Ruminating on a Quote From Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sow a thought and you reap an action.
All actions are born out of a thought, even seemingly spontaneous ones that happen in the blink of an eye. Malcolm Gladwell calls this rapid cognition. But not all thoughts bear fruit in action. Many thoughts remain and stay in the mind. Some become good intentions but are never executed into action. There is the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intention. Sometimes, we end up doing the opposite of our good intentions. Peter, ever the the brash and brusque person that he was, ended up denying Jesus despite his boast that he would lay down his life for the Master.

Sow an act and you reap a habit.
What I do changes me and what I do repeatedly shapes me. Such repeated actions form my habit. Aristotle, being the brilliant philosopher that he was, taught us that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Sow a habit and you reap a character.
Our habits make us. Or, if they are bad, they break us. It takes time to form our habits but once formed, they define who we are. Repeated acts of kindness and giving eventually make us good persons. Repeated acts of negativity eventually make us cynical and even bitter persons. Stephen Covey taught us: “Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.”

Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
Who we are determines the life we live. Character is destiny. A man of character has purpose and meaning in his life. Friedrich Nietzsche, quoted by Victor Frankl in his inspiring book Man’s Search for Meaning, taught us that “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.
John 13:31-38

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