This I Believe

Boyd, Harry


  • Harry Boyd discusses curiosity and how it is important to development and progress, and, despite failures, why he always makes his best effort at success.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Harry Boyd wasn't born on a farm, and he's never lived on one. Nevertheless, his roots go deep into the soil of his native middle west. For the last ten years, he has been editor of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette and for twelve years before that, he worked for it as a reporter and editorial writer. His daily column, My America, a relaxed, easy-reading treatment of current problems and common human foibles, is carried in newspapers throughout the country. Now he shares with us his personal creed.
What keeps me going is a firm belief that I'm headed somewhere, that there's purpose in all this. I couldn't prove it, but if there were no purpose in life, nothing would make sense to me. What the purpose may be, I can't imagine. But that doesn't bother me. It's no more puzzling that my mind can't make out where we're going than that my ears can't pick up the voices I know are riding invisible radio waves all around me.
Through the years, men with imagination have probed persistently into the unknown in search of truth. One result of their efforts is that I now can tune my ears in on those radio voices. I think the main driving force in life is curiosity, the itch to know. I believe
that if men are free to go on venturing where their curiosity leads them, some day I'll sense what we're here for much more clearly than I can now.
Whatever the big purpose may be I believe its achievement depends as much on me as on anyone else. Each of us was born with a combination of abilities not quite like any other combination that was ever tried before--our own individual jigsaw puzzles. I believe it's my job to put together the pieces I was given so they'll make the full picture somebody had in mind. Somewhere, there's a combination that will unlock mysteries that have baffled men since the beginning of time. Any one of us may have it. I get a good deal of stimulation from the thought that my combination could be the one.
I sometimes think of myself as part of a vast, endless procession that is moving from the past into the future. Usually I'm plodding along paths marked out by those who've gone before me. But sometime in my life, I may be jostled to the outer edge of that procession and be so close to the borderline of human knowledge that I can reach out and grasp some truth no man ever touched before. I believe I must develop the capacities I was born with so that if and when that time comes, I can make the extra little stretch that could mean a richer life for everybody--the same extra effort some fish made one day, ages ago, and thereby opened up a way of life that made Shakespeares and Einsteins possible.
Most of my mental hurts have come from failing to do as well as I knew how. Usually I manage to blame them on somebody else, but I realize that's a symptom of immaturity. I think maturing is merely a matter of learning to stand on my own feet and trust my own capacities. Nobody else knows whether I'm doing the best I can with the tools I have to work with, any more than I
can tell whether somebody else is doing the best he can. We can't know all the factors that influence what others do. So I figure the best thing I can do for myself and for everybody else is to keep trying to get the utmost out of my own limited abilities. Unfortunately, I usually fall short. But I believe the nearer I come to achieving that, the closer I'll be to justifying my being here at all.
That was Harry Boyd, Kansas-born editor of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette. He is justly proud of his two children and the thriving newspaper he helped to build.