The Thought for the Day – J.C. Watts

The American dream is not about money. It is about using your abilities and being the best you can be. – Congressman J.C. Watts, United States Congressman, Republican National Convention, 8/13/96

We’ve been keeping our quotebook since 1988 and of the couple of thousand or so entries there only a few we actually heard in person including one by, of all people, Sonny Bono. Today’s Thought is another one. We were reporters at the Imperial Valley Press in El Centro, California in 1996 and the Republican National Convention was a couple hours west in San Diego, and each of us reporters took a turn going to the convention and rustling up a story. Watts was in his first term in Congress and some readers might remember him playing quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.

It’s easy to think the American dream is about money. We are saturated with images of the rich and famous, and products that we must buy right now. Plus instinct and self-interest demand that we make our share. For some, this self-interest turns into their ruling passion. This is not an indictment. A society needs people who enjoy and have a knack for making money because they employ people like me who do not.

It is about using your abilities and being the best you can be…

One of the themes we harp on ad nauseam here at your Thought for the Day is the proposition that all of us were issued certain talents at birth. It is one of the earliest lessons we can remember learning: we can all do something well. In school, some are good at math or science or writing and in sports, some can shoot a basketball and some can hit a baseball. An annoying few seem to be able to do everything well and are marks for particular scorn. 

Those who make a go of it in this life are the ones who get the most out of the talents they were born with. When we do that we become the best we can be at something, life’s great prize and something that cannot be purchased.

When we utilize and cultivate the talents we have we will find that everything else will follow. The life we are supposed to live will be there for the taking.

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


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