Nothing in the world will take away persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than an unsuccessful man 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. – Calvin Coolidge
For the first time today I walked into my friend’s office, who happens to be a lawyer, and he had this quote in large print hanging up behind his desk. I’d never seen it before, but it intrigued me and I thought it was a good one to keep around for inspiration. “Nothing is more common than an unsuccessful man with talent.” How many people do we know who have been blessed with so much talent, so much creativity, such intelligence… and they’re doing nothing with it? Or they’re not using it? How many skills and gifts end up going to waste? How many talents of our own do we have that we’ve neglected?
We were uniquely designed and crafted for specific tasks. We’re wired the way that we are for particular purposes. No one else is shaped the way that we are – physically, mentally, emotionally. No one else had the unique set of experiences that we’ve had that have shaped us in conjunction with our particular personality characteristics and flaws. We’re drawn and attracted to certain disciplines and we’re naturally good at certain things for a reason. And yet, how many people are actually doing something they really love and are passionate about?
This quote struck me because no matter what natural talent we have, no matter how much education we get, no matter how genius we are… nothing takes the place of persistence and determination. It’s so true. We have to actively pursue our passions. We need to fully utilize our talents. We have them for a reason and when we don’t use them… the world suffers for it. Our communities suffer for it. We all have specific functions in the world, in our communities, and when we don’t perform those functions – those places around us actually suffer. We’re doing them a disservice. We have a unique place in this world and throughout all time, there’s only going to be one of us made. Only one Evan Williams. Only one Ben Carson. Only one Mother Theresa. Only one Barack Obama. Only one Ron Clark. Only one me. And only one you. Only one. And at that, we only have a limited time on this earth – life being as vaporous as it is. So what are we waiting for? What are we really afraid of? Is it that we’re afraid… or are we just lazy? Or do we not have enough belief in ourselves?
In this time when nothing’s for certain and everything’s up in the air, I think there’s no better time to delve into our passions. And I think it’s our job to be persistent and determined about it. We’ve got a lot of work to do!