Fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him. Victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to seize it. But his arm was long.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
While not the biggest fan of the fantasy genre, I have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and enjoyed both immensely.
I discovered Tolkien many years ago, probably late last century. I was at work and a co-worker had left his copy of The Lord of the Rings lying around. I was bored and had nothing to do, so I picked the book up and opened it to a random page and the above passage was the very first line I read.
Oh, dear me, I was immediately captivated. The writing, the point Tolkien made with this line, everything resonated and I immediately started reading from the beginning.
This passage is so true. Really, it is one more definition of success because in every person’s life there will be times when it seems fortune has fled and abandoned you, that everything you’ve striven and worked for is and will remain out of your reach.
But his arm was long…
Our arms must be long, too, because success must be reached for, worked for and striven for. An awful lot of success is hard work and persistence and having long arms. We never really know how close we are to the success we are looking for and we will never know how close we were if we quit.
Note: quotes are from Gaylon’s own private stock, stolen from original source materials.