PROMISE for a Fulfilling and Meaningful Life

by Jan on April 15, 2011

“Only the ideas that we really live have any value.” - Hermann Hesse

A few days ago I walked into a packed auditorium to honor Howie Stillman who passed away in 1986, at the young age of 23.

Every year, for the last 25 years, people have gathered to celebrate Howie’s life. His friends established a permanent memorial, The Howie Stilllman Young Leadership Fund. Its funds are used to sponsor an annual lecture, a youth leadership award, as well as various need-based scholarships.

To honor the 20th anniversary, the Fund partnered with Free the Children and adopted a community in Kenya, Africa. Over the past 5 years, they have gone on to build a school, water collection system and now a medical clinic is in progress. His legacy lives on.

Howie kept a poem that he wrote in the front of his journal – a declaration of purpose of sorts and a clear statement of his values. To me, it is the essence of HOPE. I wish I had known him.

Here are the words of a man who is remembered for living his values.

“PROMISE YOURSELF” – by Howie Stillman
Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best and expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.