Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. *
We’re living in a time of tumultuous change.
A misinformed president declares a war. The value of homes – which were never supposed to fall – fell. The SEC can’t make Wall Street color between the lines and 700 billion dollars goes missing. A 50 billion-dollar Ponzi scheme is perpetrated by one of the most respected men on Wall Street. A governor tries to sell a seat in the Senate. I saw gasoline sell for a dollar a quart and watched General Motors become insolvent.
But I’m not worried. I was born in a briar patch.
Pennie and I began our lives together during the term of another president who wasn’t quite up to the job.
It’s 1976. Mortgage interest rates are 18 percent and jobs are scarce. If you see a line of cars at a gas station, get in it. Gas stations don’t always have gas. The middle-eastern boogeyman of that era, the Ayatollah Khomeini, brazenly invades a U.S. embassy and kidnaps 52 U.S. diplomats. Newscasters remind us nightly of our shame. When we send our best and brightest soldiers to rescue our diplomats, we crash two of our aircraft, eight soldiers die and we return home empty-handed. The Ayatollah holds us hostage for 444 days.
“Elected largely on his promise to never lie to the American people, Carter soon seemed out of place in the vastness of the presidency. Events conspired to further impede his progress: rising energy costs, high unemployment, Americans held hostage in Iran, Soviets in Afghanistan. A man of peace who took pride in bringing together age-old antagonists, Carter was finally viewed by his countrymen as lacking presidential stature.” – American Experience, PBS
And the whole time, it seems the only thing we needed was a head cheerleader with a more beautiful dream. Ronald Reagan took office with a sparkling smile. “Things are fine. Expand your business. All is well. Go out to dinner. Life is good.” And we believed him.
Economy rebounded, cold war ended, Mary Lou Retton vaulted a perfect 10 and the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.
Barack Obama has a good smile, too. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
In defiance of the current recession, Wizard Academy is moving forward with the construction of its new classroom tower. Perhaps we’re being foolish. Maybe the right thing would be to hunker down and cover our heads with our hands. But did you ever notice how “hunker” sounds like clunker, junker, lunker and dunker? I prefer “dream,” as in team, gleam in the eye, beaming smile and cream of the crop.
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia)
Hunker down or dream. It's your call.
The 7 Steps to Hunkering Down:
1. Stay scared. Call it “street smart.”
2. Cultivate cynicism. Call it “straight talk.”
3. Praise pessimism. Call it a “reality check.”
4. Believe you are wiser than everyone else.
5. Feel secretly superior.
6. Take no action that might improve your condition.
7. Crow “I told you so” when things get worse.
The 7 Steps to Pursuing Your Dream:
1. Know what you're trying to make happen.
2. Expect good things to happen for you.
3. Plant seeds of good things daily.
4. Trust that some of your seeds will grow.
5. Measure success by your own criteria.
6. Make progress daily without fail.
7. Believe in the power of the Elbs. (Exponential Little Bits)
Do you believe in your dream, or do you think it's only a fantasy?
Moving forward with just a thousand dollars:
I showed today's memo to 5 of my most successful friends and said, “Talk is cheap and I don't want to be seen as one of those pollyanna happy-talk motivational goobers without substance. Action makes things happen, but not everyone is free to attend classes at Wizard Academy. If a business person is ready to begin taking action, what would you be willing to do for just a thousand dollars to help them make progress toward their goal?” I was blown away by their generous offers.
Would you like to see what they said they'd be willing to do?
happen to dreamers
who remain standing
with open eyes.
Roy H. Williams
* I've seen this quote attributed to Walt Disney, John Maxwell, Hedria P. Lunken and Tavis Smiley. I try to attribute elegant phrases to their originators but in this instance your guess is as good as mine. – RHW
Two of America's finest writing instructors, Chris Maddock, my sidekick and partner for the past 14 years, and Jeff Sexton, secret weapon of Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg, are teaching a 2-day class that will change how your potential customers feel about you. February 3-4 at Wizard Academy.