English Corner (Success), 3rd
A successful life
He was born in an obscure village, the
child of a peasant. We know little about his childhood or youth, but he
likely worked as a carpenter until he was 30, and then for three years he
was a traveling preacher. He never wrote a book, held an office or led an
army. He never married or had children. His possessions were few and
simple. He never went to college and had no credentials but himself. He
never visited a big city, and in fact never traveled more than 200 miles
(300 km) from his birthplace. He never did any of the things that usually
accompany greatness or success.
He was wildly popular for about a year,
especially among simple people who saw him work miracles. But while still
a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends
ran away, and one even helped his enemies catch him. After a mockery of a
trial he was publicly executed for treason and for claiming to be God’s
Today, 2000 years later, he is honored as
one of history’s most important people by well over half the people on
this planet. We mark our calendars from his birth, making him the
centerpiece of the human race. His followers travel to the ends of the
earth, sacrificing their money, fame and health, just to serve the people
that others care about the least. In his name, people have built more
schools and hospitals, helped more of earth’s poor and hopeless souls,
written more books and music, and produced more art than in any other
All the armies that ever marched, all the
navies that ever were built, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all
the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of a
man upon this earth as powerfully as has the one solitary life of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth. (Adapted from “One Solitary Life” by Dr. James A.
Additional Quotes regarding success and
being successful (some have been summarized above):
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for
them the rest of us could not succeed. Mark Twain, U.S. author. (1897).
Success to me is having ten honeydew
melons, and eating only the top half of each one. Barbra Streisand (1963),
U.S. singer, actress. (Did
success or something else make these stars selfish/wasteful?)
Political power grows out of the barrel of
a gun. Mao Ze Dong (1938, Problems of War and Strategy)
Success is never final. Winston Churchill
The toughest thing about success is that
you’ve got to keep on being a success. Talent is only a starting point in
this business. You’ve got to keep on working that talent. Someday I’ll
reach for it and it won’t be there. Irving Berlin (1958), U.S. songwriter.
Each wrong step is a lost destiny, and
each problem in life is a gained experience. West Africa
God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only
requires that you try. Mother Teresa
(Quoted by RF Kennedy, Jr. ’92)
Arthur Miller (1966), U.S. dramatist,
notes that most Americans greet others with ‘What do you do?’, but “it’s
good for my soul not to know… (I should instead) see what I think of this
person without knowing what he does and how successful he is, or what a
failure. We’re ranking everybody every minute of the day.”
Contentment consists not in adding more
fuel but in taking away some fire; not in multiplying wealth, but in
subtracting men’s desires. Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)
In the United States there’s a Puritan
ethic and a mythology of success. He who is successful is good. In Latin
countries, in Catholic countries, a successful person is a sinner. Umberto
Eco (1988), Italian novelist.
In the deeper layers of the modern
consciousness . . . every attempt to succeed is an act of aggression,
leaving one alone and guilty and defenseless among enemies: one is
punished for success. This is our intolerable dilemma: failure is a
kind of death and success is evil and dangerous. Robert Warshow (1948),
Success is somebody else’s failure.
Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in
most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the
terrible reality of poverty. Ursula K. Le Guin (1983), U.S. author.
If you are a genius and unsuccessful,
everybody treats you as if you were a genius, but when you come to be
successful, when you commence to earn money, when you are really
successful, then your family and everybody no longer treats you like a
genius, they treat you like a man who has become successful. Pablo Picasso
(1938), Spanish artist.
--success definition from
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the
English Language, Third Edition
© 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
--most dated but unspecified quotations
from The Columbia Dictionary of
Quotations, Columbia University
Press. © 1993, 1995
--several proverbs from Basic Writing,
Joy Reid, Prentice Hall/Regents
The Holy Bible, New King James Version,
(Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
--CEV = The Contemporary English
Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
--quotations without dates came from
various unverified sources.
Still more quotes:
What kind of a man would live where there
is no daring? I don’t believe in taking foolish chances, but nothing can
be accomplished without taking any chance at all. Charles Augustus
Lindberg (1st pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean)
Listen to both sides and you will be
enlightened, heed only one side and you will be benighted. Wei Cheng (Tang
Dynasty, quoted by Mao 1937 in On Contradiction) (benighted = overtaken by
darkness; in an unenlightened state)
Don’t fall in love with money. Be
satisfied with what you have. –Bible: Hebrews 13:5 CEV
Do not talk behind people’s backs.
Whenever problems arise, call a meeting, place the problems on the table
for discussion, take some decisions and the problems will be solved. Mao
Ze Dong (1949, Methods of Work of Party Committees)
But suffering is in store each day for
those who sin. (i.e., fall short of what God expects). Even in times of
success, they constantly hear the threat of doom. Darkness, despair, and
death are their destiny. Job 15:20-22 CEV
If you have a success, you have it for the
wrong reasons. If you become popular it is always because of the worst
aspects of your work. Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961), U.S. author.
Think of all the really successful men and
women you know. Do you know a single one who didn’t learn very young the
trick of calling attention to himself in the right quarters? Storm Jameson
(1957), British author.
He who quarries stones may be hurt by
them, and he who splits wood may be endangered by it. If the ax is dull,
and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but
wisdom brings success. Ecclesiastes 10:9,10 NKJV
There is a vast difference between success
at twenty-five and success at sixty. At sixty, nobody envies you. Instead,
everybody rejoices generously, sincerely, in your good fortune. Marie
Dressler (1934), U.S. actor. (age 61—died that year)
you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of
faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have
confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy
There are many paths to the top of the
mountain, but the view is always the same. Chinese Proverb
Man can climb to the highest summits, but
he cannot dwell there long. George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), Anglo-Irish
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I
have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12I know
how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I
have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need. 13I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
7For we brought nothing into this world, and
it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having
food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9But those
who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into
many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and
perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds
of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their
greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Paul in 1
Tim 6:6-10, NKJV
Love can achieve unexpected majesty in the
rocky soil of misfortune. Tony Snow (Detroit News)
Most people are about as happy as they
make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln
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