The trouble with people is not their ability to reach their goals, but rather to establish them. People can achieve that which they want to accomplish if they’ll decide on something and stay with it.
I was again reminded of this when I received an interesting story from a listener. When President Kennedy took office, he appointed Dean Rusk as his Secretary of State. However, most don’t know that when Dean Rusk was only twelve years old, he proved this favorite early point of mine. He told his own fortune.
At age twelve, he drafted a forecast document entitled, “What I Plan To Do With the Next Twelve Years of My Life.”
The schedule called for finishing high school, working for two years to earn money to go to college, then attending North Carolina’s Davidson College where his father had studied. He then planned on winning a Rhodes Scholarship and studying at Oxford.
He wrote it all out, step by step. Then, without missing a single item on the list, he followed his plan. As a Rhodes Scholar at St. John’s College, Oxford, Rusk studied politics, philosophy, and economics. He also played tennis and lacrosse. On top of all this, he won Oxford’s Cecil Peace Prize with a paper on “Relations Between the British Commonwealth and the League of Nations.” During vacations, he got in further studies at German Universities.
Do you suppose the youngsters of today know that they can map out their lives in advance like this?
That they can tell their fortunes? In fact, how many adults know this? All they need is a plan and the ability to stick with it. In my opinion, the trouble comes from not knowing what we want. People are sort of like the kids in a department store toy section. The selection is too vast, and the products so varied and bright. They run around in circles picking up multiple toys, running from one to another.
Since people can do many things, deciding on the main one is challenging.
In Huxley’s “Brave New World,” they manufacture people in test tubes. They predestined them for specific jobs. They did this so the people would be perfectly contented all the days of their lives.
In the real world, such is not the case. Deciding on a course in life is complicated. However, I think if more people knew how important it truly is, they’d go through the trouble. Also, if more people know they can call their shots in life, they’ll take the time.
Sometimes we can find what we want by going back in our minds to our childhood. Think about what you wanted then. Are you still on the track, or are you sidetracked somewhere along the way?
All too often, we take what looks like the easiest and most expedient route for the time.
Then find our dreams fading with the years as we compromise with a lifetime. It’s rarely too late to do the things we want to do, achieve the things we want to have. It is not too late to live the kind of life we want to live.
As an experiment, if you don’t already know, why don’t you sit down and write a description of the person you would most like to be? It might give you a clue to the mystery.