The Thought for the Day – Frederick William I

781….for here on earth there is nothing but falsehood and deceit. – King Frederick William of Prussia, August 1718


King Frederick William I was king of Prussia from 1713 until his death in 1740. He was an able ruler who left Prussia a prosperous and strong nation. Prussia was absorbed into Germany in 1781.

Today’s Thought comes from a memorandum the king wrote when he found himself between a rock and a hard place: obliged to make a treaty with King George I of England, who was hell-bent on causing mischief for Russian Tsar Peter, whom William Frederick had treaties of friendship with. To his credit, the king did nothing behind the tsar’s back, keeping him updated every step of the way, but Frederick William found the entire situation lamentable.

Today’s Thought shows nothing really changes in our human experience. Back then rulers were primarily concerned with retaining power and going to war, conditions that were both rife with intrigues and tumult. People tend to act in their own self-interest and autocratic rulers did what needed to be done to consolidate wealth and power.

…there is nothing but falsehood and deceit.

Times today, really, are no different. People continue to act in their own self-interest. For some, that means achieving and then consolidating wealth and power. For others, it means merely ensuring they are getting by. This is not an indictment because self-preservation is the mandate from Mother Nature.

What is in our self-interest? We’ve always felt we had an obligation not to waste our time on this planet, that us humans were always cut out for more than merely getting by. The best way for us to do more than merely earning a living and reproducing is to look inside ourselves, find the life we were meant to live and then go out and live it. We must find what we are good at and then go and cultivate and get the most out of those talents.

When we do that, we are not only producing a life that is useful to us but is useful to others, too. We are making our time on this planet serve us, life’s great prize.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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