More inspiration from John Bogle!

In a recent post, I talked about John Bogle and how John’s podcast interview with Greg Gallant inspired me. After listening to the podcast, I started to explore and read material authored by or involving John Bogle.

I noticed that  John had written a book titled Character Counts where he talks about the creation and building of the Vanguard Group. I was piqued by the book and decided to buy it (this was about 3-4 years back). The book is chock-full of inspirational and thoughtful messages, speeches, and ideas. I highly recommend the book!

I felt it would be a good idea to share some of the material in the book that I enjoyed and have bookmarked.

In the chapter, The Impossible Dream, John mentions a poem from the musical play The Man of La Mancha that seems to be dear to his heart. I enjoyed reading the poem and am filled with energy and a desire to strive for excellence in whatever I do. I hope you enjoy this, too!

The Impossible Dream.1

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unbearable wrong,
To love, pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star,

This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,
To fight for the right without question or pause,
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.

And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I’m laid to my rest,

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars.

I also enjoyed a quote mentioned in the beginning of the chapter Rejoice!. The quote helps me in understanding and accepting that good things can happen from what we may perceive as bad or tough circumstances.

The Letter of Paul to the Romans (5:3)

Rejoice in your sufferings in the knowledge that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.

I was reminded of a verse in Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem, Savitri after reading the quote above.

None can reach heaven who has not passed through hell.

There is a belief in Hinduism that suffering and challenges in life are nature’s way of elevating us to the next level of consciousness and accomplishment. The above quotes seem to be hinting at these subtle truths.

In the chapter, The Road Less Traveled By, John narrates an Aesop fable that I found very meaningful.

Aesop’s fable, Hercules and the Wagoner:

A wagoner was driving his team along a muddy lane when the wheels of his wagon sank so deep in the mire that no efforts of his horses could move them. As he stood there, looking helplessly on, and calling loudly at intervals upon Hercules for assistance, the god himself appeared and said to him, “Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and goad on your horses, and then you may call on Hercules to assist you. If you won’t lift a finger to help yourself, you can’t expect Hercules or any one else to come to your aid.”

John mentions immediately after narrating the fable that, God helps those who help themselves. This fable helped me realize that instead of acting as a victim of circumstances, I could rely on my personal power to effect the changes I want.


  1. Copyright © 1965. Words by Joe Darion. Music by Mitch Leigh. Andrew Scott Music, Helena Music Company. ASCAP.
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