Since the recent passing of Maya Angelou, various people have been revisiting her incredible teachings and words for inspiration. The author, poet, dancer, singer and eloquent speaker touched the lives of many, and the topics about which she wrote in her poetry or spoke of in her appearances are powerful lessons that provide words of sincere wisdom that will endure.
Maya Angelou taught people to live a life that mattered by staying true to oneself, setting the bar high, and learning from mistakes. Read on for some of her most profound teachings for enjoying a fulfilled and engaged life:
1. Follow your passions and do what you love
Angelou once said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” Dr. Angelou practiced what she preached – she immersed herself in the activities that were most important to her, and her excellence was so tangible that it often transformed the lives of those around her. Pursuing your goals with passion and commitment is necessary for achieving your full potential.
2. Be optimistic
Angelou once said of the American Deep South, that it was easy to see the region as ‘a repository of all bad things’, but seeing things differently helped give her a wholly different worldview. She put herself in control of her emotions with her optimism and positivity – by refusing to allow tragedy or misfortune to get the upper hand, Angelou rose above them. Do you have any areas in your life in which your attitude holds you back? Strive to follow Dr. Angelou’s example by changing your perspective.
3. Take a risk once in a while
Friend James Baldwin famously said of Angelou, “If you want Maya Angelou to do something, tell her she can’t do it.” Taking chances, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, and pursuing challenges with a sense of determination are the keys to achievement, success and self-fulfillment. Few have ever achieved anything innovative or influential by sticking to the status quo, and Angelou was a living embodiment of that sentiment.
4. Have faith
Whether it’s in God, a higher being, your family, a loved one or simply yourself, faith endows us with the confidence we need to make bold decisions and persist through difficulty. Faith acts as the safety net that will catch us if we fall – and more than that, it’s the helping hand that sets us back on our feet. Maya Angelou said that once she understood she was a child of God, she became courageous and dared to do anything that was a good thing – we all stand to achieve more by taking courage and pride in our own faith.
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