Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Reputation crisis? It's never too late...

Meet Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

In 1888, Alfred woke up one morning to read his own obituary which had been mistakenly published by a French newspaper. The article began, “Le marchand de la mort est mort” (“The merchant of death is dead”).

The obituary went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Imagine being alive to read your own obituary – and then realizing you had left such a terrible legacy.

What makes this story amazing, though, is what happened next.

As it turns out, Alfred used that defining moment in his life to make a monumental decision.

Shortly after reading his “obituary”, he changed his will to establish a peace prize to be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

To this day -– more than a century later -- the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year on the anniversary of Nobel’s (actual) death: December 10th. Among the awards past winners have been Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Elie Wiesel.

The lasting legacy we remember Alfred Nobel for today? Peace.

What reputation have you earned over the years? Is it one you want to shake?

If so, consider the Nobel Peace Prize and remember: it’s never too late for a new beginning…

2 comments:

Sara Hamil said...

Great point, Kerry! This is a good story to keep in mind, and not just where reputations are concerned. This story of self-reinvention is inspirational for all kinds of fresh starts :)

Lizanne Donnelly said...

Great story, which I will not forget.