What Do You Stand For? | The BridgeMaker

What Do You Stand For?

By on Nov 11, 2010

A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. – Malcolm X

Inspiration has a way of finding us when we least expect it.

I had the opportunity to visit a unique inner city high school recently. The school, part of the Cristo Rey network, teaches more than math and science – it teaches what hope looks like to about 300 students who want just one chance to be successful.

My tour guide, a senior who spoke with a mature confidence, knew where he was in life. More important, he knew where he was going. His quiet humility was engaging and his foundation appeared strong.

As we walked the school hallways, I had the sense his strong foundation wasn’t built entirely on his academic knowledge. He also seemed to have a clear understanding of the virtues he stood for in life. The young man spoke of passion, loyalty and gratitude. His presence radiated responsibility, creativity and self-discipline. Simply put, the young man’s character seemed as grounded as his resolve to improve his life – and he was willing to share these beliefs with me.

It was my pleasure to receive them.

The visit had a profound impact on me. While I often share ideas for serving others, rarely do I share my personal beliefs. It’s not that I hide my beliefs; it’s just sometimes I forget to tell the world what’s important to me.

Thanks to my self-assured tour guide, and my visit to a beautiful school brimming with hope, I received some unexpected inspiration to declare what I stand for, too.


Kindness is like snow; it makes everything it covers more beautiful.


Understanding why people feel a certain way is as helpful as understanding how they feel.


I show others the respect they deserve – it’s all automatic after that.

Do the right thing

Doing the right thing may not always feel as good, but it will after the temptation passes.

Be accountable

I own my life – no one else.

Love well

I try to love myself first and then give more love than I take.


Forgiveness is a gift I give to myself so I can be free from the past.

Never give up

No matter how loud the enemy of my soul shouts, “You can’t do it,” I will keep the faith.


True happiness is being content with exactly what I have.

Live in the middle

Somewhere between the high highs and the low lows is a perfectly comfortable middle.

Leave it better

I hope when my time is over, I will leave the world a little better because I was here.

What do you stand for?

What are your most fundamental beliefs – your beliefs about life, love and about being you? Please share in Comments below. Reading this by email? Please visit the blog to share – just click here.

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The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • Jk, I have so respect for you for not giving in to the influences around you and for claiming your life. I think you are doing more than just serving, you are leading by wonderful example.

  • Jk

    Hi Alex – I think one of my most fundamental beliefs is that serving others is the way to obtain life’s riches. Serving is a very broad word…and I didn’t narrow it down because I want to serve others in a broad fashion; wherever I can step up and help – that’s where I want to serve. I was once an inner city high school kid, myself…my role models were drug dealers and pimps. I had a feeling that that direction wouldn’t allow me to do what I always wanted to do – help others. While professionally I haven’t made it there yet – my set goals tell me that I will. I loved this one, Alex!

  • Thanks for adding gratitude Joe. Showing gratitude changes how we see the world and how others see us.

  • Alex,

    A wonderful post with some great principles to live by. I would have to say that living by kindness, empathy, respect, and forgiveness will provide anyone more joy, harmony, and peace in life. I would add gratitude, which could be a byproduct of some of the others mentioned. I think gratitude has an overwhelming impact on one’s attitude and outlook. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post!

  • Passion does have incredible power Gregory. And when we surrender to it, all things are possible.