Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Quotation for Today

You do not need to be told that in times of stress it is difficult to keep things in focus. In times when failure is either present or looming over everyone we know, it is difficult to focus on success.

And yet, we should keep reminding ourselves that success is built gradually, out of character, judgment, and hard work. No one is born successful. No one is entitled to it.

Today is Valentine's Day and I wish everyone a healthy and happy one. Surely, there is much to be said for setting aside one day to celebrate love. It is frankly silly to think otherwise.

And yet, those of us who come from the Rodney King school of human relationships know that success is not a function of true love, but of just getting along. Theodore Roosevelt expressed it well: "The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people."

Let us emphasize this point. While true love is reserved for one person, success involves a myriad of social connections. Conducting a full social life is so complex that it often taxes the soul.

Often enough, just getting along with people feels like a compromise of your best, most loving self. Worse yet, it often does not even feel natural; it feels like hard work. It is easy enough to remember to send flowers on Valentine's Day. But it is far more difficult to engage in the day-to-day labor that is required to manage many different relationships with varying degrees of intimacy.

Sometimes true love feels like a reprieve from the work of just getting along. And yet, knowing how to get along with the one you love is the best way to ensure that you will continue to be with that person.

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