'Dream Unusually Big,' Hill Harper Tells SHU Audience

Actor and author Hill Harper told the packed auditorium at Seton Hall University on Friday night to live "big, dynamic, impactful lives."

Actor.  Dreamer.  Motivational Speaker.  Writer.  Philanthropist.  Hill Harper.

Hill Harper, best known for his role on “CSI:NY,” spoke about his new book, “Building a Foundation for Your Life,” Friday night to a packed Jubilee Hall Auditorium at Seton Hall University.  His speech was sponsored by the Student Activities Board at Seton Hall University. The first 75 students to arrive received a copy of one of Hill Harper’s books. 

Harper did something that most speakers don’t attempt: He never spoke at the podium.  Instead, Harper displayed his enthusiasm and passion for educating his audience on their potential and power to think big and bigger by walking up and down the aisles and engaging audience members with questions.

Sign Up for E-News

“You can chose to live a smaller life than you were meant to live, you can chose that,” Harper said to the audience.  “But then, I don’t think that you’d be (in) this hall, because there are so many other places that you could be on this particular Friday night.”

He opened his speech with his favorite quote from Bobby Kennedy: “The future does not belong to those who are fearful of bold projects and new ideas. But rather the future belongs to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great ideals and enterprises of American society.”

Harper first focused on the future.  “We are active architects of our own lives,” he said. He outlined for the audience the structures needed to accomplish goals. 

“This is about our lives,” Harper said.  “This is about how we’re going to achieve our goals. This is about us living big, dynamic, impactful lives.” 

For people to actually accomplish goals, Harper said, they need to start with a plan or a blueprint.  “We don’t want to confuse specific goal achievement with an overall blueprint,” he said.

He talked about the foundation, and he emphasized in particular education as an important aspect of the foundation.

“This size and thickness of your foundation is directly proportional to the size and scope of your goals and dreams,” he said.  “We need thick foundational elements to support them.”

To explain this, Harper shared a personal story.  He said that he played basketball with Barack Obama when he was at Harvard Law School.  He said that Obama, at 30 years old, realized that in order to achieve the goals that he wanted in his life, he needed to go back to school to continue his education.  “He was back at school, building his foundation,” confirmed Harper. “He made the choice that most of us would not have the courage to make.”

Harper then turned his attention to fear.  Fear, he said, “stands for false evidence appearing real.” More damaging, his insisted, are the fears that people project upon us in our circle.  “Risk is the key element that we have to have in our lives in order to achieve our goals,” he said.  To counteract the fear, Harper said, people must critically think about what is around them, and they must use their reason to filter out the misinformation. 

Harper used Kanye West’s album titled “College Dropout” to explain to the audience how to critically think about false evidence appearing real.

The next topic that Harper focused on is the framework of our goals.  He said, “The framework of our lives are the choices we make.”  He said that with individuals’ choices, they must learn time management and how to give more time to certain aspects of their lives.  “This is the time to give education that unitary focus,” he said.

The final subject that Harper talked about was that in the blueprint of people’s lives, they need to add doors.  “There are people out there in the world that you need to open your doors to,” he said.  These kinds of people are critical to individuals’ success.  “We all have people in our lives that we have to let out of our lives,” he said. “They are called toxic associates.”  These toxic associates project fear on others, according to Harper.

Harper encouraged audience members to believe that any goal that they can imagine for themselves, can be doubled. Tripled.  He encouraged them to dream so big that when they tell people their dreams, people laugh at them.

“Dream unreasonably big,” he said.  “Passion and energy are required to dream unreasonably big.”  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Maplewood Police Blotter - Stolen Vehicle in Maplewood Recovered by South Orange Police

July 18, 2018

July 11 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime during the early morning hours, a vehicle was stolen from a residence on the 400 block of Richmond Ave. The vehicle was recovered by the South Orange Police Department the same morning.

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Sat, July 21, 7:30 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, SHORT HILLS

Solid Gold with Bobby Valli at Par 440

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

River Barge Park & Marina, Carlstadt

Meadowlands Discovery Sunset Eco-Cruise

Green Travel

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018


We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

Those Boarded-Up Homes in the West Ward? Newark Has a Plan for Them.

July 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - The city is using the power of eminent domain to reduce the number of condemned homes and vacant lots scattered throughout the West Ward.

The redevelopment plan for the West Ward was introduced in 2016 and encompasses properties from the border of Irvington to South 13th Street between South Orange Avenue and 16th Avenue. One of the main goals of the plan is to support new ...

Lawmakers Denounce SCOTUS Nomination at Essex County Courthouse

NEWARK, NJ - State Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin said it was important to support local women’s health organizations at a state level should President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee be approved.

The assemblywoman joined state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, congressional leaders and women's rights groups yesterday at the steps of the Essex County Courthouse ...

Rutgers Hikes Tuition, Student Fees for 2018-2019 Academic Year

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Board of Governors today approved a 2.3 percent hike in tuition and fees, as well as increases for dorm rooms and meals, for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The increase now brings the annual cost for undergraduate students to $14,975, which is $337 more than this past school year.

Student housing will increase 1.9 percent, and ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

July 16, 2018

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.