In a recent interview with Forbes’ Rahim Kanani, Alicia Keys demonstrated once again that she’s a thoughtful, well-spoken human and advocate as well as a celebrated artistic maven. No matter the number of areas – whether personal, political, ethical, or musical – in which Keys succeeds, she remains determinedly focused on stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Keys’ foundation Keep a Child Alive has been doing just that since its 2003 founding. As Keep a Child Alive nears its tenth birthday, its co-founder isn’t afraid to name discipline as that which has helped her succeed. “It can be tempting to join the “hot’ cause,” Keys explains, “but those who have been most effective in creating change stay focused […] It takes discipline, and sometimes it can feel a bit lonely, but it’s precisely during those times when other issues are getting attention that your voice is most needed.”
We may enjoy the flavor of the month when it comes to entertainment, but affecting real change takes something more old-fashioned. It’s heartening to remember, too, that focus is something we can all develop, no matter what our age or status. Keys says she believes that “you don’t just have to be a celebrity or wealthy to be affected by an issue and want to do something about it! We all hold unlimited power and we should use it!”
If you want to discover your own activist focus, it might only take creating a new, conscious point of view. Motherhood is one of Keys’ inspirations as she gets “to witness the awe of the world through the eyes of [her] son. He is currently enamored with the moon, looking for it day and night. And when he finds it, you’ve never seen such pure joy. As adults, we sometimes need to be reminded to get excited about the moon.”
The moon is just as present during the days we can’t see it as in the nights when it’s full. So where is your moon? What might you focus on for the next ten years, keeping in mind Keys’ encouragement to “be persistent, listen often and celebrate all levels of progress”?
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