The Thought for the Day/Mabel Newcomer

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


Mabel Newcomer (1892-1983) was an American economist and professor, primarily at Vassar College, of considerable note, specializing in public finance and taxes. She was a delegate to the Bretton Woods Conference, a UN gathering to discuss the post-World War II financial order that produced, among other things, the International Monetary Fund. Newcomer was the only American woman and academic delegate to the convention. Regular readers of this feature may be scratching their heads thinking this looks familiar, as it should because this quote has appeared in this feature before. The commentary, of course, is fresh.

It is more important to know where you are going…

We must have a plan for our lives. It is not enough to wake up every day and merely earn a living and answer nature’s call to reproduce. We must do something that answers our innermost yearnings. We must have a plan for getting the most out of the talents each of us were issued at birth.

…than to get there quickly.

Few things of any substance happen immediately. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare: we must have patience. Patience to wait out the failure that attends every great effort. Patience to see the path our talents are taking us on, patience to see them maximized and patience to see everything through to the end. We must patience if we are going to live the life we are meant to live.

Do not mistake activity for achievement…

We can only prepare to embark on our path so much. We can only spend so much time in school, read so many sacred texts, study under so many masters before we must put what we’ve learned to the test. Eventually, we must take the first step on our path. This is not easy. It means leaving the comfort of the familiar for uncertainty, with the imposters that are success and failure awaiting us.

But if we have the wisdom to know ourselves, and we have the courage to follow our path and the patience to see it through to the end, then our activities will lead to life’s great prize, living the life we were meant to live.

Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quote book, begun in 1988 in a hotel room in Berkeley, California.

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