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The enduring recognition of high responsibility

From Pulitzer Prize winning writer Barbara Tuchman to Michael I. Sovern, the 17th president of Columbia University, esteemed leaders have been encouraging us to accept responsibility.

On Sept. 22, 1991, Sovern addressed the audience at the 75th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize and his talk was entitled "The enduring recognition of high responsibility."

In his talk he said,

Pulitzer Prize winners do not rest on their laurels. They believe with George Eliot that 'The reward of duty is the power to fulfill another.'”

He continued espousing the importance of the commitment to:

  • The quest for truth,
  • The exercise of freedom,
  • Constant vigilance,
  • The performance of public service,
  • The expression of talent or genius, and the most powerful attribute...
  • A moral vision.

As a nation it feels like we've lost our moral vision.

I say "it feels like" because I don't think we've lost it but I think both the amoral and the immoral are simply louder and prouder right now and have succeeded in shouting down those of us with a moral vision for ourselves and our nation.

In order to regain control of the dialogue and return our nation to a path towards prosperity, we must work on ourselves first and foremost. 

So embrace responsibility, which means you must yourself to a higher standard and welcome discipline in your life.

For it is through discipline that we are truly free.

For example, my BMW 535i calls for premium unleaded gasoline yet as the owner, I am free to put regular unleaded, mid-range unleaded, or even diesel. 

Are the engineers at BMW limiting me or giving me instructions on how to enjoy the freedom of the road and get the most out of my Ultimate Driving Machine by having the disicipline to only use premium unleaded gas?

Likewise, you and I are free to eat junk food, fill our livers with booze and our lungs with smoke. While it may be fun for a while, how long will we perform at our best?

Therefore, remain constantly vigilant in regards to what goes into your mind, your body, and your soul.

Seek to serve, which can be done through entrepreneurship and selling.

In Old English sell or sellan (verb), is of Germanic origin and related to Old Norse selja, which means "give up, sell."

Early use included the sense "give, hand (something) over voluntarily in response to a request." Money can be handed over in response to a request!

Finally, be proud of your talent, your genius, and do everything in your power to express it to its fullest, which will require you to charge handsomely so you will have the funds to spread the word far and wide.

In the spreading of the word of your talents and genius you will be able to influence the world with your moral vision and in so doing you and I can follow proudly in the footsteps of Michael Sovern, Barbara Tuchman, and even Joseph Pulitzer himself.

We embrace freedom and responsibility here,

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