“EQUIPMENT” by Edgar A. Guest was Dr. Carver’s favorite poem; he can be heard reciting it at an audio station at the George Washington Carver Museum . It was also read aloud at the World Leadership Convention in 1993 by David Johnson. I think it is as fresh and inspiring today as the day it was written. My only question is how we define greatness? Any suggestions?

Equipment 

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,

You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,

Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes

And a brain to use if you would be wise.

With this equipment they all began,

So start for the top and say, “I can.”

 

Look them over, the wise and great

They take their food from a common plate,

And similar knives and forks they use,

With similar laces they tie their shoes.

The world considers them brave and smart,

But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

 

You can triumph and come to skill,

You can be great if you only will.

You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,

You have legs and arms and a brain to use,

And the man who has risen great deeds to do

Began his life with no more than you.

 

You are the handicap you must face,

You are the one who must choose your place,

You must say where you want to go,

How much you will study the truth to know.

God has equipped you for life, but He

Lets you decide what you want to be.

 

Courage must come from the soul within,

The man must furnish the will to win.

So figure it out for yourself, my lad.

You were born with all that the great have had,

With your equipment they all began,

Get hold of yourself and say: “I can.”

 Edgar A. Guest

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

 

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