Posts Tagged ‘Elbert Hubbard

01
Jun
15

The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Replace

blogrobotsWhat’s telling is that the fears expressed in these films are not of how our technology will deviate from our basic human nature. The fear is of what happens if it doesn’t.—Arthur Chu

Steve Wozniak, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk all predict a future in which human beings will be replaced by computers. It’s happening now and many of us have already witnessed parts of it in varying degrees. For example, I haven’t set foot in a financial institution in 25 years. All of my banking is automated. Is the computer takeover really such bad news and will it really ever become a reality?

I’ve been a science fiction nerd from birth, raised on movies like The Stepford Wives, Tron, Westworld, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. In these films, computers could and would take over our lives the minute we turned our backs on them. Gee, that sounds like some people I’ve known. But as I grew up I looked at this in a different light. For example, in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Jude Law’s character is an artificial Romeo named Gigolo Joe. As a single woman burned out on dating I remember thinking, “You mean I could have the computerized man of my dreams with none of the relationship hassles? Where do I get me one of them??”

Now fast forward to me as a professional working woman. Anyone who’s been in any kind of management or leadership position for more than one nanosecond knows that much of what’s done at the intermediary level can best be described as adult babysitting. If someone asked me if I had any kids I’d say, “You betcha! I’ve got hundreds of them!” And I meant it.

Humans are flawed, emotional, lazy, jealous, and often incapable of exhibiting higher-order thinking. Each of the Seven Deadly Sins reflects a distinctly human trait. With A.I. I won’t have to shell out big bucks for frivolous lawsuits, worry about infighting, hurt feelings, sick days, or burgeoning health-care costs. I know what I’d get each and every day and could just focus on getting the job done. Hallelujah!

But is that how life is to be lived? Isn’t the very definition of evolution the constant adaptation to future scenarios? Creation, epiphany, and initiative are the catalysts for all change. And if you believe we evolved from space dust, which came from who knows where, you better believe that humans are a requirement for any type of future.

Even a movie like Prometheus, which utilizes the “alien gospel doctrine,” presents a dialogue between David, an A.I. being, and Elizabeth Shaw, a human scientist. When they finally discover who created mankind, David is satisfied, Shaw is not. At the end of the film the question still remains: who created the alien race that created man? Shaw must now find who created the aliens who created us and so on, and so on, and so on. The Law of Conservation of Mass says that matter remains constant in a closed system. Although some would argue that our universe is not closed, everything still has a beginning. There has to be a creative force at the beginning of anything.

Life is all about the search for truth, at least from the human perspective. And as long as humans are creating what replaces them, our genetic coding will end up in a new binary form. How can the creator not leave an imprint of himself on his creation? I just saw Ex Machina in which a brilliant but sadistic computer genius, Nathan, creates a brilliant but sadistic A.I., Ava. Thus proveth my point. Just as in Blade Runner, (spoiler alert) the creation kills its creator. Glad to see karma extends to A.I.

In today’s world, more than at any other time in the history of mankind, we erroneously focus our future purely on science. We act as if science trumps all and exist in intellectual solitude. Anyone who injects anything else is a denier or a nut-job, despite the fact that throughout all of mankind’s history, faith and science have walked hand in hand. As Michael Crichton so brilliantly said, “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming the matter is already settled.” In his book All Truth Is God’s Truth, Arthur F. Holmes explains that at least three major perspectives run through the history of thought: naturalistic, idealistic, and theistic. Science and faith are all wrapped up in each other. Neither can exist in isolation.

Life’s ultimate mystery is bound up in carbon-based units and that, my friends, is why we’ll never ever be replaced. The human condition is one of errors which in turn offers the capacity for growth. We sharpen our tools, go back to the drawing board, and try again. We evolve. We show initiative and insights. We do things that are illogical because we see because we have conviction.Our minds lead us to see things that science cannot see, our souls lead us to do things before the evidence demands action, and our hearts drive us to fulfill our greatest purpose.

a-collection-of-quotes-in-operational-excellence-quality-and-change-35-638I agree that robots should replace the majority of people consuming resources on this planet. After all, if you’re not helping, you’re hurting, and you should be replaced immediately. Robots are far better at “doing” human, but life is all about “being” human. So for those of us who strive to make the world a better place through our manmade talents, our God-given gifts, and the wholeness of our humanity: Relax and embrace the future, because it’s going to be a glorious one!

