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Inspiration from Eleanor Roosevelt

Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was a humanitarian, United Nations diplomat, and First Lady; the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Success is knowing how to deal with criticism. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” • “Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” • “Long ago, I made up my mind that when things were said involving only me, I would pay no attention to them, except when valid criticism was carried by which I could profit.”

Success is understanding the basis of self-esteem. “Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”

Success is learning. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Success is having character. “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” • “Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth.”

Success is knowing how to bring balance to one’s life. “I wish for those I love this New Year an opportunity to earn sufficient, to have that which they need for their own and to give that which they desire to others, to bring into the lives of those about them some measure of joy, to know the satisfaction of work well done, of recreation earned and therefore savored, to end the year a little wiser, a little kinder and therefore a little happier.”

Success is embracing inevitable change. “My life can be so arranged that I can live on whatever I have. If I cannot live as I have lived in the past, I shall live differently, and living differently does not mean living with less attention to the things that make life gracious and pleasant or with less enjoyment of things of the mind.”

Success is knowing what success means to you. “We have all made such a fetish of financial success and forgotten frequently that success of any kind, when it does not include success in one’s personal relationships, is bound in the end to leave both the man and the woman with very little real satisfaction.”

Success is knowing what happiness means to you. “I would not be happy unless I had some regular work to do every day and I imagine that I will always feel that way no matter how old I am...” • “Happiness may exist under all conditions, given the right kind of people and sufficient economic security for adequate food and shelter.” 

Success is believing in the Internet—even back in 1943. “One of the best ways of enslaving a people is to keep them from education... The second way of enslaving a people is to suppress the sources of information, not only by burning books but by controlling all the other ways in which ideas are transmitted.”

[Sources: http://www.biography.com, http://www.whitehouse.gov, http://www.wic.org]


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  • Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
  • What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)
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    Year To Success
    Bo Bennett, PhD
    Social Scientist, Business Consultant
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    Personal Development : Personal Transformation
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