Reading Stendhal‘s The Red and The Black (French & English versions), I came across a passage that fits perfectly with almost any situation where great plans stop right there.
Ah! que l’intervalle est cruel entre un grand projet conçu et son
exécution! Que de vaines terreurs! que d’irrésolutions! Il s’agit de la
—Il s’agit de bien plus: de l’honneur!
Oh, how cruel is the interval between the conception and the execution of a great project! What vain fears, what fits of irresolution! It has to do with life or death!
— It has to do with much more than that: it has to do with honor!
A post by Seth Godin reminded me of how many times we work hard to be the best in our field and as we work our way forward, heads cluttered by books, strategies, meetings, conferences etc., we forget our substance.
Rarely can one person reach the sought after spot of being the best on the field. The best trainer, the best manager, the best CEO, the best guitar player, the best parent…
As we all have the same tools at our disposal, the task of being the best can become a lifelong obsession.
But how about substance? Why not be one of the best and differentiate yourself through other skills. Why not be one of the best managers and a promising writer? A great trainer and a fun-to-listen-to guitar player? It’s more fun when you encounter something more than a living bag of tools.
I found this poem while reading Think And Grow Rich. This book is powerful, the poem is startling…
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”
-Jessie B. Rittenhouse