"Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account." --John W. Gardner (1912-2002)
As president of the Carnegie Corporation, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Johnson, founder of Common Cause, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, John Gardner was a leader in every sense of the word. The above quotation comes from a speech he gave at an executive conference in Kona, Hawaii in April of 1993 titled The Road to Self-Renewal, subsequently published in the March 1994 issue of Stanford alumni magazine.