Weekly Thought – May 25, 2021
Fred grew up in Nashville, TN. Family resources were not available for him to attend college. However, during his lifetime he received multiple honors, including two honorary doctorates. He also gave commencement addresses throughout the country, including Belmont University. His severely handicapped brother Richard graduated from Belmont as President of the Senior Class. He walked miles and miles with a distinct, disabling limp to attend class and receive his degree from this fine institution.
These words are from his commencement address in 1959 at Belmont when he was 43.
The discipline of self-motivation is probably the most difficult one you will fact. Recently I met a young man who picked prunes as a day laborer. In his late teens he decided he wanted more. In less than 10 years he became vice president of a company, had a home in Miami, owned an 83 foot crewed yacht, two airplanes, and over one million dollars in securities. I quizzed him thoroughly on his success and one of his major points was: “Maintain a burning desire.”
Education may be the vehicle, but motivation is the fuel oil that drives the desire. Most people who fail do so because of inferior fuel, not an inferior vehicle. Application is a critical key, even more most times than ability.
May I suggest a few thoughts on self-motivation?
1) Accent your strengths. In our culture it has become popular to talk about our weaknesses, appearing to be working on them. However, I assure you, you will not get very far in life spending time trying to strengthen your weaknesses. Accent your strengths.
2) Discipline your associations. Accept the challenge to associate with champions. Owning the smallest house on the best street is much better than owning the largest house in a poorer location. I strive to be the smallest frog in a pond full of winners. Question for you: Are you the most able or the least able in your group? Constantly work to live among those more accomplished, smarter, wiser, and achievement-oriented than you. You will grow.
3) Develop definite goals. Most of us are like the steam pipe with a bunch of holes in it: we have lots of steam, but we are popping off in too many places. We are intrigued with so many things we fail to grasp the truth that we can only do a limited number of things well. The challenge is the discipline of choice. The graduates in this class who will be remembered are those who find that they do not “have a goal,” but the goal has them. They will be dedicated. Great men and women have magnificent obsessions.
4) Recognize the cost. There will be real prices to pay. Don’t turn away. Probably the biggest price you will pay is loneliness. You cannot be a leader and avoid loneliness. Out in front there will be times when you will have to make decisions there will be times when you will have to keep your own counsel, giving up the warmth of belonging for the loneliness of leadership. Another price is tension. You cannot have a spring without tension. You cannot have the placidity of a mule and the winnings of a race horse. Successful people are not hard workers they are intense workers, and there is a great difference. Tension is not to be feared – it is a challenge to be controlled.
5) Accept the reward. Since there is a cost, is there a reward? To most of you it will be the joy of accomplishment. In reading the biographies of twelve outstanding men of science and business, nearly every one mentioned this as a reward. Practically none of them talked about fame or money. I am convinced if we asked those who built Belmont or the great industries here in Nashville they would agree the work was done for the joy of accomplishment.
6) Understand success. Success, to me, is the ratio of talents used to talents received. Developing the discipline of self-motivation is a major key to a successful life.
This week carefully consider: 1) What are my personal keys to self-motivation? 2) How am I measuring the level of burning desire? 3) When is my level of motivation the highest?
Words of Wisdom: “The graduates in this class who will be remembered are those who find that they do not “have a goal,” but the goal has them.”
Wisdom from the Word: “With this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NET Bible)