By Ashley Anna-Aboreden
“There are absolutely no limitations to the life that you have the opportunity to live,” writes Adam Braun, New York Times bestselling author and Founder of Pencils of Promise.
On Nov. 1 and 2, FIU had the opportunity to host Adam Braun, author of this year’s Common Reading Program book, “The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change.” Focusing on seven points, Braun directed his speech to FIU’s freshmen to inspire them to pursue a meaningful life.
These seven points are knowing where you come from, stepping out of your comfort zone, creating high expectations for yourself, valuing relationships, learning wherever you are, asking the right questions and responding to failure with the correct mindset.
With these points in mind, Braun wrote the book to reach students and create a book they could relate to.
“When I was a college student, I didn’t really have a book that I could totally relate to that I felt like showed me the path that I wanted to walk….to share the lessons [I] learned along the way that could enable any person to discover their own path to both success and significance,” said Braun.
One of these seven themes resonated with Lorena Malavet, a senior in public relations at FIU.
“One thing that really got me motivated was to just expect more from yourself—to not limit yourself,” said Malavet.
This idea to expect more from yourself was greatly emphasized by Braun in the talk. One thing he stressed was that “you become your own expectations.” Therefore, the higher your expectations, the greater (the more) you will accomplish.
All of Braun’s points stemmed from this main theme and something found throughout his book: the importance of meaning.
Stating that most people equate meaning and happiness, Braun argued that they are entirely separate from each other, believing that the pursuit of meaning will lead to greater and deeper happiness. He encouraged everyone to find their meaning and to be a force for good in the world.
Another life lesson Braun stressed was to step outside of your comfort zone.
“Do as many things as possible that are outside of your comfort zone and what you’ll end up discovering is that there are parts of yourself that you never knew you had and things that make you come alive that you wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to,” said Braun.
This spoke directly to Meredith Marseille, a public relations major and senior at FIU. At the beginning stages of starting a business, Marseille was both inspired and challenged by this lesson.
For those freshmen who were not able to attend the talk, Adam Braun’s book has been and is being discussed and dissected in every SLS class (First Year Experience Course) at FIU as it is this year’s Common Reading selection. Braun’s themes and challenging points are central to this year’s SLS curriculum, to inspire young people and let them know they have the opportunity to challenge themselves and dream big.
“I hope that every single student recognizes their innate capacity to be a force for good in the world, that they don’t have to be limited by where they’re coming from when thinking about where they want go,” said Braun.