“We were born to succeed, not to fail.” – Henry David Thoreau
That is our life purpose. To follow our calling in our own specially designed way. And so we will succeed, because the measurement is solely on how you uniquely pursue your talents, goals and qualities. Everyone has a different picture of success, his or her own beautiful expression.
Henry David Thoreau was an author, philosopher, poet, abolitionist, and naturalist. He is the author of Walden, which is a philosophical argument for simple living and preservation of natural environment. He also had other important writings on natural history, environmentalism and civil disobedience.
“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.” – Og Mandino
I love this quote by Og Mandino. He uses wonderful analogies with nature, encouraging us to think big. But what I love most is that when we think big, being the best we can be, it is so that we may help others.
Og Mandino is a well-known author. His bestselling book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, sold more than 50 million copies. His book was translated into 25 different languages. In addition, he served as the president of Success Unlimited Magazine, and was inducted into the National Speakers Association’s Hall Of Fame.
One morning as I was leaving for work, my mom and I had a very special interchange.
We live in Menlo Park, and I was headed north to San Francisco. My parents were headed south to Carmel for a bit of rest. “Have a great day, Mom! Thank you for having me… and now we’re going in different directions!”
“No, we’re not,” she said immediately.
I knew exactly what she meant. Our minds and hearts are going in the same direction. She’s taught me to be loving and kind. To follow my heart, and to do what I love to do. And to live rightly. And that is what she does with her life. She is so consistently, joyously serving others. I’ve never seen a better model of this.
And so, as we parted that morning, we went in the same direction.
“When a suffering is shared, its weight is divided; and when a joy is shared, the delight is multiplied. We need each other.”
– Sue Monk Kidd, First Light, Chapter: Availability.
Sue Monk Kidd is a writer, novelist, and memoirist. She grew up in the Southern United States and her hometown of Sylvester, Georgia influenced her first and best-known book The Secret Life of Bees. As a worldwide acclaimed author, her fictional works are concentrated on the oppositions and successes of women. Kidd is inspired by Henry David Thoreau, Kate Chopin, Thomas Merton, Martha Burke, and Carl Jung as role models.
“Henry Ford said, ‘bring us your hands, and you can leave everything else at home.’ D.J. rejected that idea and said completely the opposite: ‘I want all of you here. I want the whole person.'”
– J. Kermit Campbell, Former CEO of Herman Miller
Campbell continues, “If I can have 5,000 or 6,000 people who are passionate about what they do…solving problems and finding solutions to our customers’ problems, I’m going to be much better off than if I leave that to 10% of that population, who tell the other people what to do. It’s like a sports team: you can have one or two guys who play well, but if you can get 50 guys on a team all playing at a very high level, you’re very tough to beat. That’s always been our philosophy.”
D. J. DePree (1891–1990) began work as a clerk for the Michigan Star Furniture Company. In 1914 he married Nellie Miller; they had seven children. In 1923, D. J. bought the Michigan Star Furniture Company with help from a loan from his father-in-law. D. J. renamed the company “Herman Miller” in his honor. D. J. was CEO until 1961; after he stepped down, his two sons took over management of the company. D. J. was also lay pastor of Ventura Baptist Church for eleven years.
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
– Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician and mathematician. He co-wrote Prinicipia Mathematica with A. N. Whitehead, attempting to ground math in logic, and he has had a profound influence on philosophy, mathematics and linguistics. He was a staunch anti-war activist; he was jailed for pacifism in World War I, campaigned against Adolf Hitler, and was against the Vietnam War. He also acknowledged that war could at times be the lesser of two evils, and supported World War II, in the interest of defeating Hitler as the larger threat. Russell received a Nobel Prize in Literature, for writing championing freedom and humanitarian ideals.