Dear Tomas and Ina,
We are nearing the end of a remarkable year, in our own lives and in the world at large. The challenges you and your generation face are significant in nature, but they can be overcome and I trust you will be part of the solution. I humbly share the following lessons and hope they may help you live well and lead all of us into a better future.
- Be humble
I trust you to do good in this world and I want you to think hard about the limitless opportunities in life, but I also encourage you to approach each and every human being and project with humility. No one person is more important than another, but we all have our unique gifts for the world. Listen to other people’s ideas and sincerely pay attention to your fellow human beings. Self-confidence is best built by knowing your strengths and gifts well while also understanding where and how other people can make you and your work better. When you make mistakes, and you will make many, I encourage you to use them as learning opportunities. Remember that you are unique and spectacular just the way you are, but please keep your ego at bay. As great as you are, you must respect the magnificent whole that you are only a small part of. Always consider how what you do may impact your community and environment and be sure to give more than you take. Think more WE and less ME and you will do well.
- Choose friends and role models wisely
Choose to be in the company of good people who energize you and make an effort to look for positive role models. Find those who are unafraid to lead by example, those who will swim upstream to do right by people and the planet. Surround yourself with people who make you even better. Avoid sameness and herd behavior and people who encourage you to do and say things that may help you fit in, but make it hard for your to live comfortably in your own skin and in alignment with the people you love.
- Be Grateful
Remember to be thankful for what you have. You live in a country like no other, surrounded by a close group of family and friends. You eat well and enjoy education and quality of life that many people dream of, but will never experience. Make gratitude a daily practice and you will never lack a thing.
- Work from a set of good values
Let your values be your guiding lights in life. Make no big decision without testing them against your core values. We have tried our best to raise you by values we believe will serve you well, but it is your responsibility to choose your values well and use them to guide your life’s journey. They may very well become your most important screen in life.
- Don’t give up when you face adversity
Life is full of wonder, but it isn’t always simple and easy. You will face headwinds from time to time but how you react to challenges and difficulties determines how you fare at work and in life. Never choose to be a victim, it solves nothing and leads to unhappiness. Choose optimism and resilience when you face adversity and continue upstream with faith, hope and love as your weapons. Know that this too, will pass.
- Choose your words wisely
Be kind to others. Never take part in bullying and stay strong against any such behavior and company. Do not write or say to others what you would not appreciate hearing about yourselves. Words hold enormous power and we currently witness all too many examples of angry and hateful speech. Be critical, we should be, but choose every word wisely and be empathetic and sensitive to the impact they may have on others. Don’t forget that those who express hate are often asking for help so go high when they go low and choose love when they choose hate. Make sure to be proud of every word you utter. If you make a mistake, humbly apologize.
- Be leaders AND team-players
I have endless faith in you and I see you developing into true leaders. You have the ability to bring others along and I know you will use that gift to empower yourself and others to do good in this world. I also see you as team players and trust you will approach both roles with humility and confidence. Work to be humble, good communicators and passionate about results and you will always thrive.
- Be learners and welcome change
We live in times of uncertainty and you will meet people and situations that may invoke fear in you. Be careful, but never let fear paralyze you or stop you from chasing your dreams. Be thirsty for new knowledge, new and improved ways and views and be unafraid to unlearn so you can grow and develop yourselves. Constant change is the new normal and you don’t need to fear it, but you need to be adaptable and students forever.
- Find and follow your true purpose
You have many talents, I trust you to use them well and test them in a variety of ways but I also trust you will pursue your true purpose with passion once you find it.
- Be You
You are blessed with pretty good parents and many family members available to advice you well. You have also enjoyed many great teachers and coaches in life and you will enjoy many more. Accept our advice but know that the most important work in your lives will be to discover and remain true to your own authentic selves. Stay true to who you truly are and what you are meant to do.
I believe in you!