Sunday Snippet: William Jennings Bryan

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Some people believe that they are destined to lead one life or another. They may feel that they are destined for mediocrity and, no matter what they do, they’ll be average at best. William Jennings Bryan was not one of these people. He believed that you have to work to achieve your dreams.

Ironically, the American politician had quite the interesting career. He was a major player in the Democratic Party during the late 1800s and early 1900s, being selected as the party’s candidate for the President of the United States three times. Bryan never won, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. That’s not to say that he was a failure either, since he did serve in Congress and he was the 41st Secretary of State, serving under President Woodrow Wilson.

Was he destined never to take the post as President? That’s up to debate, but I’m sure he believed he was entitled to nothing and that every success had to come with great effort on his part. This kind of philosophy carries through for whatever career you choose, whether it be freelance writing, professional sports, or academic research. It’s about the choices you make along the way.

On a side note, I’m not sure how I feel about William Jennings Bryan from a political standpoint. He advocated for prohibition and was an opponent of Darwinism, but at the same time, he had great faith in the goodness of the common people and championed the popular democracy. He was also called “The Great Commoner,” which isn’t exactly the most prestigious of titles.

What do you think? Is your lot in life pre-determined by fate? Or is life what you make of it?