This I Believe

Sneed, Edward R.


  • Edward Sneed describes how ambition used to drive his life, until he learned how to count his blessings, and received great strength and happiness in return.
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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. Edward R. Sneed is a lawyer and businessman. He grew up in Arkansas and worked there as a cashier in a bank until his late twenties. He then returned to his native St. Louis where he was licensed to practice law. From the legal staff of the Lou Bright Sales Corporation he became sales manager of automotive products. In this position he started research on the changing trends of petroleum distribution. He is now in charge of planned distribution with the Socony-Vacuum Oil company. When he is not busy on that job one of his hobbies is recording his thoughts in writing. Ed Sneed now shares with us some of his thinking on a way of life.
As a young man, I built up scrapbooks of articles that appealed to me. One article became my guiding star. The title was, “Cultivate an Unholy Discontent.” The general thought throughout was to always be ambitious to the maximum. It stressed, therein, the unlimited possibilities of mind and ingenuity. It reiterated that success will be in proportion to the plus that is added in study, thought, analyzation, and ingenuity over and above the daily demands of the job.
Being ambitious, as most people are, I concentrated too strongly on the unholy-discontent frame of mind. Many a morning or evening, over many years in driving to my office or home, I would find myself at my destination and wonder how I made all of the stop signs unconsciously.
I say unconsciously because my conscious mind was so filled with plans for my work and getting ahead, that I did not drive or see consciously. My thoughts were largely on success, which always seemed far off on the horizon, and material things, which I did not possess but which I thought I should have. Disappointments, failure of expectations, and frustrations weighed too heavily in my thinking process.
It was not until in my forties that I began to realize that ambition should be modified by thankfulness. Until then, I did not think of, or count, my blessings. I took them for granted. To put it mildly, it was quite a shock to awaken to the fact that I had been continuously enjoying the greatest pleasures bestowed upon mankind without being appreciative or thankful.
It was not until then that I found a big surge of mental strength, faith, hope, and happiness that comes from daily and frequent prayerful conversations with, and thanks to, our Supreme Father. From then on, I looked up not down. Every minute now, I am conscious of all that is beautiful in this world about me. Before then, I did not see it. How thankful I am that I have good eyes and can see and enjoy all of this beauty.
In my mind now, and always, is a scale with two balanced trays. Whenever part of my thinking process starts to dwell on that which I feel I think I should have but do not have, I pile on one tray of the scale some of my blessings:
health, family, home, friends; our country, where we still enjoy freedoms; a good job; and, last but not least, all of the beautiful, which the Creator has placed here for us to enjoy. When these blessings have been loaded onto one tray of my mind-scales, I am ashamed to even think of offsetting and placing my petty discontents on the other tray. They are always so insignificant compared to the blessings that I enjoy.
That was Edward R. Sneed who in living his life has learned that blind ambition can darken many joys and blessings.