One of my college speech teachers was a dynamic fellow who, though advanced in
years, emitted the energy of a power plant.
Years before, he was tapped by Dale Carnegie, not the course or the franchise, but
the actual man, to be one of his original instructors. I could see the wisdom in Mr.
Anyway, my professor was a colorful guy, a former Navy Captain, and a great role
model. He was the only one of my professors who tooled around campus in a
Mediterranean blue Cadillac convertible, and with his shock of white hair matching
the car’s interior, he cut quite a figure.
One of his best suggestions was to collect quotations from sources far and wide,
because a great quote can set the perfect tone for a speech.
I think he’d really like this one, from the great General George S. Patton:
“I don’t fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is
pounding, saying ‘Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?'”
Most of us, because of false modesty or simply low aim or lack of ambition, get
this backwards. Our quote would read: “Someone must be toward the bottom.”
It’s sad, really.
There are winners, top dogs if your will, in every walk of life. Patton had to share
glory with Generals Bradley, Eisenhower, Marshall, and even that famous Brit,
He didn’t like it one bit, chafing at the idea that he had to answer to, or be second
banana to anyone.
Simply, to feel he was in the saddle, to feel things were right in the world, he had to
be the standout, the leader.
Perhaps if we DON’T feel this ourselves, we’re a little out of step, at least with
Someone must be on top, right?
Why not you?