Thursday, January 28, 2016

Quote And Context

"What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?"
If you have read success literature at all, you have heard this quote.  If you know of Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral, you have heard this quote.  This quote (in at least one reference) is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

But this week I think I found where it came from.

"There was once a man who was very anxious, and wavered between fear and hope.  One day, overcome with sadness, he lay prostrate in prayer before the altar in church, and pondering these matters in his mind, said 'Oh, if only I knew that I should always persevere!'  then he heard within his heart an answer from God:  'If you knew this, what would you do?  Do now what you would
 do then, and all will be well.'"

Originator?  Thomas A Kempis (1380-1471), The Imitation of Christ

Changes the context of the who quote, does it not?  Imagine if this was actually quoted in the context that it was delivered.  Would we still engage in our smug satisfaction of being the complete and utter masters of our own fate?  Or would we perhaps consider it the context of an Authority to who we are accountable?

Be told we are to have confidence versus convincing ourselves that we should have confidence are two entirely different things.

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