No. 1275



If you have some very important events take place in your life from time to time, you will understand and appreciate what I want to share with you today. The date of May 1, 2020, will always be important to me because it marks a true milestone in my life. Fifty years ago on this date, my former Dale Carnegie instructor, the late Bob Gannaway, and I went into business together to distribute the Earl Nightingale attitude motivation tapes that were then produced on cassette. We formed a company called Motivation Services Inc. and opened our office in the Donaghey Building in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas.
So this date marks my Golden Anniversary in the people business, and what a wonderful blessing and ride it has been. Back then it did not take me long to learn that “attitude” was the buzz word among our state’s educators, and I began to make calls on schools all across our state. I am pleased to say they welcomed me with open arms, bought our materials, and began to invite me to speak to their faculties, student bodies, commencements and other functions. I counted up, and during the decade of the 1970s I was privileged to speak to more than 500 different educational meetings. While working with students I soon learned that most had no idea what they wanted to do after graduating from high school.
This knowledge led me to develop a six-hour seminar titled “How to Plan Your Life” and I developed a small 24-page booklet to walk them through a life-planning process. During this time I conducted more than 50 of these life-planning seminars in schools all across our state. In case you may not know, the late Earl Nightingale was known as the Dean of Personal Motivation, and his daily radio show “Our Changing World” was carried on more than 1,000 radio stations. His show was the most successful commercially sponsored radio program in the history of broadcasting.
Earl was one of the few survivors of the Battleship Arizona when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and was an omnivorous reader. In essence he has collected the “Wisdom of the Ages” and recorded it on cassette. Here is where fate smiled on me. I listened to his recordings repetitively as I traveled more than 50,000 miles each year, and this proved to be the foundation for my own daily radio show titled -- you guessed it -- “How to Plan Your Life”. Here is perhaps the most important thing I can share in this column. I had dropped out of college in 1958 and but I did not stop learning. My radio show grew to where there were more than 300 stations carrying it, including our local station KCON here in Conway.
Again, fate smiled on me, as one day a former newspaper publisher of our local paper, the Log Cabin Democrat, spoke to our Lions Club, where I was a member. I asked him at the end of his talk if he might be interested in running something “positive and encouraging” for his readers. He said, “Let’s give it a shot,” so my column started here in 1995. It grew to more than 365 papers in 35 states running it.
Now that is a quick overview of 50 years in the people business, but my greatest satisfaction came in 2005 when, along with a committee of my fellow citizens, we started the Conway Bookcase Project to give a personalized bookcase and a starter set of books to pre-school children being reared in low-income families. This was more than 15 years ago, and we have now given more than 800 of these locally and more than 2,000 nationwide through projects in five other states. And I am pleased to say it all started on May 1, 1970. To God Be the Glory.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project.)