Year To Success

Lesson 50: Inspiration from Helen Keller

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was a writer, lecturer, and advocate for the deaf and blind.

Success is overcoming adversity. Miss Keller managed to develop admirable powers of intellectual and emotional achievement, despite losing both her hearing and sight before the age of two. She traveled to over 40 countries and became a leading figure who publicly campaigned on behalf of civil rights, human dignity, women’s suffrage, and world peace.

Success is continual education. Although Miss Keller’s formal education ended when she received her B.A. degree, throughout her life she continued to study and stayed informed on all matters of importance to modern people.

Success is being optimistic. Miss Keller was an optimist. In fact, one of her well-known essays was on the subject, appropriately entitled “Optimism.”

Success is sharing and caring. Since Miss Keller was a young woman, she was always willing to help others by writing articles, essays and books, giving lectures, and most of all sharing her own personal story of how a severely disadvantaged person can accomplish so many great things.

Success stems from frustration. In her book Midstream, Miss Keller wrote of her frustrations with learning, specifically the pace. It was with this frustration that she pushed herself to new limits that allowed her to excel mentally beyond a level to which most non-disadvantaged, educated people aspire.

Success is learning. In addition to English, Miss Keller learned to read French, German, Greek, and Latin... in braille!

Success is inspiring others. Miss Keller has been an inspiration to millions of people around the world and will continue to inspire millions more through her legacy.

Success is having character. Miss Keller devoted most of her life to helping others. Many noted her kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm. She thought the best of people and typically brought out the best in others she met.

Success is not using age as an excuse to call it quits. In 1955, when she was 75 years old, she embarked on one of her longest and most grueling journeys, a 40,000-mile, five-month-long tour through Asia.

Success is making a difference in the world. In his eulogy, Senator Lister Hill of Alabama expressed the feelings of the whole world when he said of Helen Keller, “She will live on, one of the few, the immortal names not born to die. Her spirit will endure as long as man can read, and stories can be told of the woman who showed the world there are no boundaries to courage and faith.”