“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.” -John Galt, Atlas Shrugged
It’s no secret that I love Atlas Shrugged. It is a great book full of well developed and fleshed out characters, has a interesting story line, is very quotable, and has interesting ideas to consider. In it, John Galt is one of my favorite characters. His commitment to his ideals is admirable and his ability to transform the world through them is something that we can all learn from. That is why I love this quote by John Galt on values and goals. He saw how he wanted his life and the world to be, and he set out to transform the world in that image.
This quote is great because is speaks to the hero within all of us. Or at least all of us that have some level of ambition. It is often hard to accomplish your goals, and the price of achievement can be very high.
But this quote shows how to complete them and live well while completing them. Instead of backing down or compromising your highest values, hold on tight to them. They are what should guide you along your path to greatness, and if you do hold onto them and achieve greatness, then at least some aspect of the world will be shaped in that image. John Galt points that out and in doing so provides a road map to success and greatness.
This quote is one that we should all hold dear and keep in mind. Yes, the struggle to achieve your goals can be difficult. It often is. It can be even harder if you refuse to compromise your standards. Yet the feeling of achievement is so much greater if you reach success without compromising. That means that your values and goals are correct and obtainable, which is, I think, the highest honor that be paid to them and you.
This quotation reminds me of the one by Socrates that I recently posted about- “The really important thing is not to live, but to live well…” That could be paraphrased as, “The really important thing is not to achieve your goals, but to achieve them in line with your values,” and I think the basic message of both it and this quote by John Galt on values and goals would hold true; you only get one shot at life, life it correctly. Get out of bed and build something. Live your life the right way. Don’t compromise on what’s important.
Atlas Shrugged teaches a plethora of lessons like that. Buy a copy and read it to discover more of them!
Image from AZ Quote