by Dr. Diane M. Hoffmann, CPCA
An old quote by a well known printer and statesman has become a new perspective on the basis of my own writing and working.
"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." - Benjamin Franklin
How interesting that Mr. Franklin would say this. He ought to know...
Benjamin Franklin is famous for being a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, a printer, a philosopher, a musician and an economist. Today, Ben Franklin is honored as one of our Founding Fathers and as one of America's greatest citizens. His ideas are still alive in our world today.
Known as being a complex man, Franklin was born in Boston in 1706 but his home was the city of Philadelphia which also became his gravesite in 1790.
He is also the man who wrote "Energy and persistence conquer all things".
His quotes are to be taken seriously. However when I read this one on energy and persistence, being the philosopher that I am, I immediately gave it my "OMQPO" (One-minute Quick Pondering Overview© ) and realized that this isn't complete.
Yes, energy and persistence is indeed critically necessary in anyone who wants to be successful in life, but there is a lot more to it. One can be energetic and persistent but not be successful. I know a lot of people who are energetic and persistent...
But they focus on nothing important or lasting, or they focus on too many things - which reminds me of the old saying "Jack of all trades, master of none". Now this one is no longer true at all. Amazing how times change. This one should now be, "Jack of all trades, master of each one of them". Why? Because of all the downsizing...
The average working individual today has up to five careers in his/her lifetime. You acquire a lot of trades (skills) during that time. Each career has a whole gamut of transferable skills and today you have to master every one of them if you want to keep your jobs or stay in business.
Going back to energy and persistence, as I said earlier, there are many people focusing on the wrong things. So the saying of Benjamin Franklin now should be "Energy, persistence and focus conquer all things".
No, wait a minute, you could be on the wrong or bad focus. The saying should be "Energy, persistence and proper focus conquer all things".
Now I can just hear some of you say but what does 'proper' mean? It may mean something to one person and something else to another. Yes, but I mean, what does it really mean. It can only mean what it means. The dictionaries say the word 'proper' means "correct, just, according to usage, as a proper expression, a proper use of a word, etc..."
If the focus is wrong or bad it would be destructive. So you say, "but what is wrong or bad, it can be different things to different people". Well, again, it only means what it means. Bad and wrong is the opposite of good and right.
And my quickest description of it right now is this scripture that comes to my mind:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8).
So indeed, my conclusion of this observation is that Benjamin Franklin's quote today should be "Energy, persistence and proper focus conquer all things". /dmh