The Thought for the Day – Mable Newcomber

It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement. – Mabel Newcomber


Mable Newcomber was an American educator and economist, who taught for 40 years at Vassar College then, as now, one of this nation’s most selective and highest ranked colleges. Regular readers of The Thought for the Day may well remember this Thought, because we’ve written about it before. Sue us.

The point Ms Newcomber makes never gets old, though, offering a timeless lesson about patience.

Do not mistake activity for achievement…

We must know the difference between making progress and merely marking time, between whiling away the days and years and laying the foundation for a substantive life. Certainly, we must prepare ourselves for our journey. To chase a dream without having the tools in place to make the chase is folly and doesn’t do us our fellow citizens any good.

But we must be ready to act. We must know when preparation has ended and when it’s time to make something good happen for ourselves. There comes a time when we must set our feet on the road, prepared to travel the fullest possible distance.

Fortunately, our instincts will tell us when this time is.

It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly…

The very best lives are lived by those who have a plan for their time on this planet and give executing that plan a high priority.

We must have sufficient patience to reach our desired end. Very little of value is achieved immediately. Good things take time, and we must have the patience required to work diligently and courageously towards our goal

Diligently because nothing good happens by accident. Nobody stumbles upon a mountain top.

Courageously because few things are easier than giving up and taking the easy way.

Chasing a dream sounds easy, but in fact, few things are more difficult. First, you are leaving the comfort of the known for the comfort of the unknown, life’s great risk. Not only that, there is no guarantee of success. You might make it, you might not. Both are profound thoughts. Some don’t try because they might fail, while some won’t try because they might succeed.

But more important than getting someplace quickly, or getting there at all, is knowing where you want to go in the first place. To discover this all we have to do is follow our hearts, because our heart will always tell us what we should be doing. Our instincts will tell us how to get there. When we do this, we are living the life we are meant to live, life’s great prize.

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