Saturday, March 15, 2008

“Whatever you do in life, make any sacrifice necessary to keep in an ambition-arousing atmosphere, and environment that will stimulate you to self-development. Keep close to people who understand you, who believe in you, who will help you to discover yourself and encourage you to make the most of yourself. This may make all the difference to you between a grand success and a mediocre existence. Stick to those who are trying to do something and to be somebody in the world, -- people of high aims, lofty ambition. Keep close to those who are dead-in-earnest. Ambition is contagious. You will catch the spirit that dominates in your environment. The success of those about you who are trying to climb upward will encourage and stimulate you to struggle harder if you have not done quite so well yourself.
There is a great power in a battery of individuals who are struggling for the achievement of high aims, a great magnetic force which will help you to attract the object of your ambition. It is very stimulating to be with people whose aspirations run parallel with your own. If you lack energy, if you are naturally lazy, indolent, or inclined to take it easy, you will be urged forward by the constant prodding of the more ambitious.” Orison Swett Marden

I really like this piece; my closest friends while in school were very ambitious. Now, their ambitions were not always noble, as often school boys aren’t; but they had quick, creative minds, a quick wit and humor, and personalities that were eccentric, to understate it. I was inspired by them far more than I ever inspired them. But inspired I was. They have left their influence on me to this day.

Over the years I have attended many churches, and in all of them there was always an ambitious group, always the minority, but they were always seeking truth, and practical ways to serve the Lord. Whatever the arena, be it in enriching your marriage, teaching your children, serving the Lord or in the workplace, I think his advice is right on target.
Emerson stated the sentiment this way –

“What I most need is somebody to make me do what I can. To do what I can, that is my problem; not what a Napoleon or a Lincoln could do, but what I can do.
It makes all the difference in the world to me whether I bring out the best thing in me or the worst, -- whether I utilize ten, fifteen, twenty five, or ninety per cent of my ability.”
Photo by Max Levine

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