08
Aug
13

Leakproof Leadership: The Security of Character

characterYou can’t go one second without the news of some major lapse in character from someone so trusted by the public that they definitely should have known better. We all know man is flawed and the good book says his heart is wicked beyond description, but here are three ways to stay above the fray and keep your character and integrity in check. Seems like we all could use a refresher course in integrity so, just in time for back-to-school, it’s the three R’s:

Responsibility:  Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is not magnetic personality. It is not making friends and influencing people. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights and raising performance to a higher standard.” Yet with every breach that’s broadcast, those in the perpetrator’s chain of command continue to circumvent and pass the buck. No one can be a rogue operator in your team because they are in your direct chain! Just because you didn’t know, or you turned a blind eye, does not absolve you of responsibility. You cannot dodge responsibility. Doing so only shows that you are truly unfit for leadership. To learn what lack of responsibility can cost, read A Ticking Time Bomb, by Joseph I. Lieberman, which painfully details the abject failure and gross negligence of the entire chain of command throughout Ft. Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hasan’s military career.

Respect: Elbert Hubbard said, “If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him! If he pays you wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him, speak well of him, think well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution he represents. I think if I worked for a man I would work for him.” There’s an old adage that says a wise traveler never despises his own country. Now I have worked for some pretty despicable organizations, but while I was working for them I worked as hard as possible to uphold their standards, even if my own bosses did not. You see, no one can make you do anything illegal, immoral, or unethical. If your employer tries to make you do such things, you need to seek employment elsewhere and use the chain of command to bring it to the attention of others. To respond in kind to their behavior is unacceptable. Two wrongs never make a right. Recent examples of this are found in headline names such as Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden.

Reading: Oscar Wilde said, “What you read when you don’t have to determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Let’s face it, you are what you read. If you are not reading books that help you grown and realize your own personal convictions and develop your courage, you are wasting your time. What a person has on the bookshelf is a far better indicator of what’s really gong on inside them than any polygraph. You can lie through your teeth to your boss and he may never suspect otherwise. But your actions will eventually reflect exactly what is going on at the core of your character.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.” To learn more about the virtues of reading in a leader’s life check out the Top 8 Ways to Unleash Success at Your Company. All leaders are readers. If you’re not reading personal development material, you’re not leading. It’s that simple.

One of my favorite reads is John C. Maxwell’s, There’s No Such Thing as “Business” Ethics. He’s right. The bottom line is that only commitment can ensure compliance. No amount of non-disclosure, background checks or polygraphs can do that. If your character isn’t totally squared away to the point that you are ready to fall on your sword to protect what is moral, ethical, and legal, then you’d better not accept one iota of responsibility. Leakproof leadership is based on choosing your thoughts and actions based upon your values and not upon personal gain. Your convictions mirror your character. So take a good look at yourself in the mirror to make sure you are fit to report for leadership duty!

15
May
13

a letter to my managers


blogletterbossWe often read poignant letters from a parent to a child, an elder to a junior, a husband to a wife. These heartfelt notes contain the most important pieces of wisdom each individual gleaned over the course of a lifetime. But did you know that these can be just as effective when pouring out your professional passions to your work family?


I literally work to make the world a better place. That is my professional calling, to live tremendously and to help others to do the same. In order to accomplish this, I need a team as committed to and passionate about leaving this world a better place as I am. My father taught me that it is so much better if someone reads and thinks something for themselves versus having someone “tell” it to them. I often get questions from leaders across the world, in all different settings, asking what they can do to motivate their managers.


There are three little pamphlets so full of life-changing wisdom that I guarantee if you read these and incorporate their teachings, not only will your professional life change, but your personal life will too.


Here are the three things, and the three reading recommendations, I want to share with managers and I dare not wait until my final day at work to do so!


FIRST, I expect you to be a visionary because I expect you to want to grow upThePriceofLeadership in our hierarchy and not just show up. If all you want to do is draw a paycheck, then you are not devoted to this organization’s strategic vision. Vision is simply seeing what needs to be done and doing it. So few managers take any action without their bosses telling them it needs to be done. This is tiring for a leader and will ensure the organization stays stagnant. Please step up and do what needs to be done before I tell you. I know you see it. So act.


