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The Candle and the Fire

Tom was tired when he went to see his mentor Dwyer.

They sat quietly in Dwyer’s old cabin, whittling wood with their knives in front of the fireplace when Tom finally spoke up.

“I don’t know how you do it,” he said.

“Do what?” asked Dwyer.

“I don’t know how you stay motivated to help people after so many years. I feel like giving up and I’ve hardly started.”

Dwyer smiled wryly and replied, “Can you blow out that candle for me?”

Tom did as he was asked.

“Now, can you blow out this fire? Dwyer asked.

“Don’t be silly,” Tom replied, “Of course I can’t.”

Dwyer put down his knife and his piece of wood and looked his protegé in the eye.

“When your motivation is as small as the candle’s flame, it’s easy to extinguish, but when it rages like the fire you see before you, nothing can blow it out.”

I’ve written a very similar story before, but the image of the candle and the fire was too compelling not to use.

My challenge to you is to find a reason for doing what you do that can’t be extinguished when you feel tired, when you come up against obstacles and when you don’t feel as though you are making any progress. If you don’t have a compelling reason to press on, it’s too easy to give up.

So let me ask you, is your motivation level like a candle or a fire?

And what are you going to do to keep it from dying down?

See you in class Master Bartley


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