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Aim high and work hard

What do you want? 

Now that’s an intriguing question, isn’t it? I’ve heard it many times, and I’m sure you have heard it too. 

When asked what he wanted, a neighbor of my childhood days speaking in the dialect of that rural community on Hegira Ridge said, “Well, I ain’t got much, and I don’t aim to have much.” To be sure, that man’s aim in life was not as high as it could have been, but satisfied with little I am sure that he achieved little. 

James Russell Lowell, the American romantic poet and New Englander with a reputation as a troublemaker, wrote, “Not failure, but low aim, is crime.” Then, Eileen Caddy, a teacher and one of the founders of the Findhorn community in Scotland, put it in a different way. In poignant words, she wrote, “Set your sights high, …expect wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper your or hold you up in any way.”  That, I think, is the way to accomplishment. 

In the crucible of life, I think that it has been proven that we can accomplish much of that for which we aim and work. From the earliest days of my life, good teachers imprinted upon my mind the famous words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Boston poet and transcendentalist who said, “Hitch your wagon to a star.” Those teachers were saying, aim high and work hard to reach your goal.

 What do you want to accomplish? Henry David Thoreau, who spent a good amount of time by Walden Pond contemplating the meaning of life, wrote, “In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately they had better aim at something high.”

Webb Garrison, a professor I knew at Emory University, gave some good advice to all of us, “No matter what our age may be, now is the time to be dead certain that we are seeking things we will value when we get them.”