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The Flame of Hope Article by: Earl Nightingale

Every person is born with the basic drive to persevere. No matter how crushed, how defeated, how demoralized, when all hope seems gone, there is, in the healthy person, a small, indistinguishable flame of hope — like a faint but persistent pilot light that stays alight, much like the fire ancient man used to carry with him as he moved from place to place.

Almost everyone comes to a place in life when going on seems futile, even ridiculous — when he seems overwhelmed by a suffocating mattress of events and situations, and desires just to sit down in the middle of the road and let the world and everything in it go to blazes.

So he sits down for a while. But then the vibration of the world seems to make itself felt in his bones. Pretty soon, he raises his head and begins to look around. After a while, he takes a couple of deep breaths, gets slowly, painfully to his feet, wobbles there for a minute or two, and then he starts out again. Often as not, around the next bend in the road, he’ll find the reason he kept going. And he’ll shudder at the thought of how close he came to giving up.

His hope lies in movement and time. If he does not get up and start moving again, he’s done for. But he has this natural drive to keep moving along the road. As long as he keeps heading for what he’s looking for, what seemed like the end of the world for him will be nothing more than a bad dream, and a part of the preparation he needed to qualify for the achievement his perseverance has brought.

Movement, time, and the law of averages; I remember reading about the manager of a major-league ball club who kept a rookie on the team and in the lineup because even though he wasn’t hitting anywhere near what was expected of him, when he struck out, he struck out swinging. He wasn’t just standing there watching strikes go by. And, as the manager expected, he soon started getting wood on the ball and bringing his average up to where it belonged.

Discouragement seems to be part of life, but the reason people prevail is because of this built-in drive to keep going.

Source: Earl Nightingale’s The Essence of Success


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"First say to yourself what you would be: and then do what you have to do."

- Epictitus

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