In observation of America’s Independence Day this weekend, I’d like to offer you a story of a moment in history where a silent action by two Americans and their accidental collaborator stirred humanity’s conscience – a small but iconic step towards making us a better nation, and a better planet.
I welcome your thoughts and reactions, so please write back with anything you’d like to share. I would love to include your voices in future mailings, so do share stories and ideas that may be of value to our readers.
To my American colleagues and friends, a very happy July 4th as we renew our commitment to making our nation an even better union.
© Hitendra Wadhwa, 2020
Tommie Smith had just completed the 200-meters finals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, broken a world record, and won the gold medal. It was time for him to walk to the medal stand, bask in the adulation of the masses, and accept his medal. Smith was living his dream. Except, this was just his outer dream. He also had an inner dream. As an African American, Smith had seen much racial injustice. His inner dream was to get people to pay attention to this injustice and take action. He had not shared this dream in a major public manner so far, realizing that it would be controversial. Not everyone was ready to empathize with his cause. So, even before the Olympics, he had devised a plan. Once he showed the world that he’d mastered its game of athletics by winning the gold medal – for which he was the favorite – he would bring his inner dream also into outer expression. He would use his moment in the spotlight to become whole, by bringing his two worlds together, the inner and the outer. The world might then impose consequences on him for shocking it too suddenly from its racism-laced-somnolence. He must have been okay with that, because at the core of his being, he was interested in doing what was right, not what was popular. And he was not alone. There was John Carlos as well. Carlos, like Smith, was an African-American runner. He too was a medal-favorite at the Olympics in the 200-meter race. He too had been holding on to an inner dream like Smith’s. Carlos expected to win the silver, and he was right there behind Smith, but, alas! In the final 50 meters, he got overtaken by a surprise burst of energy from a competitor, leaving Carlos with the bronze medal. Well, at least Carlos was going to join Smith on the medal stand. Now it was time to put the plan into action. Continue reading.
I recently had the joy of joining Arthur Brooks in his podcast, the Art of Happiness. Arthur is Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and the former President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks. He is also the author of 11 books and a columnist for The Atlantic.
In this podcast, Arthur and I blend wisdom from the East and the West to explore the secrets to success and fulfillment.
To be effective in our life and work, we will benefit from expanding our happiness horizons beyond our own culture. Arthur has often looked to India as a source of inspiration on how best to combine material knowledge with metaphysical insight - and I have similarly sought to supplement my Eastern roots with Western wisdom. In this podcast, we have an enriching discussion on how blending Eastern and Western philosophies can help you discover your full potential and build a meaningful life on the foundations of moral living, spiritual practice, and wisdom.
© Hitendra Wadhwa, 2020. All rights reserved.
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