“You can either leave something for people or leave something for people”: Viola Davis

At Barnard College, actor Viola Davis spoke zealously. “You are a graduate of a school whose mission is to give you not only a diploma, but a sword. Either start to wield it or put it away as a topic of conversation. Because there is a ceiling to success. Now everyone is telling you this is what you need to hit, this is the best of the best you can have in life. And then you hit it and then comes disillusion, exhaustion, isolation, impostor syndrome and loss of passion. Because no one is talking about the real end cap, the real cap – and that’s important, ”she said.

“This life for something bigger than yourself is a hero’s journey. This response to your call, to adventure and to travel with mentors and allies, and to face your greatest fears, where you will die or your life as you know it will never be the same again. And then you grab the sword, the insight, the treasure. The hero at this point must put all the celebrations aside to prepare for the final battle. The way back. The Way Home is when the hero returns to the ordinary world, where he must choose between his personal goal and that of a higher cause. The reward? Your gift to the ordinary world?… It’s the Holy Grail, the elixir, ”she continued.

And then answered the question she had shared with them. “So, hands up, what I’m saying is that on this day of your genesis, your leap, your beginning, your mark in your history, maybe your elixir is simply this one: that you can either leave something to people or you can leave something in people.

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