“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
It doesn’t matter what your job may be. Whatever it is, take pride in it and do the best that you possibly can. It’s your approach to work (not the work itself) that matters most. All work, no matter how society may view it, is something that you should take pride in doing, and always put forth your best effort.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
It’s important to do what you can with the tools and resources that you have at your disposal. Always try to do what you can, but even when you’re in a situation where you have limited resources, still do something. Great strides are wonderful, but baby steps will move you forward as well.
“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
Your dreams and goals are yours, not others. Make them, and put in place the steps necessary to achieve them. Don’t let others dissuade you from your pursuit if that’s what you want. There will always be plenty of naysayers, but there’s no reason for you to listen to them if you have a plan.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
This applies to all areas of life, including how you choose to make money. There are plenty of ways to make a lot of money quickly if you’re willing to financially hurt others and be selfish. You have to make that choice.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Your true self comes out when times are difficult, not when you have all that you need or when everything is going your way. We all face challenges, but it’s how we treat others and how we overcome those challenges that speak volumes about who we really are at our roots.
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
Money and “things” are not what we should be striving for. They are there as a tool for us to better ourselves. Having a lot of material wealth, while it’s seen by many in society as what brings happiness, it is nothing more than a mirage. It’s essential to understand that it’s your connection with others, and not things, that brings happiness.
“The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions. The door that slams shut, the plan that got sidetracked, the marriage that failed. Or that lovely poem that didn’t get written because someone knocked on the door.”
An important part of success in life is staying focused on what’s important, and not letting all the distraction that can take your attention away from that focus. There will always be unexpected hurdles and difficulties to overcome, but that doesn’t mean that you should let your attention waver from the important goals you are seeking to achieve.
“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”
Society has a terrible habit of labeling “success” as material, when true success is what you’ve done to make things better. Again, money is a tool, not the end to itself. Your car doesn’t say who you are. The way that you act and carry yourself does.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
In our pursuit to reach our goals, it’s essential to remember that the most important question to ask is not “How much money do you make?” but “How have you been able to make the lives of others better?” When you are able to learn this, then you come to realize that money is nothing more than a tool to help you achieve your true goals.
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