A great man is one sentence

May 24th, 2011

“In 1962, Clare Boothe Luce, one of the first women to serve in the U.S. Congress, offered some advice to President John F. Kennedy. “A great man,” she told him, “is one sentence.”

Abraham Lincoln’s sentence was: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.”
Franklin Roosevelt’s was: “He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.”

Luce feared that Kennedy’s attention was so splintered among different priorities that his sentence risked becoming a muddled paragraph. You don’t have to be a president—of the United States or of your local gardening club—to learn from this tale. One way to orient your life toward greater purpose is to think about your sentence.

Maybe it’s: “He raised four kids who became happy and healthy adults.” Or “She invented a device that made people’s lives easier.” Or “He cared for every person who walked into his office regardless of whether that person could pay.” Or “She taught two generations of children how to read.” As you contemplate your purpose, begin with the big question: What’s yours?

din Drive, a lui Daniel Pink

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