Sunday, March 20, 2005

"Persistence" * President Calvin Coolidge (1924)

Now, there was a president:

They called him "Silent Cal", but he had a lot to say in spite of the nickname. My favorite quotes are (starting with my personal favorite):

PERSISTENCE "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race"..."If I had permitted my failures, or what seemed to me at the time a lack of success to discourage me, I cannot see any way in which I ever would have made progress."

LUCK "There are those who complain that they do not have any luck. They are opportunists, who think that their destiny is all shaped outside themselves. They are waiting for something to happen...Our real luck lies within ourselves. It is a question of character. It depends on whether we follow the inner light of our conscience...If we cannot control our environment, we can control ourselves and our destiny. The man who is right makes his own luck."

WORK "Any reward that is worth having comes only to the industrious..." "Substitute the midnight oil for the limelight. The success which is made in any walk of life is measured almost exactly by the amount of hard work that is put into it."

SUCCESS "The measure of success is not merchandise, but character."

CHARACTER "Men show, by what they worship, what they are."

THE ULTIMATE COMPLIMENT David Belasco, the leading light of the time in American theater was taken by Sol Bloom to call at the White House. Upon meeting the President, Belasco said, "Mr. President, this is a great honor." "No, Mr. Belasco, Coolidge said, "There have been many Presidents, but there is only one David Belasco."

AMERICANISM "Whether ones traces his Americanism back three centuries to the Mayflower, or three years to steerage, is not half so important as whether his Americanism of today is real and genuine. No matter by what crafts we came here, we are all now in the same boat."

RESTRAINT A WISE COURSE "I didn't see the need to do things that didn't need to be done. Sometimes matters just resolve themselves if you leave them alone long enough...Public administrators would get along better if they would restrain the impulse to butt in, or to be dragged into trouble. They should remain silent until an issue is reduced to its lowest terms, until it boils down into something like a moral issue." "When you see ten troubles rolling down the road, if you don't do anything, nine of them will roll into a ditch before they get to you." "Four-fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still." "When things are going all right, it is a good plan to let them alone."

---from Calvin Coolidge: