This I Believe

Winton, David J.


  • David J. Winton describes his faith in the future, his belief that material gains do not yield lasting satisfaction, his belief in the potential of people to achieve greatness, and his advice for focusing on the present rather than dwelling on past failures.
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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. David J. Winton is a Minnesota industrialist. He calls himself a small businessman whose livelihood comes from the soil, lumber and oil. He served his country in both World Wars. He won the Distinguished Service Cross during World War I while with the American Field Service and Tank Corps. During the Second World War, he held posts in the war production board, and he served as chairman of the National Policy Committee for five years. Since the war, he's served the State Department and the Defense Department, and was on the United States National Commission for UNESCO. Here now is David J. Winton.
Our days are in His hands. Yet there’s too much evidence of the unexplainable and unseen and unknown in our everyday lives, for example the birth of a child, to make me feel I must make complete logic out of the spiritual side of life, I recognize the unknown future but try to approach it with optimism and faith. Some of this feeling is gleaned from the words of wise men. Often from the Bible or from a poem or sometimes from a speech, I gain hope and increased confidence in the future of our world and a growing faith in things to come.
When I was a boy, my father spoke often—lightly, yet seriously—about the deceitfulness of riches. As I grow older and watch the results of building material idols, I begin to see what he meant. He believed usefulness, not just material gain, paves the way
for a life of satisfaction. When I have followed stark material greed, I generally come up with a flat feeling of failure and frustration.
I believe in people, good, bad, and indifferent. In every person I’ve known, there’s been a certain greatness, often hidden, a definite spark that if touched releases unknown and often unexpected capacities. It’s a satisfying thing to see that spark fan into a flame of growth and achievement, for the spark is there in each of us, I am convinced.
So far, I have found no complete armor against life’s troubles and reverses, but I have found some partial defenses. For instance, I believe in keeping my material needs and ambitions within attainable limits. I believe in leaning on other people as little as possible. Better still, I often find relief from my own problems if I try to do something about someone else’s
troubles. It helps me turn my thoughts out again where they belong and shrinks my troubles back into perspective, where they often look dwarfed. Honest and realistic perspective of one’s self and one’s problems is the first step toward meeting successfully what life brings.
What happens to us in this world is not nearly as important as the way we take what happens to us. Experience, good or bad, is the raw material of life on which we work. I have known people who have been defeated by tragedy, and others who have been defeated by success; also people who have gained strength by misfortune, and confidence from good fortune. The important thing is that we are able, at least in part, to determine for ourselves whether we shall handle life and what it brings us as a
triumph or a disaster.
Like most people, I’ve handled experiences both ways. I’ve learned the truth of the quotation, “Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall,” and I hope I’m beginning to learn not to spend too much of today on yesterday and yesterday’s failures. On the table by my bed at home, there is a quotation by Carlisle that’s a vitamin to me. I believe in it passionately. Here it is: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
That was David J. Winton, who has found that usefulness to others, rather than material gain, paves the way for a satisfying life.