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Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York, delivered a message of hope and optimism to a campus crowd as the MUSE Project's keynote speaker.

by Andrew Thompson Landerghini

“What is it that I want to do?”

It’s a question we have all asked ourselves, especially during college on the brink of being thrust into the “real world” and the answer to that existential question can determine the trajectory of an entire lifetime. It’s the question that Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York, asked himself on a walk the day he was fired as a bond trader in Chicago. The decision he made changed the course of his life, and, in turn, provided a human glimpse into the lives of thousands across the globe. So, what did Stanton decide during that stroll down the streets of Chicago? “I am going to try to make just enough money to where I can control my time.”

In the time since that decision, Stanton has amassed more than 20 million followers on social media, written two New York Times best-selling books, interviewed President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, and was named one of 30 under 30 who are changing the world by TIME magazine.

“We look at time as a way to accumulate other resources, like money, grades, lines on a resume. But time itself is a resource,” Stanton stressed to the capacity Kingsbury Hall crowd. “Time is the most valuable resource we have.”

The appearance was made possible by the University of Utah’s MUSE Project, which is short for “My U Signature Experience.” And indeed, Stanton’s “Through the Lens of Optimism” address was an experience, a memorable one at that, as documented by those in attendance.


Holy moly am I excited for this. #HONY

A post shared by Hope Believe? (@hopie324) on

“following your dreams is not NOT working. following your dreams is the hardest job there is.” . documenting this exciting life moment b/c I’m not the fan girl type, but I have tremendous amounts of admiration & respect for Brandon/ @humansofny & have for years, & YES!, he’s as amazing in-person as his work makes him out to be & is also a really wonderful speaker (tripe threat, whatttttt?). brandon’s proven how truly powerful acknowledging & listening to strangers can be & just how useful social media can be for harnessing the essential human need for connection through the ancient tool of storytelling by using digital platforms. it isn’t rocket science — we can all do a helluvah lot more good by simply putting down our phones, interacting with the world around us, & asking the hard questions..& in turn, we’ll AT LEAST all receive a way more meaningful life by doing so. looking forward to seeing more of his new VIDEO (!!!) project once it debuts. (ahhhhh!!!) thanks for taking me to meet him last night & to hear him speak again today @elizay92 & for bringing this incredible humanitarian & journalist to us @universityofutah !

A post shared by l i a (@liamchiarotti) on

• I still haven’t gotten over last night. Some dreams do come true! A big thank you to @universityofutah MUSE Project and @humansofny for making it happen. • { #humansofnewyork #inpiration #thankyou #universityofutah #themuseproject #admiration }

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