The topic for this morning is right up my alley because I’ve always maintained that if it’s good to you, it’s probably bad for you. I’m wary of anything that sounds too good to be true, and being addicted to something that isn’t bad falls into that category.
So, don’t give me any fat-free peanut butter cookies or offer me a no-strings-attached anything.
One of my favorite pasttimes is reading about how people become successful, especially when its something they worked for. I don’t read about the Rockefellers or the Carnegies, people who come from generations and generations of wealth. I want to read about the person who had a dream and set out to make that dream come true. I want to hear about the person who attended an HBCU may not have been able to make a call to his dad’s tennis partner who was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I want to hear about the person who had something to prove.
John H. Johnson’s “Succeeding Against the Odds” is a book that I’ve read again and again. When I read about how other people have made it, I’ve noticed that those who have had long-term success worked very hard to achieve it. The overnight success stories are a lot less interesting to me, and, like a fat-free peanut butter cookie, they are a lot less satisfying than the real thing.
When I was pledging a fraternity, I went through hell so I could get the benefits of all the other frats that had come before me. So, when I meet an honorary fraternity member, who didn’t have the same experience as I had, I have to admit I feel like they’ve gotten an e-z pass and didn’t put in the same blood, sweat and tears as the rest of us.
I didn’t become the hardest working man in radio so I could become a success. I am a success because I was the hardest working man in radio. I don’t have any get-rich-quick schemes, magic formulas or easy answers to making it to the top. The only thing I know to tell you involves a lot of stuff that’s little or no fun to the average person – getting to the job early, staying late, working for people who didn’t want to show up, working for little or no pay, being broke while your friends are rolling in dough, and doing everything you know to do to get better.
Pick an area, any area, and that formula can still be applied – love, dieting, school, raising kids. It applies to the street sweeper and the rocket scientist. This is not to say that you won’t meet people who find short cuts and all sorts of ways, legal and illegal, to find fame and fortune. More power to them. But I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Anything that comes too easily will only bring short-term benefits. Quick highs, quick fixes – quick anythings – are substitutes for the real thing.
I’m from Tuskegee, Alabama, where we were introduced early to hard work and peanut butter; it was, after all, the home of George Washington Carver. I respect and recognize someone who has put in their time, taken a few hard knocks and kept going until they reached their goal. I feel almost the same way about a good, fattening peanut butter cookie.