A few weeks ago, one of my professors suddenly passed away. It has taken awhile for me to feel comfortable writing about it, and even though this situation is difficult for me to think about, I know that his passing has an important message. My professor taught positive psychology, he was very well-known and I’m sure many of you know who I am speaking of, and his catch-phrase was “other people matter.” This may sound obvious or cliché, but what struck me was the way that he truly embodied these words. It is one thing to say words to your students that you think are important and a completely different thing to live what you are saying. At his memorial, 1500 people gathered to speak about his life and the impact that he made. It amazed me that everyone who spoke had a different story about the special person that he was in their life. Somehow, amidst being a renowned professor, leading researcher, and mentor, he found time in his life to affect so many people. That is what I have taken away from his death. You never know how long that you have on this earth, and your time might be up tomorrow, so make sure that you are happy each day with the life you lead. If you aren’t happy – change it. Other people matter. Period.
Thank you Professor Peterson for teaching me that. I hope you rest in peace.