virgin islands scene

Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
-- Walt Whitman


Wednesday, January 29, 1997

Nobel’s Wake Up Call

One morning Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist who made a fortune from his invention of dynamite, awoke to find his own obituary printed in the newspaper. The newspaper story had been a mistake, of course. But after reading it, Nobel realized that he didn’t want to be known for giving society the ability to blow things up. Instead, he wanted to leave a legacy that promoted peace, culture and science.

So he set aside the majority of his multi-million dollar fortune to fund annual prizes for exceptional achievement in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and world peace. Today, a hundred years after his death, few people realize that Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite, yet almost everyone has heard of the Nobel Prizes.

Alfred Nobel was fortunate enough to read his own obituary while he still had the opportunity to change the focus of his life. And as a result, his efforts continue to benefit mankind to this day.

We often get so caught up in the day-to-day, urgent details of life. Yet in all our getting and doing, we need to regularly step back and look at the big picture. It can often make a significant difference.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1997 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.