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8 lessons we learnt from Helen Keller’s Autobiography – ‘Story of my life’


Today is Helen Keller’s 134th birthday. Sense India fondly remembers our role model. She became a legend not because she had a special kind of disability. Rather because she overcame all those limitations beyond other people’s expectations from a person with deafblindness. Following are some learning we had from her autobiography, Story of my life:

1.       Cherish experiences and create your own story of life
Helen never gave up learning and exploring new things all her life. The quest for knowledge came from within her. This was also the success mantra behind her becoming the first deafblind woman to graduate from Harvard. She was well read and an avid writer. She also featured in a silent movie based on her life. Her hobbies included riding horses and rowing boats. She was a fan of music too.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist
2.       Dedicate time to connect with Nature.
 Despite not being able to see the sky or hear the leaves rustle, Helen was deeply connected with Nature. From childhood itself she was sensitive towards her environment and was also an animal lover.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt with the heart.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist
3.       Our attitude determines our altitude in life.
Nobody’s life is free of challenges. But how we respond to them is what sets the way for our future. Helen was a positive person. She learnt lessons even from her own failures and disappointments.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist 
4.       Value those who contribute to your life.

Helen, throughout the book, has expressed how much she loved her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Anne was the sole reason behind Helen being a legend even today. It was her faith and hardwork that propelled Helen out of her confines of disability.
“What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist 
5.       Communicate to build lifelong relationships.
Despite limitations in her means of communications, Helen had strong relationships with people like Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain, Dr Edward Everett Hale and many more known people.
She ends the autobiography by saying, “Thus it is that my friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow of my deprivation”. (Sic)
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist 
6.       Support a ‘Cause’ that touches you. Take time out to volunteer and donate for social causes. 
Learn to empathize with others as everyone has their own share of struggles cut out.
Helen from a very young age was supporting blind girls at Perkins Institution by raising money for them. She also raised money for an orphan boy Tim who went deafblind. She visited military fellows who lost their eye sights in the war to encourage them.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist
7.       Practice. Practice. Practice. Do more of what you are good at. The more you do the better you will become.
Helen became a renowned writer, starting off by writing letters and each letter was better than the last. She is the author of books like - Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy, Peace at eventide, Light in My Darkness etc.
“Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight... When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist
8.       Set high standards for yourself and others. Strive to achieve them. Even if you don’t attain them, you would have given your best shot. 
Helen struggled a lot to learn verbal communication. Even though she couldn’t do it very well still she reached to a level where people could understand what she was trying to say.
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist


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