We had the grand pleasure of having an esteemed guest on Love University, Nelson Diaz, former Judge, Presidential Appointee, and acclaimed author (Not from Here, Not from There). Nelson, known as the “Compassionate Judge,” enlightened us with his personal story of elevation and transformation growing up poor, discriminated against, and illiterate, and ultimately becoming an influential advocate for court and legislative reform on behalf of disadvantaged people everywhere.
Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom we learned from Judge Diaz:
*Reject “Rejection”: Judge Diaz explains how he was initially rejected from college and law school, but persisted to become the first Puerto Rican person to take the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. In addition, he faced many obstacles along the way (his house was torn down due to discrimination; he was profiled by police; he was deemed to “too ethnic” to be in politics), but he never gave up. He worked for presidential administrations and became a high-powered judge because he kept repeating to himself: “I am good enough and smart enough—they have to take me.”
*If You Take Two Steps Forward and One Step Backward, You Are Still Making Progress: Judge Diaz says that discipline is the way to overcome a negative mindset, including shame. He indicates how criminals in jail may have bright minds, but they are living in shame because they get down on themselves and often don’t have the right opportunities (resulting in frustration and anger). His advice: No matter what mistakes you have made in the past, realize that you are a person of worth—you are not junk. Find a mentor who can help take you to the next level, and believe in a higher power (God)—doing so will help you realize that nothing is impossible.
*Always Push the Envelope: Don’t accept limits within yourself: If you find your passion, and you feel, deep down, that you are doing the right thing, keep pushing forward. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do, and don’t tell yourself what you’re not capable of doing. You don’t know what you can achieve unless you exert maximum effort and focus toward your highest goals.
Help Your Neighbor and Help Yourself: Helping our communities—helping others find jobs; counseling children, minorities, and the disadvantaged; contributing to end poverty and loneliness—is one of the best ways to improve our own mindset and success. As we always say in Love University—extend loving energy without expectation on a daily basis—you will not only help others build a bridge of positivity and development, but you will also help yourself reach your highest potential in life.
Judge Diaz concludes by telling us that he was deemed a failure at 15, but he didn’t let that stigma stop him from achieving great success in the political and humanitarian fields. As long as you are still here on earth, you can make a positive difference in the world—participate in your community with integrity, be an activist for love and change, and keep yourself relevant in our changing world. If you do that, you will be able to overcome any obstacles you face and claim your personal invincibility to help yourself and others.