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Light Your Fire

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” — Vince Lombardi

This isn’t always true but is true enough often enough. It may not be true if you are the boss’ kid, the only one who knows how to drive the truck, or if it’s your ball and you will take it and go home if they don’t let you pitch. Other than that, think of it as Lombardi’s immutable law of continuing employment. Oliver Wendell Holmes even knew the source of the fire, “Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.”

You probably won’t want to take the getting fired up thing as far as John Wesley did. He is the one who said, “I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.” Even so, John W. Foster’s point is definitely worth keeping in mind, “One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire.” Turning into a torch like Wesley is going a tad too far; but keeping a match handy to light your own fire might be pretty cool, so to speak. Being a genius certainly can’t hurt your chances of avoiding the employment ax, if it falls.

If you don’t happen to have a promising future as a genius, Napoleon Hill offers some useful advice, “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” You need to have a strong desire to succeed, a lot of Lombardi’s enthusiasm. As Publius Terentius Afer pointed out, “There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.”

Winston Churchill hit the same nail on the head, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” And Robert Schuller drove it home when he said, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” Schuller could have easily added, “And do it enthusiastically.” Should you be thinking that the fire you need exceeds your capacity, the popular Anon. has a parting thought just for you, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

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