This I Believe
OpinionThe Bottom Line

This I Believe

A compilation from half a century ago offers valuable lessons about how successful people see themselves.

Edward R. Murrow appears on the cover of another book, "Journalism at Its Best."
Edward R. Murrow appears on the cover of another book, "Journalism at Its Best."

I read a book written over 50 years ago titled “This I Believe,” compiled by Edward R. Murrow. In two pages, each writer laid out the principles that shaped his or her life.

Some wrote about themselves, and some wrote about helping others. Their thoughts are worth repeating. This is what they wrote about themselves. Part 2 will be about helping others.

Robert Allman: The hardest lesson I had to learn was to believe in myself. That belief was more than accepting my imperfections, but an assurance that I am a real, positive person. All my life I have set ahead of me a series of goals and then tried to reach them, one at a time. I had to learn my limitations. I did not try to complete something wildly out of reach, because that only invited the bitterness of failure. As I progressed, my goals grew bigger.

Lionel Barrymore: The difference between whether I was going to be a really successful person and just mediocre was whether I had an aim, a focus, a model upon which I superimposed my life. I couldn’t get anywhere unless I knew where to start from and where to go.

Pat Frank: I will never know how important my duty is on many things, yet I must so live as never to be ashamed of how I fulfilled it.

Ina Corinne Brown: There are four values I live by. The first is “What will you think of yourself if you do this or fail to do that?” The second is that nothing is as important as the way in which you meet grief and trouble. The third is that friendship should be based on the qualities of mind and character and not on race, color or social position. And the fourth is that we honor and cherish the good when we cooperate with our fellow men to build a better world.

Elmer Davis: In business, we should promote an increase in decency. Decency by showing respect for other people; of taking no advantage.

Dr. Nelson Glueck: There is no sense fleeing from circumstances and conditions that cannot be avoided. I cannot wipe out the pains of existence by denying them, blaming them largely or completely on others, or running away from them.

John Hughes: I believe in G-d and try to be a good member of his congregation. I try to act toward others like I think G-d wants me to act. I have been trying this for a long time, and the longer I try the easier it gets.

David Dallas Jones: An old professor of mine used to say, “Effort counts.” We seldom realize the sense of glow, the sense of growing self-esteem, the sense of achievement, which can come from doing a job well. No matter what else we did in life, we had to devote our best thinking and our best living to our children.

Lillian Bueno McCue: Learn to pull your own weight in a boat. Kids have no use for a loafer who wants a free ride. When I can do something, and somebody wants me to do it, I have to do it. The great tragedy of life is not to be needed. I learned that anger is a waste. Forget your grievance. Keep your temper and stay in the game. Happiness is a habit. I was taught to cultivate it. I hope I never lose it. It would be like putting out the light.

Richard H. McFeely: You know we can change any situation by changing our attitude toward it. Remember, my mother said, “life does not consist in holding a good hand, but in playing a bad hand well.”

Joe J. Mickle: I am enthusiastic about life. Optimism and enthusiasm can be deeply rooted and continuous only if they spring from an inner sense of the presence of G-d and faith in His spirit at work in the world.

Ralph Richmond: The years of my illness taught me what to value: Take time before time takes you. Each day is a precious entity. Frequently I sit back and say to myself: Let me make note of this moment I’m living right now. I’m well, happy, hard at work doing what I like best to do. It won’t always be like this, so while it is, I’ll make the most of it.

The bottom line: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

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