No. 633



Way back in the late 1960s, which seems like forever ago, I took the Dale Carnegie Course for Public Speaking. During one of the sessions I learned a very important exercise that taught me the importance of emphasis. This exercise consisted of repeating one single line that went, “Every good boy does fine.” However, when you repeated the line, you changed the emphasis on each word in the sentence. You repeat the line please, but place the emphasis on the word that is all caps. Here goes: EVERY good boy does fine. Every GOOD boy does fine. Every good BOY does fine. Every good boy DOES fine. And lastly, every good boy does FINE.
Now, keeping these thoughts in mind, place the emphasis on the word that is in all caps. What keeps YOU going? When I say, what keeps YOU going, I’m talking about the motivation that causes you to want to get out of bed each day and provides that little spark that helps you to hang in there. Here, I certainly want to acknowledge the fact that millions of people right here in America can’t get out of bed each day, and I certainly mean no disrespect to these people who are bedridden for one reason or another. If you are one of these people, my heart truly goes out to you.
Really, this last thought has a lot to do with what I want to talk with you about today. When I say, what is it that keeps YOU going, of course a lot would depend on your age, your health, your education, your outlook on life and if you still have important goals you are pursuing. What I am talking about may appear to be too simple, but it is important that we have something worthwhile to look forward to each day of our lives, if only to enjoy the companionship of family and friends and other things like a beautiful sunset or a walk down memory lane.
While it’s important to have something each day to look forward to, it’s also important to have a longer view, like wanting to live long enough to see a son or daughter graduate from high school or college, get married, have grandchildren, get a promotion at work, and at long last win a state or national championship and countless other things of this nature. My wife and I are getting along in years, and we have been blessed to be able to see and do many of the things our younger counterparts are still looking forward to.
On a more practical basis, here are some things we look forward to that keep us going. Maybe some of these thoughts will help you keep or regain perspective. For example, in my business I am always developing a marketing plan that requires printing costs, mailing costs, telephone expense, travel, lodging, new clothes and other related expenses. In many cases, these plans are not very successful, but they keep me going and that’s the whole point. When I get out of bed each day, I have something really exciting to look forward to doing. While we have never placed it in this context before, my wife, Viola, does the same thing.
She is forever changing things. Thankfully, in most cases it does not cost a lot of money, but she is forever making changes around the house and in the yard. She buys fabric for new curtains, a new bedspread, a new appliance, pots, pans, dishes and you name it, and she has two, a new one and an old one. It’s not that she really needs these things, because the old ones work just fine, but that’s what keeps her going. I am extremely grateful that she has this nature, because she can get more done in an hour than most people can in a whole day. Now, back to my earlier question, what keeps YOU going? It’s when we don’t have anything really exciting to look forward to that we usually get in trouble. The people, who don’t have worthy goals, don’t succeed. It’s really that simple: no goals, no success. We can’t live in a vacuum. In the absence of goals, something else comes along to fill the void and take our valuable time. When you see people in our society who are hooked on drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, involved in gangs, crime and other unproductive activities, you can rest assured they are wasting valuable time that can never be reclaimed. The end result is wasted lives, which is really sad for them and for all the rest of us as well.
In the final analysis, it’s important to understand that we don’t succeed as a group, we succeed as individuals. Even though a group of individuals who form a team can succeed, it’s still the individuals in the group that determine its success. If you or someone you care about seems to be floundering and has no goals or something exciting to look forward to each day, please share this column with them. Let them know you care, because that will go a long way.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)