Lesson 86: Be who you are, and be happy about it

Published 2:43 pm Thursday, August 12, 2010

Weve talked a lot about being honest with yourself, about understanding who you are. Lets take a moment to consider what it means to live each moment at peace with who you are.

Most of us know at least one person who is an authentic, genuinely nice person someone who doesnt appear to have a deceitful bone in his or her body. You could also probably name someone who is the polar opposite of that first person, someone who, even if you like him or her, just seems to come off as artificial a phony.

One of the great personal challenges each of us faces is being true to who we are while at the same time attempting to live each day as our very best self. The challenge involves trying to improve your attitude, skills, and contributions without pressing to the point of overreaching. Tim Russert was a good example of this type of person.

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Born in 1950, Timothy J. Russert grew up in Buffalo, New York, in an Irish-Catholic, working-class family. His father, Big Russ, worked for the sanitation department. Tim attended a local Catholic school, received his bachelors degree from John Carroll University, and earned his law degree from Cleveland State. In 1984, he joined NBC News, where he eventually became host of the Sunday morning interview show Meet the Press and chief of the Washington Bureau.

Russerts on-air personality was always warm and apparently genuine, although most viewers obviously didnt really know the man. But then he died suddenly on June 13, 2008, and the tributes started pouring in. The picture presented was that of a genuinely good guy, a friendly, happy fellow an honest, honorable man who loved his job, his family, his faith, and the Buffalo Bills football team. Although he was a tough interviewer, he treated everyone with warmth and respect, from the city trash collector to the President of the United States.

In addition to being one of the great journalists of his time (Time magazine listed him as one of their 100 most influential people in the world in 2008), Tim Russert was a person who strove to make the most of his considerable gifts while remaining true to who he was.

You could do a lot worse than following the example of Tim Russert. Be who you are, and be happy about it.

Excerpted from The Graduates Book of Practical Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School by C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.