“Start where you are with what you have, knowing that what you have is plenty enough.” – Booker T. Washington, Educator

Whitney Young, founder of the National Urban League, gave a group of civic leaders a clue as to why equal opportunity is so important: “If you give us the tools,” he said, “we will finish the job.” Young’s words are worth remembering. How many times have you labored at an unsuccessful activity only to find out that having a particular tool could have saved you a great deal of time, energy and frustration?

This is because we think of tools as tangible instruments. However, to make the most of success, we must use the word tool in a much broader sense. We’ve heard the expression “climbing the ladder of success” so often that its significance is lost in its simplicity. A ladder is nothing but a tool, just an instrument to help facilitate work. Likewise a job is a tool to be used in arriving at our goals in life.

A ladder is designed for vertical but not horizontal use. It is to be used for an upward climb. Also, a ladder cannot be climbed except by using one rung at a time. Just as people do not stumble into success but rather grow into it, a ladder offers only a progressive means of movement. We use each rung as a foundation to reach greater heights. If we try to skip a rung, disaster is imminent.

Perhaps the most important similarity between one’s vocation and a ladder is that it requires effort to climb in either case. Not all are wiling to make the sacrifice to reach the top of the ladder, but those who climb high enough will escape the congestion at the bottom.

Dreams are the tools of the successful. I will dream big dreams.

Printed with the permission of the author, Dr. Dennis Kimbro

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