The Thought for the Day – Will Durant

…all truth is old, and only error is original. – Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Volume III: Caesar and Christ


Will Durant was an American historian and writer. Over a 40-year period, he and his wife Ariel wrote the eleven volume Story of Civilization series. Durant himself claimed that a work of this scope was “impossible” for one man but he is being modest, and The Story of Civilization remains one of the western world’s landmark achievements.

…all truth is old…

Some aspects of our human experience never change: we are born and we die. Some are born to privilege, some are born with no chance. Some die long after their usefulness to their fellow humans has passed and some die way too young. Those who ignore the mistakes of the past, both their own and others, are bound to repeat them.

Another old truth is that no matter what a government does you are always going to have a small percentage who get rich and a small percentage who are unwilling or unable to fend for themselves. The rest of us get on as best we can, using the skills and interests nature provided and putting the circumstances that present themselves to good use.  

…only error is original.

What errors are we making in our lives? It’s OK to make them, because errors are generally nothing more than life showing us and everyone else that we tried to improve ourselves, that we tried to become something we are not. We shouldn’t be afraid of error or it’s cousin, failure, because those are the stepping stones that lead to our ultimate success.

Over the centuries we have gone from writing on stones and papyrus to having the sum of human knowledge on our mobile phone, but an old truth remains:

Those who find success in this life generally had a plan for achieving it then made the execution of that plan the primary purpose of their life, errors and all.

As we like to say, no one ever climbed Mount Everest while wandering around the Gobi Desert. We must go climb our mountain.  We’ll fall and have setbacks, but with some patience and skill, we will generally scale the mountains we choose to climb. 

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

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