No. 308

Here is a question you may wish to ponder with me for a few minutes today. I might add, this question will be appropriate regardless of your age, station in life and especially if you have achieved great success. Here is the question. How much of your life up to this point has been influenced by other people? Hopefully you will give some serious thought to this question, because there may be a whole lot more here than meets the eye.
In reality we are each influenced by other people, some more than others and some for good and others for evil. In this context two of the most influential people in our society are the superlative manager and the superlative mother. I say this for a very simple reason. Apart from the important role of modeling and teaching character values these people have the ability to get us on A Street Car Named Desire. Several years ago there was a movie by this name written by Tennessee Williams and starring Marlin Brando and Vivien Leigh. I didn’t care for the movie but the concept the title embodies is tremendous.
To be successful or to use the term “superlative” as a mother or a manager he or she must be able to get those who are under their influence on A Street Car Named Desire. This is true because for any person to succeed they must have the desire to achieve or even excel or in this country they will just wind up fat and lazy. Do you know people like this? I believe you can see that the people who influenced them the most, had a lot to do with it.
Many years ago I heard a great speaker by the name of Mike Vance, who at the time was President and CEO of the Creative Thinking Center in Los Angeles, California. During his speech Mike talked about the principle of influence and how it was the primary motivation for the superlative manager and superlative mother. While other family members are also powerful when it comes to molding the values of a young person’s life, Mike said that one of those that really influenced him was his grandfather.
Mike said that when he was five years old his grandfather took him fly fishing at the creek in Greenville, Ohio. He observed that his grandfather was so good with the fly rod that his wrist action was almost imperceptible as he avoided the willow trees and made the fly land in the just the right spot with each cast. Mike was fascinated. After a while his grandfather said, “You would like one of these fly rods, wouldn’t you Mike?” Mike said, “yes sir, I would.” At this point his grandfather had him on A Street Car Named Desire. His grandfather then said, “Let me TEACH you how to get one.”
Here is the key and the point I know you won’t miss. When you create the desire in someone for something, don’t GIVE it to them...but TEACH them how to get it.” As a result of this conversation, Mike’s grandfather said, “the way to get one of these fly rods is to come to work at my grocery store all day every Saturday for six months and you will have earned enough to get one of these.” His job was sprouting potatoes in the cellar of a small country grocery store. Mike said he had company as there were also rats down there in this cellar. This motivated him to realize that he wanted to do something better with his life, and he did.
He went on to say that this lesson, “create the desire in someone, then don’t give it to them...but TEACH them how to get it” was one of the most valuable he ever learned, including his college years at Ohio State University. If you are a parent or manager and not already there, using and applying this concept could move you into the superlative category. Hopefully, “A Street Car Named Desire” will help you to remember it. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)