By Shayna Han
On Monday, Nov. 7, author and actor Hill Harper spoke at the Nott Memorial.
The lecture, “Manifest Your Destiny,” was sponsored by Speaker’s Forum and was an instructional talk about how to accomplish dreams.
Harper, an actor, author and activist, is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He also holds a degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
He began by using the architecture of buildings as a metaphor for people manifesting and accomplishing their dreams. He asserted that our destinies are built like a house, with a foundation, framework and door. The foundation gives us a solid base to initiate dreaming, the framework is like a skeleton because the choices we make to help those dreams come to life and the door is there so others can enter and aid us in achieving our dreams.
The cornerstone of Harper’s overall argument was that individuals have to start building a foundation today, and that foundation can begin with taking risks. He noted that to most people, risks are defined as actions which can lead to injury, pain and monetary loss, which most people tend to avoid.
But Harper mentioned that risks are ways to grow and that fear is what prevents people from being risk-takers. Harper defined “FEAR” as “false evidence appearing real.” He differentiated between good and bad risk-taking by saying that if you can afford to lose what you’ve invested, it is a good risk to take.
Harper also mentioned one of his favorite quotes, by Robert Kennedy. He paraphrased the quote, saying: “The future […] will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to [their] ideals.” He repeated passion, reason, and courage and contended that it was those three virtues that can fuel and invigorate dreams.
Bringing his lecture to an academic level, he talked about procrastination. He shared his own remedy for procrastination: when he was in school, he made himself a new deadline that was a few days before the real deadline, the one that the teacher assigned. In this way, all of the last-minute rush that usually comes the night before now comes a few days before the real due date. Those few days allowed Harper to reflect on the project, to read it over to himself and even ask his friends to critique it. He said that he felt this method gave him an academic edge.
Another life experience Harper shared with the audience is that of taking the LSAT. He practiced taking LSAT exams from previous years, and continued to retake the test until he got every question right. He learned to master the test itself, asserting that the exam does not test the taker’s intelligence or scholastic aptitude, but instead, challenges the test-taker’s familiarity with the test. Several months after beginning his LSAT preparation training, he was scoring extremely high marks on the practice exams. His point telling this story was that intelligence is illusory and that there is no substitute for hard work and dedication.
At the end of his lecture, Harper encouraged the audience to dream big and not to limit themselves. More information information about him can be found at www.manifestyourdestiny.org.