Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
The foundation stones of great lives are cut from the granite of audacious goals. Steve Nimmons
Norman Rockwell is a beloved American painter and I picked up a book of his paintings that graced the Saturday Evening Post. He is most famous for the paintings that were on the cover of the Post, but he created iconic paintings during the civil rights movement, and paintings of the four freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These four freedoms were the focus of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s State of the Union address on January 6, 1941.
Those four freedoms are not possessed by everyone, but those of us fortunate to possess all four of them live a blessed life. Some say Norman Rockwell didn’t paint American life but an idealized American life. There are many facets to life and if Norman Rockwell painted what he knew or even what he thought or hoped was the reality of the time for many Americans, he knew for sure it was not the reality of all.
We can never write or paint all, we have to have a subject, a character and we write or paint through that character’s eyes. No book or painting can speak about everything to everyone. I love driving in the country past picturesque farms but I know all farms are not picturesque. I love family photos but even in family photos that look idyllic, the real story may be angst and turmoil.
The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting and achieving goals. Og Mandino
Because we don’t have a perfect society does not mean it isn’t a good society. I don’t want my grandson to grow up with too much of the “reality” of what is bad with the world overwhelming the “reality” of what is good in the world, society, family, and communities. Is it wrong to focus on the beautiful realities of life instead of the ugly realities of life? Does that make me a Pollyanna, and if it does is that so bad?
One of the things that struck me as I read more about Norman Rockwell is his insecurities as an artist. If an artist of his talent and productivity had misgivings that he wasn’t good enough, then perhaps that is the human condition and we should all realize thinking we aren’t good enough is normal. It might be abnormal to not question our abilities, decisions, accomplishments, and what we bring to society.
Aiming high in life like President Roosevelt with his four freedoms during the Second World War may seem like something we can never have, for everyone, at all times. Does this mean having a worthwhile and audacious goal isn’t what we should strive for? What if giving up on our audacious goals because they seem too hard, the path too painful and the road too long is our failing. Giving up our belief that life can be better, relationships can be healed, and life can be sustainable might be where we fail.
What if setting audacious goals is what we should be doing? Have we set an audacious goal lately?
I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. Martin Luther King Jr.
The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself. Bo Bennett
Goal setting is the most important aspect of all improvement and personal development plans. Confidence is important, determination is vital, certain personality traits contribute to success, but they all come into focus in goal setting. Paul J. Meyer
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