Reading Recommendation: The Price of Leadership, by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones


CommonDenominatorofSuccessSECOND, I expect you to resolve the difficult issues. I can guarantee you that 99 44/100% of these problems will be related to personnel issues. We all see them; we’re not blind. I can hire a robot to take care of the clerical or manual tasks. I need you to address and resolve the personnel issues. I need you to deal head-on with any issues affecting the professional interaction and development of the team.  I hear so much blame dumped on leaders for the poor performance of their subordinates, when in fact the leaders often have several layers of managers who are paid to deal with these issues. If I have to tell you to take a personnel action, you’re not doing your job as a manager.


Reading Recommendation: The Common Denominator of Success, by Albert E.N. Gray


Third, I expect you to take immediate action when I bring an issue to your AMessagetoGarciaattention. I do not expect you to look at me with a puzzled look or to ask “why” or “how”? I expect you to dig into the issue and research it if you are unfamiliar with it or have limited experience in how to resolve it. Find someone who knows or figure it out yourself.  In the eternal words of Elbert Hubbard, I expect you to “Garcia” it. Asking “Why” never worked as a child. Asking “why” or “how” in a professional setting when the boss assigns a job to you can be tantamount to committing career suicide.


Reading Recommendation: A Message to Garcia, by Elbert Hubbard


Disengagement in the workforce is a chronic, global disease. If reading and incorporating these three life-changing classics in your organization doesn’t get your managers engaged in your professional mission, you need to make some serious changes; otherwise, you won’t get there from here. And just to guarantee your success, we’re offering all three of these career-enhancing classics for under $3. It doesn’t get any better than that!

 
 
29
Oct
12

Berks Technical Institute Commencement Speech

Good evening graduating class of Berks Technical Institute. Thank you to President Reichard for allowing me to share this evening’s remarks. I want to welcome the family, friends and other supporters who are here to celebrate the remarkable achievement of these graduates.  Growing up, my father always taught me the importance of a continuing education and embracing a lifetime of learning. You see, he grew up in the Depression and only made it through the 8th grade. He used to tell me that whenever he graduated from anything it wasn’t magna cum laude, it was laude how cum.

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” You are now about to put to use the innate talents you were born with and the learned skills you have acquired as you embark on the literal journey of a lifetime; the quest to find out why you were born.

And as you enter the workforce I have these words of encouragement for you. Yes, encouragement. Don’t fixate on the doom and gloom about the economy. Yes, this nation has a tough economic road ahead of it, but for workers who are not just able, but willing to give a job their all, the future will always be bright. The greatest employers hire for attitude and train for aptitude because you can’t teach someone responsibility, accountability, and integrity. By this stage in life, you either have it or you don’t.

The beauty of this graduating class is that you obviously have the aptitude, as evidenced by the technical classes you completed, as well as the certifications you earned. You are able. Now as you enter the work force of life, the key will be whether you are willing. Never, ever forget that your “I can” is infinitely more important than your IQ.

Back in 2006 I was approached about a project management position running a very large and diverse operations service contract on a classified facility in the Midwest. The problem was I did not possess the particular two years of contracting experience outlined in the job description.  But if there is one thing I had learned in working in four major,  yet very different, industries, it’s that the keys to success fit all doors regardless of the industry, so I applied.

I was brought into an interim position as a subcontracts manager and told to begin working on that two year requirement. I dug in with a vengeance. As I suspected, the acronyms were different, but the requirement for outstanding customer service, efficient use of resources, and ability to interact with a top-notch team was the same as when I served in the Air Force as well as the semiconductor field.

Six weeks into the job, the top government contracting officer called me in their office and said I was approved to fill the position as the project manager. When I asked about the two year requirement they said that due to my demonstrated energy and enthusiasm to get the job done, they felt comfortable waiving it. It was then I learned firsthand the power of enthusiasm and a “can do” attitude in the workplace.

The second lesson I want to share with you is that the people who do what needs to be done without being told draw the most wages. You determine your worth in the work place. In each of the jobs for which I was selected, no one inside the organization was willing to step up. Sure, some were able, but they were not willing. If you are willing to do the things that the majority of people do not want to do, I can guarantee your continued professional success. In fact, the common denominator of success is that a success does the things that failures don’t like to do. That’s it. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be a visionary, or a genius. You just have to be committed to getting the job done because so few people are. Elbert Hubbard said, “Do your work with all your heart and you will succeed—there’s so little competition.”

My father used to call these types of people thumb-suckers and he told me to steer clear of them. In fact he told me, “Hang around great people and you’ll be a greater person; hang around givers and you’ll be a better giver; hang around a bunch of thumb-sucking, complaining, griping, boneheads and you’ll be a better thumb-sucking, complaining, griping bonehead!”

