6 Things You Can Learn from Helen Keller

This week marks Helen Keller’s 136th birthday, and while she may no longer be with us, she certainly left a good deal of life lessons for us to learn from.

Not only famous for becoming a published author, Helen Keller was also the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, truly showing that disability – even blindness – is no match for a spirit of determination.

In fact, there are many things we can learn from Helen Keller.

The “unrealistic” can be realistic.

When you look at history, you’ll find that the true movers and shakers were not “realists.” Those figures that truly changed the course of history and, effectively, each of our lives, were overwhelmingly idealists.

Think about the people who have made a difference in our world, from Albert Einstein to Benjamin Franklin to the Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs; each of these people believed they could attain something more from life than what was presently accepted.

Helen Keller was exactly this type of person. She rose above what was “realistic” for someone with her disabilities at the time she lived.

Avoiding danger is impossible.

Okay, so avoiding danger might not be totally impossible, but Helen Keller taught us that it shouldn’t be our primary goal. Life, to Helen, was an adventure – danger and all. She is known to have said:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long than outright exposure.”

Helen Keller was the epitome of living her dreams regardless of dangers.

You must have a vision.

For someone who lived without the ability to see, Helen Keller knew a thing or two about vision. In fact, she said, “It’s a terrible thing to see, and have no vision!”

For Helen Keller, vision – meaning a goal, a plan or a life mission – was much more important than the physical ability to see. She knew that when you are dedicated to a vision you believe in, you’re more likely to achieve it.

Experience is what’s important.

Helen Keller didn’t think life was merely to be endured. And as someone who lived with great challenges, this was an incredibly positive perspective. She said, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Helen Keller taught us all that life’s experiences – even those that are painful or scary – are what life is all about.

Focus on the positive and you’ll be happier.

No one knew more about life’s cruelty and challenges than Helen Keller. But she didn’t let that kill her spirits.

In fact, Helen was known for her constant positivity. She said, “Keep your face in the sunshine and you will never see the shadow,” as well as “Although the world is full of suffering it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

And that’s coming from someone who truly overcame her suffering.

Your future is up to you.

Today, it’s easy to blame your shortcomings, slights, and failures on others. But Helen Keller taught that our lives are truly in our own hands. She said, “What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”

So often we look for something or someone to make us happy when we need to be looking into ourselves for that positivity. She also said, “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”

Surround yourself with positivity.

Not only did Helen Keller demonstrate that positivity is imperative, she also advocated surrounding yourself with positive people. She said, “While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.”

Hanging out with people who are negative won’t help you attain your dreams, so choose your friends wisely.

Happy birthday, Helen Keller. Thank you for your enduring wisdom.

Advanced Vision Institute

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