The “bull’s eye” may not be hit by the rifleman whose hand is uncertain, and his footing infirm. The goal will never be reached by the runner who swerves from a straight course, and wanders into a pathless wilderness. The student will accomplish nothing who flies from study to study with the restlessness of disease; and no man, whatever his condition or mental powers, will win or deserve success, unless he fixes upon some special object to be carried out, and through cloud and sunshine steadily perseveres in his settled purpose.
Purpose, indeed, is the very essence the main element of a heroic character. It was purpose which animated Ignatius Loyola in his ascetic labors; in persecution, and captivity, and physical suffering, still toiling at the fulfillment of his cherished design, the establishment of that “Society of Jesus,” whose influence on the world’s history has been so signal and remarkable. Martin Luther’s purpose” achieved the Reformation. Oliver Cromwell’s purpose” turned the tide of battle at Naseby, and placed him in the seat of the English Kings. Mahoney’s “purpose” built up a mighty empire and fixed the firm foundations of a new creed. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “purpose” was to build a powerful non violent movement and bring people of color excess to the ballot box. Barack Obama “purpose” was to create a movement of change that would propel him to the President of the United States of America and the leader of the free world.
The man who concentrates his energies upon the fulfillment of an unalterable design will assuredly wring success from the hands of a reluctant fortune. Such a man will take no heed of “impossibilities.” “Impossible?” exclaimed Napoleon, “there is nothing impossible; it is a word only found in the dictionary of fools.” Jesus said, “If you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.” The difference between genius and mediocrity lies chiefly in this matter of “purpose” for true genius has, what mediocrity usually wants, the capacity of labor. “Work and purpose” is the moral of every heroic life.