< Do You Have What it Takes?
Chapter 5 - DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

"Men are born to succeed, not to fail.
Henry David Thoreau

More people fantasize about living in the country than actually move there, nearly one-third of Americans. Nostalgia plays a role, but the primary factor separating wannabes from ruralites seems to be fear—fear of being unable to make a living, fear of independence, fear of losing known social conditions. Call it comfort zone clutch—cocoon life—staying with the known even when it is emotionally stultifying, even when health and life are endangered.

In You Can’t Grow Tomatoes in Central Park: The Urban Dropouts Guide to Rural Relocation, Frank Ruegg and Paul Bianchina report that respondents to their survey of those who had moved agreed on two success factors: perseverance and a positive attitude. The survey also found the majority of respondents had, as children, "dreamed about living in a special, less densely populated spot."

In my experience, those who have triumphantly transplanted themselves are independent types not much concerned with approval ratings. They are self-directed. While often gregarious, they treasure peace, quiet, privacy.

Surprisingly, most who make the city-to-sanity move are not strongly concerned about making a living. Most move with at least a small stash to back them, easy to accomplish when selling sky-priced city caves and buying country cottages. Most overcome financial challenges and, in three to five years, are making as much as before while enjoying lower overhead.

The following listing of human characteristics is appropriate to many matters more mundane than finding our ideal country place. But here, regarding this essential enterprise, they are critical and worthy of review. As greater minds than mine have expounded previously, this chapter consists primarily of quotes.

A dream

You’ve got to create a dream. You’ve got to uphold the dream.
If you can’t, go back to the factory or go back to the desk.

Eric Burdon

Yes, I know this is redundant. But I believe that the importance of dreaming cannot be overstated.

Passion

The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.
Nadia Boulanger

A plan

The journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single phone call.
Confucius Bell

Hopefully you will have a plan by the time you finish this book. Perhaps you already do. Making a plan is simply gathering information, investigating possibilities, and choosing alternatives. The more information, the sounder the resulting plan.

Positive focusing

Keeping your mind on the goal and moving toward the goal is the essence of positive focusing. All the rest is fun, but not essential. Unless, of course, you consider fun to be essential.
Peter McWilliams

Positive thinking by itself rarely gets us what we want except positive thoughts. Positive focusing helps move us toward our goal, even if we have negative thoughts about it. Together, positive thinking and positive focusing help move us happily to our goal.

Open-mindedness

Minds are like parachutes. They only function when open.
James Dewar

The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing—to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.
John Keats

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.
Charles F. Kettering

The beautiful souls are they that are universal, open, and ready for all things.
Michel de Montaigne

The quality of open-mindedness is essential to learning. Never fear to be open to new ideas. Nothing new or useful ever results from a closed mind. Specifically, consider all the country, not just those areas to which you presently feel drawn. Once in your new place, let your brain be like a sponge.

Persistence

Writing is easy.
All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.

Gene Fowler

Stay with it until you get what you want. Few have said it as well as cool Calvin Coolidge: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Here’s one by Lucretius that will make a picture: "The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence, but by oft falling."

Ability to make decisions

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.
William James

By picking up this book you’ve already made a decision. We’ll get back to this one later, when we need it most.

Willingness to take a chance

Be bold—and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Basil King

Willingness to take a chance derives from passion and confidence—knowing that we’re ready because we’ve accumulated adequate information. This book provides the recipe for the ideal country place. That will contribute to your confidence level. Add passion and stir.

Tolerance

Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

We are all full of weakness and errors, let us mutually pardon each other our follies—it is the first law of nature.
Voltaire

Let us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry. Let us renew our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be Himself, and free.
Edna St. Vincent Millay


Go back to Chapter 4 - Who are you?
Go on to Chapter 6 - Wants, needs, and fantasies.
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