Ira Michael Heyman Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Values, Persuasion, and Leadership in the Public Sector: Conversation with Ira Michael Heyman, former Chancellor of UC Berkeley and former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; 8/1/00 by Harry Kreisler.
Photo by Jane Scherr

Page 6 of 6

Lessons Learned

Chancellor Heyman, one final question. Young people, students, listen to this tape. What lessons might they learn from this journey of Mike Heyman from New York to California and beyond?

One of them is to be as enthusiastic as possible about what you're undertaking to do when you're doing it. And don't worry too much about the future. At least in my case, it took care of itself without my having to put a lot of energy into it. That advice is counterintuitive. And it's counter a lot of advice, but I think about this especially for those who are privileged to be able to attend a number of different colleges. And they wonder, "Which one I should go to?" The fact is, it doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference. If it's a good institution that's going to push you, you can go here or there or some place else. So, don't worry about those finenesses of choice because serendipitous things occur. Unexpected things occur. And actually you don't know the turning points of your life until you look backwards. You don't know them at the time that they're occurring. So what enthuses you at the time, do.

The second one is really being enthusiastic about what you do because it's not going to be handed to you on a plate unless you've shown passion with regard to your undertaking and work pretty hard. I mean, hard work is still pretty necessary in order to comprehend what you're doing and to comprehend how to do that the best way that you can. So I would say enthusiasm without fear of the future and a lot of hard work at the time you're doing it, and life will pretty much take care of itself.

Chancellor Heyman, thank you. And thank you very much for joining us for this conversation.

It's been a real pleasure.

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