The next selection from Napoleon Hill‘s Think and Grow Rich teaches us something about maximising the opportunities that we create through our dedicated decision-making processes. This lesson comes also from those characters of the American Revolution.
Before the first meeting of the new Congress, another leader, in a different section of the country, was deep in the process of publishing a “Summary View of the Rights of British America.” He was Thomas Jefferson, of the Province of Virginia, whose relationship to Lord Dunmore, (representative of the Crown in Virginia), was as strained as that of Hancock and Adams with their Governor.
Shortly after his famous Summary of Rights was published, Jefferson was informed that he was subject to prosecution for high treason against his majesty’s government. Inspired by the threat, one of Jefferson’s colleagues, Patrick Henry, boldly spoke his mind, ending his remarks with a sentence which will forever remain a classic, “If this be treason, then make the most of it.”
The Power Within
It was such men as these who, without power, without authority, without military strength, without money, who sat in solemn consideration of the destiny of the colonies, beginning at the opening of the First Continental Congress, and continuing at intervals for two years—until on June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee rose, addressed the Chair, and made this motion to the startled Assembly:
“Gentlemen, I make the motion that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states, that they be absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved.”
Lee’s astounding motion was discussed fervently, and for so long that he began to lose patience. Finally, after days of argument, he again took the floor, and declared, in a clear, firm voice, “Mr. President, we have discussed this issue for days. It is the only course for us to follow. Why, then Sir, do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to re-establish the reign of peace, and of law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom, which may exhibit a contrast, in the felicity of the citizen, to the ever increasing tyranny.”
Before his motion was finally voted on, Lee was called back to Virginia because of serious family illness, but before leaving, he placed his cause in the hands of his friend, Thomas Jefferson, who promised to fight until favorable action was taken. Shortly thereafter the President of the Congress (Hancock) appointed Jefferson as Chairman of a Committee to draw up a Declaration of Independence.
The Committee labored long and hard on a document which would mean, when accepted by the Congress, that every man who signed it would be signing his own death warrant should the Colonies lose in the fight with Great Britain, which was sure to follow.
No Turning Back
For these men, their commitment to their cause and their decided course of action meant that there was no turning back for them. This is not the first time that Napoleon Hill has tried to impress the importance of this upon us, but it is an important lesson to heed—when you continue to only make half-hearted attempts, you will continue to only enjoy half the result. Sometimes it takes a leap and having your only option be success!
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