Last week, a friend send me one of the most entertaining articles that I’ve read in a while. The basic premise of the entertainment was the author blaming the downfall of civilization on a television show. More specifically, the show Friends. With tongue planted solidly in cheek, the article made the case that Fiends vilified intellectual engagement and made being intellectually lazy, cool. It was funny and it was entertainment and it had a ring of truth to it. The reason my friend sent me the article was that we had just been discussing what I believe is the biggest threat to American Business. It isn’t politics and it isn’t the economy, it’s stagnant thinking. For my money, the two are related because stagnant thinking is a direct result of the intellectual disengagement made popular by TV shows like Friends. We live in an era where fake news is a real term. Where the average American reads one book a year, and half of those are romance novels. I’m not going to go all Thai Lopez in his garage on you here, but I truly believe that the answer is in getting back to books. Consider what we gain:
It will come as no secret after naming this series in homage to John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage that I have a great deal of admiration for our 35th President.
We have had few Presidents as debonair, charismatic or eloquent and for all of these qualities I look up to President Kennedy but his courage and persistence are characteristics that worthy of discussion as well.
It’s tempting to see a rich, handsome, and articulate politician and assume that his meteoric rise was a given, but that’s not the case with President Kennedy.
Popular lore is that Kennedy went into politics to please his father after his brother’s death and in certain respects, that’s been proven to be true, but it’s just as likely that if Joe Jr. had lived, John Kennedy would have sought some avenue of public service.
After returning from the Pacific a war hero, and following his brother’s death, John F. Kennedy was able to use his father’s money and connections as well as his own ambition to win election to The US House of Representatives at the age of 26.
When he was 35 he beat a powerful incumbent Senator with a name legendary in Massachusetts, Henry Cabot Lodge, and became one of the youngest men in the Senate.
It was a fast start that was capped off in 1956 when his name was placed in nomination for the Vice Presidency Of The United States and while he did not win the nomination, he did become the freshest face in Democratic politics.
And then he fell.
Unlike his hero Winston Churchill’s fall which was mostly self-inflicted and political, JFK suffered a fall much closer to the one suffered by his father’s nemesis, Franklin Roosevelt.
Despite going out of his way to display health and vigor, John F. Kennedy had never been a healthy man. Suffering from the autoimmune disease Addison’s Disease and a bad back that was mostly the result of a war injury, it was his health that almost knocked him out of politics in 1957.
Kennedy was warned of the risks that someone in his condition was facing having surgery when he opted for back surgery in 1957. It would be nearly impossible to control infection due to his other ailments but he decided to risk it anyway.
his father tried to talk him out of the procedure, but Kennedy was determined to have the operation saying he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life on crutches.
At first, the operation looked like a success but then infection set in and more than once before he recovered, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was administered last rights.
It was unknown for weeks if he would live. It took longer still to know whether or not he would walk again. He contemplated retiring from politics because he saw not future for his ambitions.
It was during this dark period in his life when his wife suggested he write and while a way from the Senate he ad Theodore Sorenson wrote what would become the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles In Courage.
Buoyed by its success, little by little JFK got stronger and in 1958, was reelected to the Senate in a landside.
During the 1960 Presidential Primaries, he fought back discrimination over his Catholic faith and won his parties nomination for President. Then defeated Vice President Richard Nixon to win the White House.
On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President Of The United States. He was the first and remains the only Catholic to ever do so.
Yes, President Kennedy was given an advantage that helped him to succeed early in life, but nothing could insulate him from the problems his health caused. It was by sheer determination, hard work, and persistence that he was able to overcome the impossible odds to hold our nation’s highest office and it’s this climb back from the brink that makes him a true Profile In Persistence.]]>
Thank you for stopping by my website! I certainly hope you find some value as you poke around.
I wanted to share a little more about me that is a little…well, less official than my About Me page to give you a better idea of who I really am.
You might not know it to look at me, but I’m a farm kid. I was raised on our family farm outside of Wapakoneta near a tiny place that doesn’t even appear on most state maps, called Fryburg.
My dad is a carpenter and a farmer and my mother is a registered nurse and from both of them, I was given a work ethic and sense of discipline that I’m proud of.
The turning point in my life happened, however, when I reached High School and joined FFA. There, all of my passions for agriculture were mixed with lessons in communication and leadership and in my junior year, I was elected to serve the 22,000 FFA members in the State of Ohio as a State FFA Officer. This election accelerated my growth and development and forced me to become a much better speaker and leader.
With the solid foundation given to me by parents, tempered through FFA and polished as a State Officer, I have spent a great deal of time studying and observing the habits of successful communicators and leaders.
There was some debate when I was writing my official About Me page about using the word obsessed about developing the skills of communication, but I decided to use it because, for most of my life, I’ve been obsessed with the little things that charismatic people do that separate them from the rest of us.
My obsession fuels a passion that I’m eager to share.
A few more random facts to share:
- As you could see from my picture, I have a great family. We spend the majority of our time together working on our family’s show steer hobby for our county fair.
- I love movies and have a strange ability to recall quotes from about every movie I’ve ever seen on demand. I’m sure you want answers, you want the truth, but you can’t handle the truth!
- I have a reputation as the guy in the suit because I wear one virtually every day. I’ve always lived by the motto that you don’t dress for the job you have, but you dress for the job you want, and I’ve always wanted to be Governor.
- I read obsessively. Anything from books to blogs to articles, I’m always reading and I love to share interesting things, so follow me on twitter.
- If you need to talk to me, please don’t call me during an Ohio State Football game. Watching my beloved Buckeyes dominate the B1G is the only television that I actually watch live.
It’s my sincere hope that this post was helpful for you to get to know me. I’d love for you to drop me a line in the comments so that I can get an opportunity to know you as well.Talk Soon, Randy]]>
David Henderson, David Brooks, Darren LaCroix and just about every other speech coach alive have a favorite movie scene. It’s not from a particularly great movie and it isn’t acted in a particularly great way but it carries the message that everyone in the communication business wants to communicate. What it is it?