There was a moment at the Academy Awards, and it's not the one you're thinking of.
It was the moment when Viola Davis gave the acceptance speech that, host, Jimmy Kimmel said would win her an Emmy award for television excellence.
It could probably win a teaching award as well.
Upon accepting her award for Best Supporting Actress in the movie "Fences" Viola Davis took the stage and delivered one of the all time great acceptance speeches, and here we examine all the great lessons from it.
5 Life Lessons From Viola Davis
1. The Graveyard
"There's one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered... and that's the graveyard."
Maybe you were like most other people watching who expected her to say, "... it's here, in show business." But she immediately captured everyone's attention with this sentiment. Like a diary filled with inventions that never saw the light of day, we can have grand designs on our potential, but taking action on it will add more value to those around us and meaning to our lives. There was a lesson that really resonated with this statement:
The Lesson: Potential will die with you in the grave, but your actions can live on through others.
2. Exhume Those Bodies, Exhume Those Stories
"I get asked all the time, 'what kind of stories do you want to tell?' Exhume those bodies... exhume those stories..."
Viola shared that she wanted to tell the stories of those people who never had a chance to reach their goals, never had a chance to have their dreams come to fruition. Here is the big key takeaway from this sentiment:
The Lesson: Your story is still being written. Will it be a story of a dream that never came to fruition, or an inspiring tale of how you defeated the odds, pushed past your fear, and became victorious?
3. O Captain, My Captain
"Thank you for putting two entities in the driver's seat..."
Often times, we can finish a job, a dance, a business endeavor, and have an urge to take a deep breath, turn the page, and move on forever. "Oh Captain, my captain" shines such a positive light towards her co-star and director.
Deploying gratitude makes you someone that anyone would love to be around - personally and professionally.
4. To My Parents
"... who were, and are, the center of my universe. Who taught me how to fail, how to love... how to hold an award."
In speaking of her parents, Viola allowed the world watching to peer into her own world, and catch a glimpse of how pivotal her parents have been in her life. In doing so, she deferred the praise, making herself vulnerable by sharing her story, which only made her speech more meaningful.
The Lesson: It's just as easy to accept, and horde, the praise and recognition as it is to defer it and shine the light on the people that helped make it possible.
5. My Foundation
"... I'm so glad that you are the foundation to my life."
In speaking of her husband and daughter, Viola referred to them as the foundation to her life. They act as her anchor point, the lighthouse, and the constant support as her career continues to build upwards.
The Lesson: Recognizing its value will reinforce your foundation. Building up won't last until you recognize and appreciate the support.
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