When you enter the workforce you will function as a thermometer or a thermostat. A thermometer is stationary and only reflects what is happening around it. A thermostat, on the other hand, measures what the temperature is and then responds by changing the temperature to the conditions it desires. Some people are like a thermometer. If their environment is negative, they are negative. If bad things happen, they are sad. If good things happen, they are happy. Successful people, on the other hand, are more like a thermostat. Even if their environment is negative, they choose to be positive. In fact, these people are the ones that end up setting the atmosphere for the entire organization.

And lastly, I want to encourage you to make mistakes. A young accountant and recent graduate of Berks Technical Institute asked his seasoned CEO how he got so successful. The CEO replied, “Good judgment”. The young accountant then asked the CEO how he got good judgment, to which the CEO replied, “Experience”. The young accountant pressed on asking the CEO how he got experience, to which the CEO replied, “Poor Judgment”.

We are all born with an empty psychological key ring. Every experience, good, bad or ugly, gives us a key with which to open future doors. The more exposure to experience, the more keys we get to unlock life’s vast array of doors.

There is no greater teacher than adversity. And if you are stepping up to the plate while others are content to sit in the dugout, there is a chance you will strike out. But at least you made it to the plate and took a swing. My father told me that the secret to success is to cram 50 years of failure into 15. He was right. We learn from our mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make them.

And I wouldn’t be a publisher worth my salt if I didn’t bring you some tremendous reading material as a graduation gift. These two little pamphlets are the most powerful booklets I have ever read. If you can commit to the actions in these two books, I can guarantee you will live life at the 99th percentile.  The first, is Message to Garcia, the fourth most read writing in the history of mankind. It will take you ten minutes to read. The second, The New Common Denominator of Success, contains the principle we covered earlier that in order to be a success, you simply have to do the things that failures don’t like to do.

You’re going to be reading and studying material to teach you the know how for years to come. But don’t ever forget to read things that teach you the know why. Knowing how to do something let’s you drive it; Knowing why you are doing something lets it drive you. The greatest communicators, whether they are in the home, church, or work place, know how to speak not just to your ears, but to your heart as well.

In closing, I hope and pray for wisdom and strength for this graduating class to meet and surpass the challenges that will come its way. Always remember, life happens just outside your comfort zone so if things are scary and seem, at times, chaotic, you’re doing it right. Thank you for listening to my comments and for allowing me to share in this amazing milestone in your lives.

22
Aug
12

Certain Inalienable Rights

Our country was founded on the declaration that all men have certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would like to amend these to include: work, personal initiative, and the pursuit of going the extra mile.

If we’re not working, we cannot experience life. Work is something we do regardless of whether or not we get paid. In fact, our most vital acts are performed free of charge: raising children, bestowing love and forgiveness, volunteerism, and charity. This is what makes the world go ‘round. Working is as necessary to the individual as breathing. When the individual stops working, he stops thinking, and then stops living. My father was born in 1927 and remembers growing up during the Great Depression. His father, like many other Americans, did not have a job, but that did not stop him from working. We are on this planet to work, to give back and share that which is within us.

Personal initiative is the truest manifestation of liberty. The greatest read on personal initiative is found in Elbert Hubbard’s Life-Changing Classic, A Message to Garcia. Those of you who have read it are nodding your heads in agreement. Those of you who haven’t can purchase it for a little over a dollar, it will take you ten minutes to read, and it’s one of the top-selling books of all time. You have the right to not ask your employer how to do everything and to display some personal initiative by figuring it out on your own. You have the right as an employer to encourage your team to read this so that they can understand the infinite power of personal initiative in determining their value and even their salary. It’s the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” philosophy. Don’t ask your boss how to do everything, and don’t tell your employees how to do everything. One of my favorite lines is the man who does things without having to be told draws the most wages. Amen.

The pursuit of happiness requires going the extra mile. Happiness never comes from just doing the minimum. That’s called “getting by” and someday we will all have to answer to life, explaining what we did with what we were given. The status quo has got to go! No child was ever successfully raised by parents who did only the minimum. No marriage ever thrived where two people simply coexisted. No victory was ever achieved without someone, someplace, sometime, stepping out of the mediocre masses and going the extra mile. Some people are like blisters; they show up after the work is done. And there is no joy in being remembered as the bare-minimum guy. We go the extra mile because that is where the human spirit truly excels and finds its only source of happiness.

So claim these inalienable rights for yourself and achieve your true birthright now!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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