Old Henry Ford

26 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

Aside from taking his place in history as an industrial titan, Henry Ford left a lot of inspiring quotes, as well as an enduring legacy.

  • “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”
  • “There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.”

We all have dreams and plans for what we want in life, and how we want ours to turn out, but not all of us are putting ourselves out there — working and hustling to make our plans bear fruit, or turn our dreams into reality. I know this. You know this.

Doubtless we’ve all had grand plans that we drew up, all excited and eager, only to have them quietly die on paper, stillborn.

It goes like this: we’re intelligent enough and glib enough to come up with at least 3 reasons off-the-cuff on why it:  a) never happened, b) would never have worked out and/or c) was doomed to fail.

We ‘re crazy-smart that way.

But here are the reasons why you let your great plans wither on the vine:
a) the dream didn’t really mean anything to you because a1) it wasn’t what you really wanted, a2) you just want it to stay a dream, because planning is more fun. (And when somebody asks, you can always say you’re still working out the kinks.)
b) you don’t want to do what it takes to make it come true, or
c) you were to afraid of what would happen if it did come true, if you did make it happen. That would prove that you would be responsible for making your dreams come true ohmylordnoo

The saddest part in this mess is that we only learn in hindsight. This literal looking-back shows us in stark detail that what we feared was nothing to be afraid of.

Afraid of what-might-happen, we turned what-could-happen into what-would-happen, so we let the dream go.

We just blew the fear up in our heads until it blotted out the dream.

Henry had something to say about that. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”


Many of us will be content to keep the status quo, afraid to rock the boat because, “Hey, dangerous times, right? We can start making changes when it’s more stable. There’s always tomorrow…”

We bank on the potential rather than test ourselves, and probably fail. And you know what’s really ironic?

Potential – Currently unfulfilled capacity to improve, develop, and achieve impressive feats. From the Latin for “power”, potentia.

We’d rather rest on the untested, the unfulfilled, than try and see what we’re really made of.

Shel Silverstein gave us a perfect rebuttal to this attitude:

“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ In The Sun,
Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away And Hid
From One Little Did.”

Far too many will die without ever really pushing their potential into full bloom. Not all of us will have lived the lives we dreamed of, or be the people we wanted to be, and at the end we’ll be haunted by thoughts of how we let small things stop us from being fully engaged to making our dreams and passions count. To make sure that our being here meant something.

But you have the choice, the chance, to change things. You have the potential. You have the power to act, and to fulfill your dreams. The choice, and the commitment is yours to make. You have only to act.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

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