A comparison has been made between Edmund Burke and his brother, one a famed statesman and orator whose ideas provided the foundation for a widely respected political philosophy, the other, Richard, a man whose name, ideas and thoughts became virtually irrelevant after his death. Few people would question who was more successful. Because Edmund obviously surpassed his brother in fame, it is striking that many who knew the historically insignificant Richard considered him the brother with more natural talent. The difference, then, between the remarkable eighteenth-century thinker and his unsung brother lies in what each did with his respective gifts.
Edmund Burke achieved greatness because he took action. While he was young, he worked hard to gain knowledge and experience; as an adult, he used these to form ideas. When he had strong ideas, he turned them into words that influenced the world. Because he was willing to expend great effort in conveying them, his thoughts and ideas attracted followers from many countries and subsequent generations, and he became known as the "Father of Modern Conservatism."
Throughout his life, Edmund constantly took action not only to reach personal excellence but also to champion causes. He once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," and his accomplishments are evidence that he truly believed it.
Such a notable man as Edmund Burke is one worth recognizing, so it is his example that I look to for the basis of my goals. I want to achieve my potential, and promote what is right. I also want always to remember to stand up for truth and what is good.
My goal is not recognition such as Edmund Burke received, but I want to pattern my life after him by taking action. What will determine my success is not just my ability to achieve, but my willingness to take action.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.