Thursday, June 11, 2009

What do you believe?

Twitter wants you to answer the question: What are you doing? LinkedIn wants to know: What are you working on now? A more thought-provoking and heartfelt query is the one posed by This I Believe, Inc., which asks people to distill the guiding principles by which they live into a brief essay.

What began in the 1950s as a radio series hosted by Edward R. Murrow has become an international project that engages people in "writing, sharing, and discussing the core values that guide their daily lives."

I've listened to these essays for years on NPR, and now that the series has concluded, I was glad to find its new home on the This I Believe Web site. You can browse and read essays by theme. You can listen to the essays. And you can contribute your own insights.

Among my favorites is Bela Fleck, "Doing Things My Own Way," originally broadcast Sept. 26, 2006. I'm a big fan of his music, and I was eager to hear him talk about how he approaches life. It was touching to hear him attribute much of his "individualist, bone-headed nature" to his grandfather, whom he calls Opa.

You can view the "Top 25 Most Viewed Essays This Week," which recently included words of wisdom from Penn Jillette, Helen Keller, Muhammad Ali, Tony Hawk, John Updike, Colin Powell, Amy Tan, and Elie Wiesel. How's that for a lineup?

You can even subscribe to This I Believe podcasts.


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