Kellogg column: Graduates, stay true to your purpose and you will succeed
May 15, 2017
Congrats, high school and college graduates. Your day is in May. Like Dr. Seuss said, "You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!" As Americans, we are at liberty to harness our abilities and ambitions and work toward prosperity. Use your freedom and finances to further your purpose and strengthen your faith. Commit to a purpose-driven life founded on faith and you'll move mountains. Dare to dream and, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"
By design, the U.S. government has the power to guarantee our inalienable rights. It is also subject to the limitations of a republic intended to reflect the will of the people. Limits on government interference allow capitalism to stimulate creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. Our free-market economy creates more wealth and opportunities than any other economic system. Americans with a strong work ethic and attitude of personal responsibility can accomplish anything.
The ethic of work holds special promise in America. More than 80 percent of the millionaires in the U.S. are self-made. Leverage your talents, work hard and build wealth. You are free to go as far as ambition, energy and talents take you. Don't settle for complacency or dependency. Take charge of your life and further your finances. Money is a critical tool in life. Earn it and use it for things that matter. Start with your family and then look beyond. The world is full of need.
As a free and prosperous people, our struggle to survive is minimal. There's an irrefutable correlation between an increased standard of living and the ability to make a positive difference in the world. Liberty fosters enterprise, and capitalism provides the means to engage in cooperative trade that fiscally benefits our society. That gives Americans the means to address human issues beyond our own individual needs
Lasting solutions to problems come from within a person, never from the outside. Government is not the answer. Working to grow your financial resources will allow you to address the problems in your life. It also instills the mindset to help those around you. Great personal satisfaction comes when serving others, including God. Without money, you won't have the time or ability to pursue service, passions and dreams. Prosperity is indispensable in fulfilling your purpose.
The United States was founded to support our hope and faith. The Declaration of Independence recognizes our God-given rights to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Humans are endowed with independent will, conscience and imagination. Our government is intended to not inhibit those divine gifts. We have the freedom and power to choose and to act. You won't achieve your dreams or fulfill a meaningful purpose until you decide to take action.
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Start with the choice to be thankful. An attitude of gratitude builds belief that you are meant for something more. Move out of your comfort zones and cast fear aside. Be open to new people and opportunities. When we actively look for people to help, we build strong community and allow the divine seeds planted in our hearts to sprout into amazing gifts. With faith, patience and perspective you will discover your purpose and the path to fulfillment.
Of course, there are times when everything comes crashing down. But every challenge and difficulty we successfully confront as individuals strengthens faith, confidence and sense of purpose. When we respond personally and positively to challenges, we tap inner strength and faith, and that molds our character. It's easy to become mired in self-pity, hopelessness and bitterness. That's when faith in God allows acknowledgment of weakness in the moment, while trusting that he is ultimately in control.
Remember that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. The choice to skip suffering is dependent on faith and courage to stand up and move forward with purpose. The struggle against adversity is like exercise for our faith. In turn, strong faith builds an invincible spirit. If you want to be successful, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. Henry Ford said, "Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again." Have the courage and tenacity to keep following your dreams.
Graduates across America, you are blessed with unique gifts and talents. Make the most of them by living a life of purpose. The formula is simple: Liberty fosters prosperity; prosperity facilitates purpose; purpose strengthens faith; faith is the key to overcoming any challenge. The journey of life lies ahead, and you are ready to go. Stay true to your purpose and soar over the muck down below. "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way!"
James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant and the author of "Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller." Look for the novel on amazon.com and visit JamesDKellogg.com or email email@example.com.