to decide what has meaning and what doesn't; we have the option to experience what might seem meaningless as something sacred.

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Click Here to listen to Wallace's full 24-minute commencement speech to the Kenyon College class of 2005.

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Comments (1)

1. Cindy Tansin said on 11/26/13 - 08:28PM
What a wonderful and well-done video. You really captured the truth - of just how controllable our "happiness" is. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing this.

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