This is the last of the core principles of the Brave New Life. It’s also the most important.
The Brave New Life is about awareness – awareness of your self, awareness of your environment, and awareness of your thoughts. It’s about living a deliberate life, making deliberate decisions, and having deliberate thoughts. I could go on and on about it, but I decided to let someone else do the talking.
David Foster Wallace was a philosopher, a novelist, and a genius. Below, I’ve created a video (actually it’s 2 parts) featuring a commencement speech given by Wallace in 2005, 3 years before his death. In just 23 minutes, Wallace was able to define and describe a concept that took me 33 years to figure out for myself.
This isn’t your standard commencement speech filled with excitement and mindless optimism. That’s not to say it’s not an optimistic message, because it is… but it’s also a humbling, sobering and realistic message about adult life. In his words, it’s “about LIFE before death” filled with awareness and consciousness. It’s about deliberately deciding not only what you spend your time thinking about, but also how you think about it. No amount of knowledge can replace your ability to actually think.
I didn’t attend my own commencement, I was in too much of a hurry to start my life (or so I thought). But had I been in attendance for this speech, I know I would not have appreciated it. I probably would have left disappointed, because I was too young and too foolish to hear the capital-T truth that David Foster Wallace shares in his speech.
This is the most important of the core principles because it is the rich soil that allows the other principles to grow. I’ve listened to this speech a dozen times over the past few months, and each time I do, I learn some new insight from Wallace that I hadn’t previously caught – and hadn’t considered on my own. The video is 23 minutes long, I hope you’ll watch the entire video and enjoy it as much as I did.