This past week I was listening to the audiobook of Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman as I continue working towards my 2015 goal of finishing 26 books. I had already read the Personal MBA, as well as his second book, The First 20 Hours, and loved them both. I’m also a big fan of authors who narrate their own audiobooks, so he gained bonus points in that area.
At the end of the book, Mr. Kaufman talks about the essay “Keys to Success” by B.C. Forbes, the creator of Forbes magazine. I’m not sure if it was the way he read it, or if it just didn’t hit home the first time I read the book, but after hearing this I couldn’t help but feel motivated by the words. Check it out…
Your success depends on you.
Your happiness depends on you.
You have to steer your own course.
You have to shape your own fortune.
You have to educate yourself.
You have to do your own thinking.
You have to live with your own conscience.
Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.
You come into this world alone.
You go to the grave alone.
You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.
You make your own decisions.
You must abide by the consequences of your acts.
“I cannot make you well unless you make yourself well,” an eminent doctor often tells his patients.
You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health.
You alone can assimilate things mental and things material.
Said a Brooklyn preacher, offering his parishioners communion one Sunday: “I cannot give you the blessings and the benefits of this holy feast. You must appropriate them for yourselves. The banquet is spread; help yourself freely. You may be invited to a feast where the table is laden with the choicest foods, but unless you appropriate and assimilate them, they can do you no good. So it is with this holy feast. You must appropriate its blessings. I cannot infuse them into you.”
You have to do your own assimilation all through life.
You may be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.
You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.
You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.
You alone can move your own legs.
You alone can move your own arms.
You alone can utilize your own hands.
You alone can control your own muscles.
You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.
You must take your own steps.
Your parents cannot enter into your skin, take control of your mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.
You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.
You have to be captain of your own destiny.
You have to see through your own eyes.
You have to use your own ears.
You have to master your own faculties.
You have to solve your own problems.
You have to form your own ideals.
You have to create your own ideas.
You must choose your own speech.
You must govern your own tongue.
Your real life is your thoughts.
Your thoughts are your own making.
Your character is your own handiwork.
You alone can select the materials that go into it.
You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.
You are the creator of your own personality.
You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.
You can be elevated and sustained by no man but yourself.
You have to write your own record.
You have to build your own monument – or dig your own pit.
Which are you doing?
“Keys to Success” by B.C. Forbes, published in 1917. Found in The Little Book of Business Wisdom by Peter Krass
I’ll try and find the audio version… for now, you have to read. What do you think?