The Thought for the Day – R.L. Stevenson

There is no duty so much we underrate as the duty of being happy. -Robert Louis Stevenson


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was a Scottish novelist and poet. He is the author of such timeless works at Treasure Island and Kidnapped and remains one of History’s most translated writers.

Being happy does not mean leading a life of avarice and indulgence. Far from it, because that is merely spending your life reacting to outside stimuli. The happiness Stevenson is referring to comes from the satisfaction of knowing you are living from the inside out, from living the life you are meant to live. Stevenson is fully qualified to write about this because this was the life he lived. He was meant to be a writer, so he wrote.

It’s not easy making our happiness our top priority. Most of us are not made of money and have to earn livings and there are hundreds of other distractions every day waiting to distract us.

And even for those of us who do try to live the lives we were meant to live it isn’t easy, because every life, even those deemed a success by some, have setbacks and reverses, each one an opportunity to throw up your hands and say enough. If you are seeing someone for the first time and they are at their pinnacle, you no doubt are witnessing the finished blade that had been sharpened on supreme effort and long perseverance.

But what else are we supposed to do with our life? All we really have to do – when we reduce life to its most basic level – is die. When that time comes we are going to ask ourselves did we do well, or did we squander our time on this planet. Today’s Thought shows us we have an obligation to do well, to make our time serve us.

What were you meant to become? Are you becoming it? If not, it’s never too late to start. Everything you need for the journey can be found inside you: your heart will tell you where to go and your instincts will tell you how to get there. All you need to do is follow your path with diligence and courage.

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