Saturday, June 27, 2009

What's Next: Book Introduction


A quick note about the title from the author: I’m not sexist, nor do I favor men in the work force. I use the term ‘man’ as in mankind, and it should be equally applied to both men and women. I just love the term ‘make it happen’ as an adjectival approach to describing a person, and for my title to be catchy, I wanted the first letter of the word directly after my adjectival use of ‘make it happen’ to start with the letter ‘m’ so it would have an alliterative appeal. This book absolutely applies to women as well as men, and is as useful in any capacity that either may endeavor to take on wherein the “go get ‘em” ambition that drives successful persons may be useful. If you’re offended by the title, please email my mom at to tell her what a lousy job she has done in raising such a tactless author as her son.


Each one of us either drives or rides on the road of life. Which do you do? By the fact that you have read as far into this book as you have (yeah, I’m talking about the two and a half sentences you just read), I’m judging you either are or want to be a driver. Or maybe your boss gave you this book, thinking you could use a little more spunk in the way you do things. Whatever the reason, I’m certain that if you apply the principles I’ve articulated herein, your skills on the road of getting what you want out of life will improve.

Enough with the fun little analogy, though. (My reading addict brother tells me that nothing turns him off on a book more quickly than extensive uses of ‘fun little analogies’—so my apologies to my brother, and anyone who’s with him on that one). So, yeah, let’s get into it.

There are 10 things you have to do to become the “make it happen” man or woman you know you can be. But before talking about what my 10 tips are, lets talk about what it means to be a make it happen man. A make it happen man is nothing more than a man who makes it happen—whatever ‘it’ is. (Now you can see why I like that phrase as my adjective. It just says quite succinctly what it is you’re trying to become.)

To get a sense for exactly what a make-it-happen man looks like, I would like to include an illustration. Since I don’t think I could paint a more vivid picture of what it means to make it happen than Author Elbert Hubbard did in his essay, ‘Message to Garcia’ I have (with appropriate permission) included the entire text of Hubbard’s essay below. For those of you who have already read ‘Message to Garcia’, and want to get right into the tips for becoming more like the messenger in the essay, feel free to skip straight to Chapter 2 where I start sharing the goods. Everyone else, No. You do not have permission to skip ahead. The following article is something every adult should read at least once in his or her life. So, without further delay, I present “Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard (originally published 1899).

A Message to Garcia

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba - no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.
What to do!

Someone said to the President, "There's a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can."

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How "the fellow by name of Rowan" took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing - "carry a message to Garcia!"

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man - the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office -six clerks are within your call. Summon any one and make this request: "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Corregio."

Will the clerk quietly say, "Yes, sir," and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions:

Who was he?

Which encyclopedia?

Where is the encyclopedia?

Was I hired for that?

Don't you mean Bismarck?

What's the matter with Charlie doing it?

Is he dead?

Is there any hurry?

Shan't I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?

What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him find Garcia - and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.
Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your "assistant" that Corregio is indexed under the C's, not in the K's, but you will smile sweetly and say, "Never mind," and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting "the bounce" Saturday night holds many a worker in his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine times out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate - and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

"You see that bookkeeper," said the foreman to me in a large factory.

"Yes, what about him?"

"Well, he's a fine accountant, but if I'd send him to town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and, on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for."

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the "down-trodden denizen of the sweat shop" and the "homeless wanderer searching for honest employment," and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne'er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with "help" that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away "help" that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer - but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best-those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, "Take it yourself."

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in your pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds - the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and, having succeeded, finds there's nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.

I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day's wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the "boss" is away, as well as when he is home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets "laid off," nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village - in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly - the man who can carry a message to Garcia.

-The End-

So there you have it. You now know what a ‘make it happen’ man looked like to Elbert Hubbard. Perhaps if Hubbard were to re-write his essay to fit today’s needs, he may include some thoughts on the personal rewards for entrepreneurial initiative. While his essay includes disdain for what he calls lack of initiative (and what I call the make-it-happen drive), I have to wonder if maybe those at whom his disdain is directed simply don’t know where to get the drive. They just don’t know how to make it happen.

Certainly you, the reader, are not as altogether lacking ambition as the poor blokes Hubbard describes. (Else, why would you have cared to read this far into this book?) All the same, when it comes down to it, we could all probably be a little more concerned with and engaged in getting the job done. Even those who already do a great job at whatever it is they do have discovered that there is always something to be improved. (And if you haven’t discovered that about yourself yet, soon enough, some event will root your head out of the sand, knock you off your ego horse, and let you see how foolish a thought it is to believe for a second that you really ‘know it all’.)

That brings me to an important disclosure about myself, the author. As much as I wish I did, and as incessantly as I sometimes talk, I really don’t know it all. While I passionately believe the principles I articulate here are true, and when applied correctly can make the extraordinary difference between failure and success, or mediocrity and excellence; and while I have personally had or observed many experiences that prove to me they are true—which many of said experiences I’ll herein share with you—I really don’t know it all. Maybe there are other tips you would have shared if this was your book. I would encourage you to write those thoughts in your own book, or in the margins as you go along, and remember them as you make an effort to improve. My simple hope is that by reading this book, you will be able to consider some aspect of your performance upon which you could improve, and commit to improve it.

A willingness to learn and a desire to grow are the motivating factors that will make this book useful to you. In fact, the ability to open your mind and accept some tips for improvement is so crucial to your overall development and growth as a make-it-happen man, tip number one is just that: Be willing to learn.

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