All of which leads to the third crucial lesson from the Peres book of life — the pragmatic wisdom of being an incurable optimist. President Peres declared at his 90th birthday celebration, “I look at where we started and where we are today. And I think to myself: to be an optimist is so logical. It is so practical.” Not only does a spirit of optimism, enable one to dream big dreams and eventually achieve them, it also changes the quality of the life one leads. As President Peres has said, “Optimists and pessimists die the same way. They just live differently. I prefer to live as an optimist.”
Three simple lessons from a life lived in full. Dare to defy the odds, believe in the possibility of reconciliation, and live your life with an irrepressible spirit of optimism and hope. These are lessons that can not only change a life; they can change the world.
Katrina Lantos Swett is the president and CEO of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.