The Thought for the Day – Thurston Clarke

In Profiles in Courage he had been the one delivering the verdict, praising eight senators for possessing…the breadth of a man above party or section…and, above all, a deep-seated belief in themselves…“ – Thurston Clarke, JFK’s Last Hundred Days


Thurston Clarke is an American writer and historian. Profiles in Courage is a 1957 book written by John F Kennedy about eight United States Senators who had the nerve to defy their party and do what their conscience told them was right. It is almost interesting to note that in 2008 a Kennedy speechwriter named Ted Sorensen said he had written most of the book, under Kennedy’s supervision.

…the breadth of a man above party or section.

Opportunities to conform are everywhere, every day. Sometimes it’s good to conform; After all, it’s human nature to want to get along. And sometimes we need to conform, because we have to earn a living or for some other reason, such as we find it less bothersome to do so. 

Blindly conforming to what someone or something wants you to do, however, is not always good. This is especially true in politics where those who do not conform are often characterized as deviants, someone not to be trusted. Sometimes these people are successful in blazing their own trail and sometimes they are not. Some of the eight senators profiled by Kennedy suffered significant consequences for their non-conformity. 

…and, above all, a deep-seated belief in themselves.

It takes courage to go it alone in this world. Even with courage, it isn’t easy and some decide it ultimately is not worth the effort. Deciding it is worth the effort, however, provides a wonderful dividend of confidence, which ultimately produces a deep-seated belief in yourself.

Those who get on in this life believe in themselves. Every single one. It doesn’t matter who it is or what they are doing. It could be an athlete turning in a record performance or the soloist who delivers a memorable performance at your local church. They were memorable because they never doubted they would be otherwise.

We must believe in ourselves, from the first tentative steps in pursuit of something to triumph’s final march. Because if we don’t believe in ourselves, if we don’t believe we are doing what we were meant to be doing with our lives, no one else will believe in us, either.

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

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