A Final Thought, Stolen From One Of The Greats

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More fun stuff to come before the end of the week…

But, this evening, as we move into a time where millions of people explore taking action in the direction of change, looking backwards and forwards and maybe adjusting course, I just wanted to take a moment to share a passage from George Bernard Shaw that never ceases to inspire me.

It’s how I try to live my life…

I don’t always succeed, but, man, it’s fun trying.


To be used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me.  It is a splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brithly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Wishing you a year ahead filled with all that makes you come alive.

And, offering you a giant thank you for making the year that’s now coming to an end so much richer.

You guys rock!

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10 responses

10 responses to “A Final Thought, Stolen From One Of The Greats”

  1. Excellent passage! Thanks for sharing that Jonathan. I love this part: “Life is no brief candle to me. It is a splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brithly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”


  2. Great quote, and very true. And I do like your comment that you don’t always succeed, but you enjoy trying. I think that’s the best part!

  3. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Andrew – Yeah, that part is great!

    @ Joely – Hey, I’m in the thick of life, just like everyone else. 😉

  4. Hiro Boga says:

    Thank you for the reminder of what we’re really here to do–let the torch “burn as brightly as possible before handing it on”. Shaw didn’t always get it right, but when he did . . . oh!

    Bright blessings for the new year.

  5. Great quote. This is one I’ve had on my list for a while. Shaw’s words are something I’m just now starting to understand — that my life is not about me but rather about something bigger. Defining the “something bigger” is the part that’s difficult for me.

    Jonathan, thanks for your insight. I look forward to reading your book in January. Already have it pre-ordered on Amazon.

    Have a great 2009!

  6. esther says:

    hey jonathan:
    i adore that quote. it’s on the wall at new york theatre workshop, where i first read it. the start of the quote and the missing text in the “…” bears repeating too:

    “this is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose, recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little cloud of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

    i love that shaw contrasts the deeper joy of giving selflessly to the relatively selfish process of securing ones own happiness.

    and i too am looking forward to the career renegade work this year, hoping what comes out of it is identifying a path that leads me to a more giving career!

    happy new year!

  7. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Hiro – Thanks for the kind wishes, it is, indeed, a great reminder!

    @ Greg – That’s a great point, I actually get something slightly different out of it every time I go back to it.

    @ esther – Thanks so much for sharing the prelude to the quote, it really helps emphasis the important of contribution to the bigger community

  8. A great quote from the man who wrote Pygmalion, giving us the term Pygmalion Effect – which is creating change in others by seeing potential in them that they may not even be aware of.

    The metaphor of living like a burning torch, creates images (for me) of lighting the fire in others 🙂

    A good resolution for 2009?

  9. Truly inspiring words. Isn’t it great when someone else writes your feelings down is such an eloquent and precise way? I love it! Looking forward to unprecedented personal growth, achievement, and sharing in this brand new year. Jonathan, thanks so much for your contribution and please let me know if I can be of service somehow.

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