This I believe
These things I have learned. Belief and truth are rarely synonymous. But they can be. That’s why I’d rather measure an outcome by the effects it has on our world, our community and those people with whom I come into contact. For instance, if I say that I believe in the American way and prosperity, that is of little use if the ends are achieved through unscrupulousness and greed. On the other hand, if an immigrant works harder than his or her peers and conducts their business with integrity, honesty and ambition to succeed and better themselves and their family, through hard work, perseverance and unselfishness, I say: “Well done! You deserve everything.” And so we come to success.
I believe that success can be more than a dream. I believe that success is also far more then the acquisition of wealth and possessions. For me, success is being able to say, at the end of my life: “No regrets.” This does not mean that nothing has gone wrong. It means that failures and setbacks and mistakes have provided an opportunity for learning, redirection and growth. A clear conscience and being able to look anyone, unashamedly in the eye, is, I believe, worth more than millions in the bank.
I believe that strength without compassion is worthless; that loyalty is a three way street – up, down and sideways. I believe that independence is earned and to be respected but that very independence should lead to interdependence because to believe that we are so self sufficient that we no longer need guidance, advice and love, makes us distanced from reality, unapproachable and superior. It deprives us of understanding that we are all part of a larger whole and that giving and receiving are reciprocal.
I believe that forgiveness is the key to peace: This embraces the willingness to accept other people, other traditions and faiths and other points of view. It also involves stepping down from the pedestal of having to be right. I believe that all obstacles to peace are self-inflicted. If we are not at peace with ourselves, how can we become at peace with others?
I believe that to whom much has been given, more will be expected. This means sharing our gifts, resources and talents. It means supporting our local communities and being willing to step up and serve – on task forces, committees, boards and civic or electoral seats.
Lastly I believe fervently that optimism, enthusiasm, diligence and volunteerism will always produce positive results. But the power to impress is not so important as the inner knowing that our contribution to this life and planet is sincere and governed by the right motive.
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