Stacey Abrams has been very much in the news lately, thanks to her recent run to become Governor of Georgia. Although she withdrew her bid to become Governor amidst controversy after votes had been tabulated, her energetic and controversial campaign had the effect of making her a presence on the national political stage. People are now seeing her as a potential future candidate for Governor again, for the U.S. Senate, and even for the presidency of the United States.

In a recent Ted Talk, Abrams talked about her past life and future ambitions. She reported that after she graduated as valedictorian of her class from Avondale High School in Georgia, she and her parents were invited to meet the Governor. When they arrived for that meeting, security officers attempted to turn them away because they “didn’t belong there.” (Abrams and her parents are African-Americans.) Her father stood up on their behalf and they got to meet with the Governor.

That experience, as well as other incidents of marginalization and racism, motivated Abrams to create a life philosophy that has clearly equipped her to overcome many obstacles that threatened to impede her success.

Stacy Abrams Asks Three Questions

In her Ted Talk, Abrams says that she has developed three questions that she uses to judge and achieve her goals . . .

  • “What do I want?”
  • “Why do I want it?”
  • “How do I get it?”

Regarding her own goals, Abrams reports that her answer to the first of those three questions is, “I want change.”

“I know what I want,” she told her interviewer. “I want change. But what change to I want to see? And I have to ask myself, ‘Am I honest about the scope of my ambition? After all, it is easy to say later on that if you didn’t get what you wanted, maybe you should have set your sights a little bit lower.’”

But Abrams is not a person who lowers her goals to make them easier to reach. “I am here to tell you to be aggressive about your ambition,” she says, “. . . do not allow setbacks to set you back.”

How Can You Keep Setbacks from Defeating You?

Abrams states that too often, people who have failed to reach a goal invest all their attention in analyzing their own mistakes, “Because as women, we are taught that if something doesn’t work out, it is probably our fault.”

She believes it is equally critical to analyze not only what we have done wrong, but what our opponents have done wrong too. “Understand your mistakes,” she says, “but also understand their mistakes. Usually, there is something that we could have done better, but we’ve rarely been told to investigate what the other side has done.”

Fine Advice for Students . . .

We believe that Stacy Abrams’s Ted Talk offers a stimulating experience that offers a lot more than standard motivational advice.

As we find other motivational resources for students, we will share them on this blog. We hope you will come back and stay tuned.

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