Essays

Certainly one of our greatest powers is our ability to determine ourselves and decide of our attitude at any given moment. Though this freedom finds its limits in the conditions in which we live in, we are always free to take a stand, and even in the direst situations, to decide what to make of our existence.

How we use this freedom defines who we are and, as with every great power, there must also come great responsibility.

Freedom is only part of the story and half the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.

— Viktor E. Frankl

Freedom allows for both good and evil; while our society tries to enforce that nobody falls to the dark side, it remains our responsibility to choose between the many different shades of good.

Furthermore, this new age of science and technology has expanded our choice and revealed to us the full scope of our freedom. While our ancestors could rely on traditions, such as religions, to tell them what they ought to do, we now stand fully aware of the infinite different ways in which we could live our lives.

Why is it that human beings, surely the most intelligent life form on earth, do not strive to achieve their maximum potential? The reason is simple: we have been given the freedom of choice.

— Jim Rohn

In facing a choice, multiplying the options does not always lead to a better outcome, for it then requires that we make up our mind and be strong enough to act. In particular, the former requires a certain level of knowledge that grows exponentially with the number of options.

In the case of life, some options are attractive at first sight but disappointing in truth, while others take great courage to choose but offer immense rewards in the end. Most important, some are unknown to us until we acquire the knowledge that will reveal them to our minds.

That is why I find acquiring knowledge to be one of the most important pastimes, because it broadens my view and understanding of the world, thus increasing my opportunities and improving my judgment.

We all have a remarkable potential and we must decide what to make of it. While some might be satisfied with less than others, many strive for more. Whatever we decide, we should not forget that everything is possible, so long as we believe, and put in the mental effort to become what we ought to be.

It is our responsibility to choose what’s best for us, our loved ones, and the world.

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Imagination is one of the most precious faculties of man. In addition to “providing meaning to experience, understanding to knowledge, and playing a key role in the learning process” (Wikipedia), imagination gives man the faculty to see things (himself, in particular) beyond the present moment. Combined with freedom of choice it makes him the master of his fate.

Imagination has been the seedling of all human progress but it’s also the motive power of our individual lives. The more one uses it, combined with a burning desire for its actualization and a definite purpose, the greater one’s achievements will be.

With experience and intelligence, imagination becomes creativity—the ability to create new things with some kind of value—and can then be transformed into riches. The transformation is not an easy step but we are all capable of achieving it, unless we surrender to the manual.

Man’s obsession with creating maps and manuals for how to live his life goes against the human nature, for there is no limits to what he can achieve and become. Maps, in this sense, are counter-productive because they set boundaries where none existed before. They help avoid the mental effort of finding a path, but offer no surprise to what the destination will be.

In the face of an infinite sea of choices, it’s natural to put blinders on, to ask for a map, to beg for instructions, or failing that, to do exactly what you did last time, even if it didn’t work.

— Seth Godin

Life offers an infinite sea of choices because man is always able to choose what his existence will be in the next moment. In this frightening journey, imagination is our own personal navigation tool. It’s always available to us, but we must deliberately and repeatedly make the choice to use it.

Today’s world of factories has created countless manuals and mapped a vast number of paths which are followed by many. Our education system reinforces this by making us believe that the only way for us to succeed is to follow those paths. They offer a quick and easy fix to a broader problem that is the meaning of one’s life, but do not come free of charge.

While following a map can offer a temporary remedy to some of our fears, it will only take us where someone else wishes us to go, usually for his personal benefit. Moreover, if you’re not prepared to work without a map and be wrong, you cannot let free of your creativity and achieve your full potential.

On the contrary, following your imagination won’t give you the comfort of knowing what to do and where to go at any given moment, but its rewards are invaluable compared to the wages that you can expect by working at the office. Beyond success, it’ll bring you happiness and fulfillment, for you will be the man in charge.

Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination.

— Napoleon Hill

Within the laws of physics, the power of our imagination is simply limitless.

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The idea that business ideas are worthless unless executed and execution is worth millions has always been at the heart of my business philosophy, but it’s only recently that I gripped the full meaning of the verb to execute.

For years I’ve believed that to execute is like to build. I focused too much on the details and lost sight of the essential, that good execution is about having good judgment—making the right decisions.

