Friday, December 17, 2010

Jefferson and You ~

Thomas Jefferson
Here we are at Friday again! Albuquerque was surprised with a very beautiful SNOW--and big, fluffy flakes are still floating down as I write, so predictions of six inches may come true. Maybe I can get some photos to post.

Today I want to share another interesting piece of information from Discover Your Genius: How To Think Like History's Ten Most Revolutionary Minds by Michael Gelb. This piece is about Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers. Now wouldn't you like to think like Thomas Jefferson? I have to say that I agree with at least one thing he said: "I cannot live without books."
But rather than list his accomplishments, as Gelb has done at the beginning of this section, I want to give you some quotations from words which T.J. believed, and which are his 10 points for personal improvement. But first, in the spirit of improvement, here is a quotation from Thomas Jefferson: Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, & exercise them whenever an opportunity arises, being assured that they will gain strength by exercise as a limb of the body does, & that exercise will make them habitual.
Did you know that Jefferson believed in cultivating inner as well as external freedom? With Ben Franklin, he launched the American tradition of self-help. The following thoughts--with explanation by Michael Gelb--are given to inspire your own personal quest for freedom. So here goes!

Thomas Jefferson's Ten-Point Plan for Personal Improvement
  1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.  (Jefferson rose before sunrise each day to get a head start on his massive to-do lists.) 
  2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. (Jefferson believed in the spirit of personal as well as political independence and thought that it began with the ability to solve one's own problems.
  3. Never spend your money before you have it. (Jefferson learned this the hard way by violating this advice repeatedly and suffering the consequences.)
  4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. (Jefferson loved life and saw material objects as means to experience rather than as ends in themselves.)
  5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold. (At the center of power for many years, Jefferson witnessed the disastrous effects of egotism and believing one's own publicity on many powerful people.)
  6. We never repent of having eaten too little. (Jefferson's extraordinary vitality was in part a function of his healthy diet and his practice of leaving the table before he was full.)
  7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. (As a natural optimist, Jefferson was able to choose to see the best in all life's circumstances. This was his way of saying, "To get what you choose, choose what you've got.")
  8. How much pain has cost us the evils which have never happened. (Jefferson reminds us that worry is pointless. His optimism helped protect him from anxiety about the future.)
  9. Take things always by their smooth handle. (Jefferson was an elegant man with a talent for finding the path of least resistance.)
  10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred. (As a man of the Enlightenment, Jefferson championed the voice of reason and understood the great power of words to cause harm as well as good.)
These are such worthwhile adages to think about and I hope you will. We all know the political side of Thomas Jefferson, but as you can see from the personal side,  his kind of thinking is a part of why our country is so great. Pity the poor politicians we have today who care only for themselves and getting re-elected. They are power-hungry and greedy, and show us that we will lose our country without men who think more like Thomas Jefferson!

 Have a good Friday and count God's gifts to you every day. The snow is certainly the first one on my list today!

Monticello ~ Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia

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