Strong degree – weak ambition

This morning’s Thought for the Day from The Napoleon Hill Foundation began with this:

“A blind boy paid his way to a master’s degree at Northwestern University by taking notes on class lectures in Braille, typing them, and selling copies to classmates who had stronger eyes but weaker ambition.”

Why is it that often people with all the obvious advantages – great health, supportive family, right social connections, and respected college degrees – never seem to accomplish much while others who have had to struggle at every step reach higher levels of success?

Is having advantages really a disadvantage?  Why does the turtle beat the hare when it’s so clear that the hare is better equipped to will a race?  Why does a person who just lost their job find opportunities someone with a job could not find?

Okay let’s make it personal:

  • Do you try harder when faced with an “impossible” situation?
  • Can you remember a time when getting help from someone relieved enough pain that you didn’t follow through to your own best solution?
  • Would you have more motivation if you were struggling more – physically, financially, spiritually, or in your closest relationships?
  • What keeps you motivated when things are going well?


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  • Hey, that guy looks like me, except I traded in my cane for a guide dog. 🙂

    I’m so glad you didn’t use the apt but oft-overused caterpillar-in-the-cocoon analogy.

    I’m very inertial. When things are going well, it’s fairly easy for me to build on the momentum and maintain my success. The problem for me is that when I hit a wall or even a stumbling block and fall flat on my face, it’s VERY hard for me to get back up again.

    Good food for thought.

  • Jory Butler

    Right between the eyes. Great, Great, message!!!!

  • Markika Harris

    I don’t know what my problem is. When things are going bad in my life I completely shut down or to some bare minimum of living. When things are going well I tend to get complacent and not push myself to do better. Although a friend of mine who works in HR told me that it would probably be better if I turned in a 90 day notice and worked like hell to get the type of job that I’d really enjoy. His thought was that if I KNEW I wouldn’t have a job to fall back on.. the way I’m going about looking for a job would drastically change. I think he may be right but I’m too afraid to take the risk and end up jobless.

    I think it maybe be time for me to start 48 Days over and actually finish it this time!

    • JMT Publications XXXXX

      Hi Markika
      You are actually on the first step of solving your problem, because you recognize a pattern going on. Now, if you’re ready to get a little uncomfortable, ask yourself the question, “What am I afraid of?”  In my journey thru life, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who behave the way you do are afraid to be successful.  They may have come from an environment that equates “money” with “greed,” or that believes the “haves” OWE the “have-nots” and they don’t want to become the object of what amounts to bigotry against the well to do.  Think about the messages you’ve heard all of your life about money and the people who have it and see if an attitude adjustment might not be helpful.  When a person repeats a pattern, it serves a purpose – even though in the long run, it hurts more than it helps.

  • Larry Dobbs

    I don’t believe the axiom, “If you continue doing what you’ve always done you’ll continue getting what you’ve always gotten.” Not true…soon you’ll be getting less and less. Larry Dobbs

  • Cachiever

    My personal achievements keeps me motivated when things are going well. On the contrary, I lean on The Most High God when things are otherwise!