To build something requires mainly technical skills. The better your skills are, the better your creations will be. However, in the business world, if your creation isn’t something that people are willing to pay for then it’s worthless.

While technical skills can be acquired rather easily and in a relatively short period of time, the skill of great judgment takes time and experience to acquire, which makes it much more valuable. It is, by and large, the difference between an employee and his manager.

Doing the right things is more important than doing things right.

This quote (attributed to various sources) says it all. It’s not enough to do it right, you have to do what’s right.

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I’ve been playing Tennis since I was six years old, and my coach and family often said to me that, “the one who desires the victory the most is going to win”; this has been one of the most fundamental lessons that has ever been taught to me.

Desire is fundamental.

If we don’t desire to live, we die.
If we don’t desire to win, we lose.
If we don’t desire to succeed, we fail.
If we don’t desire anything, we get nothing.

That last sentence is particularly important because it means the difference between a successful career and a failed one. We can only move forward if we know where to want to go, otherwise we surrender to luck and circumstances. Lack of desire is one of the major causes of failure, but it’s also one that’s most easily fixed.

I believe that having an insatiable desire for something can be, and is, the most powerful force of all, which can drive anybody to the top of any ladder.
However, we shouldn’t mistake wishes for desires. Wishes are empty—we all wish for wealth or happiness, yet many of us fail.

Wishes are little more than self-delusion.

— Jim Rohn

One devastating principle that young students often remember from school is that success—our personal achievements—is a function of our intelligence (or how “gifted” we are).

The smartest students usually get the better marks, that’s the way we see it when we’re schoolboys or schoolgirls. If you’re not smart then you’re meant to stay behind, so you’d better put off your dreams. This can have dramatic consequences because where there are no dreams, there is no desire.

The “usually” is crucial here because it underlines the fact that this is not a rule, it is merely an observation, and a bad one. The rule is this: the students most willing to learn and work hard ALWAYS get the better marks. Intelligence might give you a head-start, but it doesn’t work by itself. No matter how far behind you start, you can always catch up.

Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds.

— Napoleon Hill

Success moves toward those who search for progress, but searching for progress isn’t like Google, it’s more like going on a treasure hunt. It’s hard, the road is rocky and filled with many traps. It is often discouraging to the point where quitting seems like the best solution. But even in those darkest moments, when the promise of the future is clear, the hunter won’t quit, and the treasure will come.

A common characteristic of all successful men is that they kept on going on, but how do you do that when everything that’s around you seems to work against you? By having a burning desire for being the one in your dreams, because that will make you do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen.

The moment you start believing in your dreams is the moment they come true.

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As time goes by I realize the importance of self-education and how valuable it is to have the passion to learn.

I have never achieved my full potential in school but I might well achieve it in life earlier than the average student because of the way I have educated myself.

I don’t have the credential that a major school has to offer, but in those disciplines that I’m most passionate about—the ones that matter, I have not only the skills but also the experience.
Students shouldn’t wait to be unemployed or “bad-employed” to start learning the practical skills and acquiring the experience that could get them a real job—the one they truly want.

Actual experience beats any credential.
While a diploma tells your employer what you supposedly can do, a business or professional experience tells him what you have done. We all know that rehearsing something is far different from doing it for real, I believe the marketplace is where this rule is the most strictly applied, with the greatest consequences if you end up doing it wrong.

The closer you’ll grow to the marketplace, the faster you’ll find your way in this tough environment.

School is necessary and essential—without education we are merely animals, but school is not enough. It provides the foundation but that is only part of the edifice. The rest is yours to build the way you want, with your own hands, by your own ideology.

Jim Rohn said, “work harder on yourself that you do on anything else”. I believe this is especially true in school because that’s when you are most willing to learn—when you have the passion, the dreams, and the energy. It only gets harder as you get older.

However, you shouldn’t focus only on the technical and practical side of things. The day I started studying personal development, or how to achieve success, wealth and happiness, was one of the most defining moment of my life. These are the basics that we all need to master.

If you are to climb the ladder of success, the society will help you take the first step by providing schools that can get you your first job, but you have to take all the other ones.

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I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”