It came from my father,who had gained it through experience.As a young soldier,he did his duty so well that he was made an officer on the battlefield-in the Prussian Army and almost unheard of achievement.Later,as a law-court clerk,he worked hard and well,earn a free conscience and so at home was a relaxed and contented man.Happiness to him was simply work's greatest by-product."Only when you have done your full duty,"he said "are you completely happy.This is what he meant by "going to last mile".
Like most youngsters,I would have much preferred playing ball conjugating Latin verbs,but father insisted that mastering my studies was my chief duty.Concentrate,he urged me,his pointed beard bristling with earnestness."Do not let yourself be diverted until you are finished."
Thanks to his insistence,I did well in school.
At the university of Munich,my clear duty was to complete my studies as soon as possible in order to help support the family.Night after night I studied a law-book by the light of petroleum lamp.When I felt absolutely had to go to sleep,I would remember my father's advice and carry on.But How could I "go to the last mile"every night?
Then It came to me,I filled my procelain wash-basin with water and put it on the floor beside me,took off my shoes and read on,barefoot.When my heavy head drooped with sleepiness,I plunged my feet into the cold water and shocked myself awake.Thanks to his strategem,I finished the university in three years instead of four.!
My father's counsel has helped me many other times since.I have ever kept office hours.I have found that If you want to go the last mile you don't hear the clock strike six.
When Nazism came to Germany,I felt duty-bound to oppose it,For I nearly saw that it could only lead to slavery.Going all the way against it took me to an SS prison,where my wife and I spent a cheerless silver wedding anniversary.But I never regretted my stand.The senses of having done what seemed to me my complete duty gave me an inner serenity more precious than any physical comfort.
In fact,most of the happiness in what to me has been a very happy life has come.I believe,from the times I have"gone the last mile"and done a job fully..!!