By Henrylito D. Tacio
Who has never heard of the name Paul Getty, the richest man in the world during his time? In his book, How to be Rich, he recalled of an incident where he ran out of cigarettes in his hotel room. It seemed he could not live without it; he went out from his hotel and ran out into the rain to search for a tobacco shop in the middle of the night.
He returned to his room with his favorite pack in his hand. He lighted one stick and then took a puff. After few seconds, he looked at the cigarette and suddenly realized, “Why, I have become your slave, you merciless master!” After saying those words, he threw the pack of cigarette out of his window. Since then, he never touched the stuff again.
It was Getty’s desire not to smoke again that he was able to quit the habit. “It was desire that brought progress to the world,” observed Claude Bristol. “Without it, we would still be living in a primitive age. Everything we have in our modern world is the result of desire. Indeed, desire is the motivating force of life itself. It’s the generating power of all human action and without it no one can get very far.”
I have encountered a lot of poor people who are contented of what they have or haven’t. Since they are poor, they believe they couldn’t go anywhere. “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are,” British playwright George Bernard Shaw said. “I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
And you must have that burning desire to find what you really want in life. “Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek,” points out Mario Andretti.
Asked by a fellow pianist if he could be ready to play a recital on short notice, the famous Jan Paderewski replied, “I am always ready. I have practiced eight hours daily for 40 hours.”
“How I wish I had been born with such determination,” the other said. To which Paderewski said, “We are all born with it. I just used mine.”
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all,” commented Dale Carnegie. Lord Byron had a club foot. Charles Steinmetz and Alexander Pope were hunchbacks. Edgar Allan Poe was a mental case. Charles Darwin was invalid. Julius Caesar was epileptic. Peter Stuyvesant had a wooden leg.
“Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so,” Charles De Gaulle reminded.
Being a handicap is no obstacle to greatness. Demosthenes stuttered. So, he filled his mouth with pebbles and walked the seashore shouting at the waves until in spite of his handicap, he became Greece’s most famous orator.
Clarence Chamberlain, the aviator who flew the Atlantic, could never pass the standard test for depth perception, but they closed an eye and gave him a license anyway, and he became one of the safest of fliers the world has ever known.
Glenn Cunningham, who hung up records for the mile in running, had both legs so badly burned that he was expected never to be able to walk. His handicap – and sheer determination – proved a blessing.
Napoleon Bonaparte failed as an essay writer, William Shakespeare as a wool merchant, Abraham Lincoln as a storekeeper, and Sean Connery as coffin polisher – but none of them gave up. They moved into other fields, tried other things for which they were better fitted, with the results we all know.
“There is in this world no such force as the force of a man determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained,” Web Dubois said.
In other words, it is not what destiny does with us, but what we do with destiny that determines what we shall become. When a man is determined, what can stop him?
Cripple him and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Put him in a prison cell and you have a John Bunyan. Load him with bitter racial prejudice and you have Martin Luther King. Make her blind and deaf and you have a Helen Keller.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved,” said William Jennings Bryan.
There is no such thing as an overnight success. There is hardly a bar of his music which Ludwig van Beethoven did not rewrite at least a dozen times. William Cullen Bryant rewrote Thanatopsis a hundred times. Edward Gibbon rewrote his autobiography nine times. Plato wrote the first sentence of his Republic nine times. Virgil spent 12 years writing his Aeneid.
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit,” George Allen once said. “Most men succeed because they are determined to.”
The next time you can, observe some ants at work. Place some obstacles in their path. They’ll go around them, over them, under them – but never go back.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence,” said Calvin Coolidge. “Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
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