Author, The Happiest Man in the World: Life Lessons from a Cultural Economist
“If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.”
Trying to drive forward while looking through the rear view mirror can get you killed. Someone once told me that you can tell when people are getting old: their eyes start to move around to the back of their head . . . they keep looking back and they get stuck on yesterday.
What you have accomplished in the past is a very strong indication of what you are capable of doing in the future. Through your past accomplishments, your actions have indeed spoken louder than even your words. Your past accomplishments should be recognized and applauded. You were able to dream and visualize and bring your energies to bear on what you valued and what you perceived would fill a specific need and make other people better off. At your time and place in history you were able to FANTASIZE: you dared to dream. You asked yourself, “what if . . . ?”
Then, you were able to CRYSTALIZE: you engaged in dream screening, where you determined what it would cost you to accomplish your dream. You became determined and specific. You then began to actually VISUALIZE that dream: you began to see yourself as having already achieved your dream. It became such a reality to you that your subconscious mind began to work out the details of accomplishment.
But that future accomplishment needed to be reinforced, so you began to VERBALIZE the dream to yourself and to others. You had to become vulnerable and accountable in order to see your precious dream come to fruition. You depended on that verbal affirmation to maintain your focus and strengthen your confidence. You may have even quoted King Solomon’s observation: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) The dream was working!
All that was left now was to actually see your dream MATERIALIZE: you saw your plans for the accomplishment of your desired goal become reality. The pathway for your accomplishment had gone over, under, and around all the obstacles and the impediments that could have become your tombstone. Now, they have wonderfully become your touchstone. As your goal was attained, a feeling of fulfillment and worthiness developed. “Wow! Just look at what was accomplished!”
You are to be congratulated and recognized for you success! However, you now stand at one of the scariest and most fragile points in your life. Accomplishments should prove to be not a destination, but a journey. Nothing can fail like success, and nothing can be as miserably defeated as yesterday’s spectacular accomplishment, if your success makes you lose your focus.
We all must learn from yesterday’s accomplishments, gain from the confidence acquired, and press on to the opportunities of tomorrow. But we must not stop. The temptation will always be to allow yesterday’s triumphs to use up too much of today’s opportunity and creativity.
George Herman Ruth was best known as “Babe Ruth.” As an American League baseball player for twenty-two seasons, he helped the New York Yankees win seven pennants and four World Series titles (his World Series championship total was seven). He became one of the first five players to be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He set the record for home runs (714) and runs batted in (2,217). He was home run champion for twelve years of his career.
But Babe Ruth was never disillusioned regarding his incredible successes as home run champion. To his greatest credit he was able to maintain his focus on the game that was being played that day, and with true perception remind the world that, “Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games.” It is nearly impossible to have a better tomorrow if you are stuck on yesterday.
I vividly recall the euphoric feeling I got as Project C.U.R.E. shipped its first million dollars’ worth of donated medical goods into the needy country of Brazil in the late 1980s. There was an overwhelming temptation to just settle into Brazil and rejoice in the success. That would have been undeniably good . . . but that would not have been best, and that would not have been smart. We could have gotten stuck on yesterday, and been stuck on stupid.
It wasn’t long before other Latin American and South American countries came asking for our help. They wanted desperately needed medical goods, also. I remember considering the choices: we could sit and enjoy the beauty of yesterday’s mighty oak tree—the life-changing contribution to the nation of Brazil—or we could take the newly gained knowledge and confidence and help create a mighty forest for the future by getting busy and planting the precious acorns of today. I chose to plant for the future, and today Project C.U.R.E. is shipping into 128 different countries, and taking help and hope to thousands of needy people around the world. Even to this day, we are striving to never get stuck on yesterday.
We want to fulfill today and embrace tomorrow, remembering that if what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.
Dr. James W. Jackson often describes himself as "The Happiest Man in the World." A successful businessman, award-winning author and humanitarian, Jackson is also a renowned Cultural Economist and international consultant, helping organizations and governments to apply sound economic principals to the transformation of culture so that everyone is "better off."
As the founder of Project C.U.R.E., Dr. Jackson traveled to more than one hundred fifty countries assessing healthcare facilities, meeting with government leaders and "delivering health and hope" in the form of medical supplies and equipment to the world's most needy people. Literally thousands of people are alive today as a direct result of the tireless efforts of Project C.U.R.E.'s staff, volunteers and Dr. Jackson.