The English essayist and divine of the 19th century, Sydney Smith, had this to say about initiative and courage: "A great deal of talent is lost in the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men who timidity prevented from making a first effort; who, if they could have been induced to begin, would, in all probability, have gone great lengths in the career of fame. The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold danger, but we must jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
"A man waits, and doubts, and consults his brother, and his particular friends, till one day he finds that he is sixty years old, and that he has lost so much time in consulting that he has no time to follow their advice."
One story which illustrates the kind of talent we like to have is about General MacArthur who called in one of his Army engineers during the war and asked: "How long will it take to throw a bridge across this stream?"
"Three days," the engineer told him.
"Good," snapped General MacArthur. "Have your draftsmen make drawings right away."
Three days later the General sent for the engineer and asked how the bridge was coming along.
"It's all ready. You can send the troops across right now if you don't have to wait for the pictures. They ain't done yet."—B. F. Coggin, Vice President of Convair
Do we know how to use our information and knowledge? Once upon a rime there was a ticket agent on a railroad in India. He knew all about selling tickets. He knew all about when the engine was coming and when it was not. But one day, he sent a telegram to New York to the people who owned the railroad, and it went something like this: "There is a tiger on the platform eating a customer. Please wire instructions."—Roger G. Imhoff, Clergyman
Thomas A. Edison, the great inventor, was talking one day with the governor of North Carolina, and the governor complimented him on his inventive genius. "I am not a great inventor," said Edison.
"But you have over a thousand patents to your credit, haven't you?" queried the governor.
"Yes, but about the only invention I can really claim as absolutely original is the phonograph," was the reply.
"Why, I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean," said the governor.
"Well," explained Edison, "I guess I'm an awfully good sponge. I absorb ideas from every source I can and put them to practical use. Then I improve them until they become of some value. The ideas which I use are mostly the ideas of other people who don't develop them themselves,"—Adapted from Just a Moment
The sweet little girl had a violent tussle with her particular chum. Her mother reprimanded her, and concluded by saying:
"It was Satan who suggested to you the pulling of Jenny's hair."
"I shouldn't be surprised," the child replied musingly. "But," she added proudly, "kicking her in the shins was entirely my own idea."