‘If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn when there is nothing left within you …’
Last week, a blind archer set the first world record of the London Games. Yes, a legally blind archer, with 10 percent vision in one eye and 20 in the other. But President Obama might tell him, if he were speaking without a teleprompter: You didn’t do that. Everyone around you really did it for you.
Nope, don’t think so. South Korean Im Dong-hyun could just have resigned himself to the fact that he was blind, and sat around garnering sympathy, completely understandably. But he didn’t: Fortune gave him a tough situation, and he’s making something great out of it. Yes, he himself. Sure people have inspired him and helped him, but in the end, it’s you—the individual—who determines whether you make something of the gifts you’ve been given. It’s you who, to quote the great British writer Rudyard Kipling—forces …
“your heart and nerve and sinew / To serve your turn long after they are gone, / And so hold on when there is nothing in you / Except the Will which says to them: Hold On!”
No one else can do that for you, in archery, in business, in life. Not government, not your teachers, not the people who pave the roads you drive on daily. To say otherwise mocks the notion of a free will, of distinctive human souls. Of course, a government obsessed with control can’t tolerate the idea of free-willed, independent citizens building their own destinies.
Read about the blind South Korean Olympian (1 page).