How Danny Thomas Changed My Perspective

danny thomas

I read the greatest quote today. A piece of advice Danny Thomas provided his daughter Marlo when she was at the beginning of her career.

“I raised you to be a thoroughbred, and when thoroughbreds run, they wear blinders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead with no distractions from the other horses. They run their own race. That’s what you have to do. Don’t listen to anyone comparing you to me or anyone else. You just run your own race.”

Throughout my life, I’ve compared my success – or lack of success – with my peers, with those I admire and have never met, and with my small group of friends.  I’m not jealous, nor overly competitive, merely constantly fighting feelings of inadequecy. Why have I not done more with my talents and interests?  Why am I so self conscious about my perceived lack of lifetime accomplishments?

I have many good years left, I hope, to do something important. But what is that “something” I’ve been chasing all these years? I still can’t seem to identify it.  Of course I can’t actualize what I can’t identify.  This has been a source of frustration for me most of my life.

From this moment on, I will do my very best to not compare myself with other women, others with rheumatoid arthritis, baby boomers, social activists, or accomplished writers.  I will still admire and praise their accomplishments. And my thoughts will no longer jump ahead to guilt for my perceived lack of success. My next thought could be “how can I help this cause” or “is this the something I’ve been searching for?”

And I will think of Danny Thomas and be grateful that Marlo had such a wise and loving father. And I will run my own race.