I Can Turn Myself Into a Shouting Optimist Within An Hour

June 27, 2011

Great Advice From Mr. Roger W. Babson

Day off to a rough start?  Read these words from Mr. Roger W. Babson:

“When I find myself depressed over present conditions, I can, within one hour, banish worry an turn myself into a shouting optimist. Here is how I do it.  I enter my library, close my eyes, and walk to certain shelves containing only books on history.  With my eyes still shut, I reach for a book, not knowing whether I am picking up Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico or Suetonius’ Lives of Twelve Caesars.  With my eyes still closed, I open the book at random.  Then I open my eyes and read for an hour; and the more I read the more sharply I realize that he world has always been tottering on the brink.  The pages of history fairly shriek with tragic tales of war, famine, poverty, pestilence, and man’s inhumanity to man.  After reading history for an hour, I realize that bad as conditions are now, they are infinitely better than they use to be.  This enables me to see and face my present troubles in their proper perspective as well as to realize that the world as a whole is constantly growing better.”

Wow!  How true is that?  Just spend 5 minutes reading the daily paper or watching the morning news and you’ll be exposed to endless stories despair; the shrinking value of the US dollar, housing values tanked, record unemployment, political unrest, and crimes of the unimaginable.  However, following the sage advice of Mr. Babson has enabled me many times to keep perspective and maintain a positive outlook on life.

Where did I find this pearl of wisdom?  From Dale Carnegie of course.   Mr. Carnegie loved to interview successful men and women to find out their secrets to success.  Part 8 of his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living includes 31 Stories on “How I Conquered Worry,” including this gem from Mr. Babson.

As I reflected on his words this morning, I felt compelled to find out more about the man behind them.  Mr. Babson was a tremendous scholar and businessman with numerous successes in his lifetime, including the founding of Babson College.  I invested a few minutes to read his bio from Babson College  today and I’m very glad I did – his lifetime and his legacy are truly inspiring.  Consider this advice he gave:

“It is not knowledge which young people need for success, so much as those basic qualities of integrity, industry, imagination, common sense, self-control and a willingness to struggle and sacrifice. Most individuals already have far more knowledge than they use. They need inheritance and development of a character which will cause them properly to apply this knowledge. Real business success comes through the qualities above mentioned, not through money, degrees, or social standing.” – Roger W. Babson.

Although Mr. Babson passed away in 1967 – a year before I was born – I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be inspired by his wisdom.  I hope you are too!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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