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Cleo Abram

Student , Columbia University - Columbia College


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We can learn by exchanging and discussing our own lists of "10 Things I Know to be True."

After listening to Sarah Kay's beautiful speech and poetry, I tried to write my own list of "10 Things I know to be True." I learned one thing immediately: I don't know much. I learned a second thing more slowly: that's okay! I tried to distill my limited understanding of the world into this list, without being overly philosophical nor literal.

One thing I know to be true, but that is not on my list, was that Sarah Kay was right when she said that if you share your list with a group of people you will find that someone has one thing very similar, someone else has something totally contrary, another person has something you've never heard of, and still another has something that makes you think further about something you thought you knew.

So let's share ours, and find out! What do your lists have on them?

Here's mine:
1. Fiction can, at times, feel more real than fact.
2. One person, with a good idea, can change our world.
3. There are things about our universe that we will never understand.
4. #3 is not an excuse to stop trying.
5. Everyone has a story worth hearing.
6. There is always another side to the story they tell.
7. Questions can sometimes teach more than their answers.
8. Children can sometimes teach more than their parents.
9. Everyone should travel.
10. No one's truth is universal.


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  • Nov 2 2011: 1. The more I'm convinced that I'm right and someone else is wrong, the harder I should look at the problem.
    2. Money is a crummy measure of anything.
    3. People don't fundamentally change, but my understanding of them does.
    4. "Right" is not the same as "better."
    5. Stuff you made is more satisfying to use than stuff you bought.
    6. When people say "no," it's usually out of fear.
    7. You can have anything you want, as long as you're willing to work hard enough and sacrifice enough for it.
    8. Sacrificing your values, your morals and your family for something like money makes me want it a lot less.
    9. My parents did the best they could with the resources they had, and they always loved me.
    10. The worst-case scenario almost never happens.
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      Nov 3 2011: Hi Lise, I liked a lot 5 & 8. thanks.
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      Nov 3 2011: #1: yes!
      #3: yes!
      #4: yes!
      #6: i'm not so sure...
      #7: I don't agree: it doesn't always depend only on us what we want
      #10: it happens!
      • Nov 3 2011: Giusi,
        Thanks for your reply!
        And while I know that worst-case scenarios do happen sometimes, they usually don't. My thought is that too many people don't do things because they're afraid - they come up with the worst possible outcome and use it as an excuse not to act. Like "If I ask this pretty girl out on a date, she may become so insulted that she stabs me in the eye with a pencil and I'm blinded and lose my job and die of starvation." Sure, that's in the realm of physical possibility, but it's so unlikely that it's silly not to ask her!
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          Nov 4 2011: Hi Lise. Yes, you are right that there are people who do not act because they are not so 'brave' to face reality/situations because they consider the possible scenarios and the only ones they see is the worst one...(I met some people thinking like that) but it is also true that some other times our instinct tells us the worst scenario and it comes true!
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          Nov 4 2011: Hey Lise,
          Nice thoughts,Bt i too Agree With GIUSI somewhat ,You are although right cause of the selection of words.
          Point6:When people say "no," it's usually out of fear. (usually very rihtly used .. :))
          Might be true for yes.When people say "YES," it's usually out of fear.
          90% of the times I don't think it would be fear for which I say "NO". I normally say "YES" because of fear of hurting someone and "NO" only if I am sure I cannot afford it or otherwise.I feel PPL find it difficult to say "NO" mostly of the fear of hurting someone.Somewhat opposite to what you have said.But yes you are right in your own way.

          Point 10 : I actualy do belive in worst case scenarios and preparing for it. But yes after reading your reply I kind of get it what you wanted to tell.It was more of like "People are reluctant or back out to do something because of the fear of the worse" which generally happens.

          5th and 8th are really good points.
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      Nov 4 2011: dear Lisa,

      I agree on 1,5,8,9
      10 does occur, I experienced myself at home.
      6: can a 'no' not be out of experience or wisdom? that's my experience

      sharing life is multiplying life...

      • Nov 4 2011: Thanks!

        I find it interesting that a several people disagree with both 6 & 10, but I'm realizing that right now, they are both related to my own experience. I have a daughter and I'm going through a tough custody argument with my ex-husband. I've been in negotiation situations like this before, and when two people are negotiating over something as emotionally-charged as a child, people let fear rule their thinking processes. If I say to my ex "can you give in on this point," he automatically says "no" because he's afraid that conceding a point is the same as giving up rights to his daughter.

        The same principle works, though, with any emotionally-charged subject. Look at the Occupy Wall Street movement. The bankers who have been manipulating the system since banking deregulation went into effect are automatically shouting "no" every time someone in power so much as whispers that perhaps more banking regulations would be a good thing.
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          Nov 4 2011: I agree on your point of argument: emotional - charged 'no' is very often (always?) out of fear.
          The 'no' I meant is without emotional charging, people saying 'no' in pure calmness, often act out of wisdom and don't fear to loose anything with that 'no'. The 'no' is just an expression of their inner wisdom.
          Wish you wisdom and the right words in your ex-negotiation

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