This I Believe

Hall, G. Leslie


  • Leslie Hall explains the secret to staying vibrant living in the present and not worrying.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. G. Leslie Hall is one of Norfolk, Virginia's pioneer businessmen. Over half a century ago, he established the G. Hall Optical Company, and since that time, he has served his city in a variety of capacities, including the presidency of its chamber of commerce and the chairmanship of its Office of Price Administration. These are some of the things he has come to believe in the course of his long and useful career.
When, on occasion, I must tell my age, almost invariably someone exclaims, "How do you manage to stay so vigorous and enthusiastic at the age of 75?" There is no pat answer to longevity, as there is no answer to many of the complicated functions or unpredictable happenings in a man's life. Yet, in calculating our destiny, we cannot discount the will to live, to express ourselves, to compete for a place in the sun, and our unwillingness to die.
I believe a man can add much to his lifespan by an adjustment to what I like to think of as the "rhythm" of life: the calm that follows the storm, or the good and bad that is inherent in life on this planet, as it is inherent in man himself. I believe it is injurious to the spirit and to the body to anticipate misfortune or ill luck. It will come, yes, as surely as day follows night.
Yet I think a man can die a thousand deaths worrying about what may happen.
There is an old German axiom which, translated, warns, "Paint the devil on the wall and he is sure to appear;" and another, equally pictorial and memorable: "As you shout into the hills, so the echo returns to you." These truths have meaning to me, for if I think in terms of fear and trouble, my imagination brings forth what I fear. Distrust my fellow man and I will distort him, so that he automatically becomes untrustworthy in my eyes. Shout my pessimism or joy in life into the hills, and as true as I live and breathe, the echo will return to discourage or enhance my days, and speed or block my rhythm of life.
The echo I hear is the trust and optimism of life that I shout to the hills, and in tune with my rhythm is an enthusiasm for living. I have learned over the many years of active living--years that brought their full share of hard knocks, disappointments, and sorrows--that to worry about the future is futile. To live for today is wise. Perhaps that is one of the reasons my friends think I look younger than my 75 years.
I believe more frustration, more needless anxiety, more sleepless nights, more lines in the face, more ulcers of the stomach, more persons in institutions for mental disorders, more governments armed to the teeth for war, can be laid to this demon of
worry than can ever be calculated. Caution, foresight, and sane reasoning? Yes. But once I have done my best, worked towards the highest goal one can attain--to live the good life, the unselfish life, the hardworking life, for my own and my fellow man's betterment--I think the rest can be left in the lap of the gods. That's where it will be anyway, and all my worrying will not alter the picture one whit.
And so this I believe: Faith in God, in myself, and in my fellow man; leaving the future to develop as it will; flowing with the rhythm of life is the surest way to contentment, the wisest way to fulfillment.
That was the credo of G. Leslie Hall, one of Norfolk, Virginia's most distinguished senior citizens.