Thinking objectively can get you places. Sometimes there’s no right or wrong answers. Just circumstances. Building a factory can churn out useful products and create new jobs. At the same time, said factory can hurt a local business, or pollute the environment. When timing and location are considered, the choice to erect a factory can be regarded both right and wrong.
But not doing anything never did anyone any good. Also, you can’t please everyone. So you do what you have to do. In the words of Henry van Dyke…
“Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
Some people lack aptitude, while others have too much of it. But according to van Dyke, anyone can exploit what they do best and expect positive results. If you think you can do something and want to, you should go ahead and try it. Don’t let others dictate what you can and cannot do, and be vocal. If what you’re doing feels right, it probably is.
Henry van Dyke lived between 1852 and 1933. He was an American author, educator, and clergyman. He was a lecturer at the University of Paris and he led the committee that wrote the first Presbyterian printed liturgy. Dr. van Dyke and Woodrow Wilson were classmates in school and remained friends later after closing the books on their alma mater. After becoming President of the United States of America, Wilson appointed his good friend Minister to the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1913.
During World War I, Holland became a place of refuge for Americans all around Europe. This was a key moment in Dr. van Dyke’s life, as he aptly maintained the rights of Americans in Europe and organized work for their relief, despite lacking experience as an ambassador. After his return to the United States, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received accolades from his peers.