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The stalwarts of true progress

Honoring those who have created empowering meanings from unconscionable events

Our human brains are always doing three things — the brain is a DISTORTION, DELETION, and GENERALIZATION device. I remind people of this fact all the time because it’s such an important principle to keep in mind when we’re talking about ANYTHING.

It’s especially important to remember this when we talk about American history, which is often reduced to a handful of events. When I first studied United States history, I was embarrassed to learn that ours was a country that created a Declaration of Independence to ensure freedom for all, yet had withheld this liberty from a large sector of its citizens. Through omission and blatant exclusion, African Americans were regarded as less-than and denied the same rights as others because of their skin color.

I’ve never experienced the sting of racism, and I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be black in America.

My life’s work has been devoted to understanding the forces that make people do what they do. Why do some individuals, when faced with unfairness, extreme social injustice and even abuse, rise above oppressive conditions and become souls of inspiration to all those who have the privilege to be impacted by courage in action? What impels certain people to pull empowering meanings from unconscionable events in order to influence and inspire the collective towards growth and true progress?

This country has been shaped by extraordinary historical heroes like Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and also by folks like my dear friends Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. In these and so many other black Americans, I recognize the conviction to create a destiny of fulfillment for themselves and their children despite the pain of the past.

Join me in honoring the courage and invaluable contributions as we celebrate Black History Month and call attention to all those driven forward by a force within them to live for something larger than themselves. Those who risked everything they had to create a better life not only for themselves, but for their communities, our country and the future.

May we learn from our past and connect to oneness with each other as the human race.

Photo credit: Gordon Parks / Library of Congress

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, philanthropist and the nation’s #1 Life and Business Strategist. Author of five internationally bestselling books, including the recent New York Times #1 best-seller UNSHAKEABLE, Mr. Robbins has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time, and more than 4 million people have attended his live seminars.

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