Someone once said, “Hope is the cruelest of the evils that escaped Pandora’s box.” But there’s a differing perspective to that thought as expressed by a 19th century self-help author. In his mid-forties Orison Marden narrowly escaped losing his life in a hotel fire. The blaze destroyed nearly fifteen years of the fruits of his labor with the loss of over 5000 pages of manuscripts he had written. A contemporary wrote: Having nothing but his nightshirt on when he escaped from the fire, he went down the street to provide himself with necessary clothing. As soon as this had been attended to, he bought a twenty-five cent notebook, and, while the ruins of the hotel were still smoking, began to rewrite from memory the manuscript of his dream book. Despite being overwhelmed and heartbroken, rather than give up, he moved forward.
That book Pushing to the Front was published in 1894 and became at the time the single greatest runaway classic in the history of personal development books. It was read by U.S. presidents and English Prime Minsters. Businessmen like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan cited his work as inspirational. Orison went on to write fifty or more books and booklets during his career. In 1897 he created Success Magazine which continues today with a monthly circulation of 500,000. Marden is considered the inspiration for dozens of modern authors of self-help and motivation. While each of his books produced dozens of famous quotes, this is just one of them.
There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow. ~~ Orison Swett Marden
I have failed at times to live by the truth that follows. I guess it’s human nature to be judgmental of others. It gives us a false sense of superiority, a boost to the ego. But I do believe in a higher power and life beyond the grave. Life is short. What goes around definitely comes around… sooner or later. Buddhists and others call it karma, I call it common sense.
The man quoted below was a German Lutheran Pastor, an author and dissident anti-Nazi. An outstanding academic theologian he earned two doctorate degrees before he was 25. Later he studied in the United States. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world became widely influential and his book, from which the quote came, is considered a classic. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging two years later while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp just 23 days before the Germans surrendered. He was only 39 years old.
By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are. ~~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
The world is a beautiful place, no doubt about it. I don’t have to go far to recognize it either with the grandeur of Mt. Rainier a short distance away. But even we here in Seattle, as lucky as we are, grow far too accustomed to it. We drive along our roads and freeways with it towering in the distance some 29,000 feet high and ignore the beauty that is there. Amazingly taking it all for granted.
I’m reminded of my son Matt. As a little boy while riding in the car with me one afternoon he noticed the mountain (actually a volcano) amid the trees along the road ahead. With excitement in his voice and pointing toward it he said, “Look daddy, there’s Mt. Reindeer!” Might have been close to Christmas but despite his not quite understanding the name he wasn’t denied the joy a child has, and often acknowledges, for the interesting things they notice all around them.
But age and the hustle and bustle — those ever-present distractions of life — will often do that to us. They make us take the sights and sounds, as well as even the people around us for granted. I’d like to think I don’t take the important things of my life for granted, but I know I’m often guilty as well.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses and to appreciate your surroundings, family, friends and life itself especially for there is beauty all-around, if only we’ll take the time to notice.
I shared this quote a couple of years ago in this forum. It came from a distant cousin of mine who reminds us to remember when you wake each morning, it’s a brand new day!
My cousin’s name is Marion. He was a big man, like many in my family are. A masculine kind of a guy larger than life. My family and friends loved him, and so did I. He was all-American and symbolized our family values. This quote appears on his headstone. My cousin was born Marion Robert Morrison and would become an American icon known as the legendary actor John Wayne.
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, and measure in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations. ~~ John Adams letter to William Cushing, June 9, 1776
I try to avoid writing about the political but from time to time it happens. Like most people I want to be liked. I want my words to bring smiles and pleasure. I want my stories bookmarked, remembered and my opinions respected. But I make no apologies about my occasional writings of the political kind. I just can’t help myself. Bad enough to hear it from outsiders but I get irked from time to time when I hear our own citizens tearing down our country. A lot has been said and written about American Exceptionalism, so time for me to write a little about it from my perspective, as well as an historical one. Continue reading
I once proudly displayed a sign in my den that read, He who dies with the most toys wins! I don’t believe that to be the case any more and Sarah does a great job of putting it all in true perspective. Love the last line!
I am the equal of the world not because of the car I drive, the size of the TV I own, the weight I can bench press, or the calculus equations I can solve. I am the equal to all I meet because of the kindness in my heart. And it all starts here — with the pizza delivery dude. ~~ Sarah Adams, Port Orchard, WA