Listen to episode 311 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Making the Most Out of Life. Edited and adapted from Ready Money by George H. Knox.
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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Ready Money by George H. Knox, published in 1905.
What is nerve? Nerve is that which enables a person to hang on and either lose everything or win out. It is undertaking more than ordinary things. It is taking big risks on one's own ability. It is holding the fort against all-comers. It is doing the thing which the ordinary person thinks is impossible. It is setting your standard twice as high as your colleagues would set it for you, and then reaching it. It is burning your bridges behind you and staking your all on your own endeavor.
It is taking chances that are not chances — to ordinary people the risk would be enormous, but the man and woman of nerve is not even taking chances because they know they can carry the thing through and do not allow themselves to become side-tracked, or even annoyed by the people who say it can't be done.
Nerve consists not only in undertaking a hard task, but in everlastingly and unflinchingly standing by your work when your friends have given up in despair. That is the truest test of nerve. It is nerve that gives us our airplanes and Atlantic cables below the ocean. It is nerve that belts our continents with railroads and enables entrepreneurs to build up enterprises that astonish the world.
Nerve is that which enables one to calmly and unflinchingly face an unpleasant task, or a seemingly unendurable condition, when duty requires it.
Don't jump to the conclusion that people are trying to cheat you. It is all right to be businesslike; you must be. But it is all wrong to be unbusinesslike. It is all wrong to tie your business up in such a way that you have to depend either upon the honesty or the judgment of someone else to enable you to succeed in fulfilling your promises.