Today, on the topic of communication and blogposts, a respected client-colleague mentioned Eleanor Roosevelt’s practice of writing a newspaper column everyday. It made me pause and think that for phenomenon that seems so contemporary – of writing and ‘posting’ everyday – Eleanor Roosevelt had it covered back in the 1930s. Roosevelt has always inspired – I remembered how once at a low point in my life I had a quote by her pinned in front of my desk that gave me daily strength: “Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”
Looking up her writing today I came across this great resource online: The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project. The project overview states:
‘More than any woman of the twentieth century, Eleanor Roosevelt inspired citizens and nations “to hazard all they have” to build a world governed by diplomacy, citizen engagement, and democratic policy. Her example of peace building and human rights advocacy throughout her life is a model to be studied and applied not only here in the United States but around the world.
As she moved from first lady to diplomat to citizen activist, she not only became the most ardent champion of human rights, but also one of the century’s most prolific journalists –publishing more than 8,000 columns, 580 articles, 27 books, 100,000 letters, delivering over 1000 speeches, and appearing on more than 300 radio and television shows.’
And here, you can browse what she wrote in her daily column from 1936 to 1962. The sheer prolific nature of her writing and the range of topics her work covered are awe-inspiring, as is her optimism and zest for life. Over and over in her writing the idea that you shape your own life and that happiness is a by-product of a life that is well-lived, rather than a goal. “Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.’ “Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively…”