“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are…”
We as Americans find ourselves in a place of adversity. These are tough times – and it is understandable that we feel worry, anxiety and some degree of fear.
However, the best advice I have ever heard – for times like these – comes from that truly inspirational President – Theodore Roosevelt. His wonderful admonition to ‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’ In other words, while you can never control all the circumstances around you, you can decide to take positive action and do all you can to make things better.
Interestingly, taking that very first step is always the most important. You find yourself in motion. Beginning to make progress. You feel better about yourself… and the situation. You begin to see new possibilities … new opportunities for progress. And, all of a sudden, you truly find yourself in a different place.
So, as we approach today, this coming week, and the weeks beyond – as we battle this insidious virus – let’s take TR’s great advice to heart. Let’s each ‘do what we can, with what we have, where we are’ – and soon we will emerge – and arrive in an even better place than where we started. I am absolutely certain this will be the case!
The American Spirit is Alive and Well – in Communities Large and Small
We are so fortunate as Americans to see generosity, creativity and the spirit of giving so vibrant and alive in our communities large and small. For example:
Merrimack, NH: On March 21, the Merrimack Community Hospice House was critically low on toilet paper. The town’s police department went to social media for help. After just a few short hours later, the entire community came together to fill a Ford F-150 full of toilet paper!
Jimmy Lehoux of Manchester, NH, has been doing a daily livestream on his Facebook where he has been playing his guitar and singing uplifting songs while families are stuck at home in quarantine. You can check out his cover songs here: https://www.facebook.com/jimmy.lehoux.3
The NH Department of Education has found a great way to keep students engaged! They’ve been doing a Pledge of Allegiance drive on social media, where parents have recorded their kids reciting the Pledge as they start virtual learning each morning. You can them recite it here: https://twitter.com/NHEdCommr/status/1242811850544361474?s=19
Reuniting with ‘The Man in the Arena’
A little over a year ago, I had the good fortune to meet a ‘real life’ Teddy Roosevelt. I was running past TR’s birthplace – and I spotted a gentleman – dressed just like Teddy, speaking as if he were Teddy, and in fact, when you view the video above, you might think you are actually watching the real Teddy Roosevelt. In any event, the message being delivered, I must say, as you will see, is imbued with the genuine Teddy Roosevelt spirit. And, we truly need it now more than ever.
It is a celebration of the ‘Man in the Arena.’ Those brave men and women who are willing to risk it all. To step in the arena. To have the courage to chase their dreams, while risking failure, embarrassment, and the criticism from those standing on the sidelines.
But, who, when they do succeed, get to know the splendid feeling of success - well-earned. So, as we confront the current crisis, let’s celebrate those who have the courage to be creative, entrepreneurial and optimistic – fighting and struggling forward. For as TR would say - when you think about it, all progress is really driven by those brave souls who have the courage to step into the Arena!
Positive Profile of the Week: NASCAR
Dale Carnegie popularized the worldwide phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And that’s what the sport of NASCAR and its community did this past weekend and will continue to do.
Sports as we know it is at a halt. The Olympics have been postponed until 2021, and sports fans are itching to see their favorite athletes take the field, hit the court, or climb into their car. But rather then sit back, the NASCAR community has done something cool. They raced each other via a video game. Not only were viewership results through the roof, but importantly, much good was also accomplished.
An online interactive organization known as iRacing has been a competitive organization hosting virtual racing for some time. People sign up and race each other across the world wide web. With the NASCAR series suspended due to COVID-19, drivers took to their iRacing cars and competed as fiercely as they would in real life and gave the fans a chance to enjoy a sport they admire. Broadcasters took to the booth to call the race, drivers setup racing systems in their homes, and nearly one million fans watched this first-ever experience.
But what made it even more impressive was the action drivers took to help those in need. Driver Denny Hamlin pledged to donate $5,000 to southern Florida families if he won the race. Other drivers joined in on the challenge and when the checkered flag waved and Denny Hamlin was standing in virtual victory lane, $15,000 was raised to help those in Florida effected by COVID-19.
We could just sit back and do nothing. We could easily settle for re-runs and learn to cope with it. But instead, our spirit of ingenuity, our passion to help our neighbors, and belief in doing positive things in dark times are resulting in cool things like the NASCAR community is doing. Gotta love the spirit: ‘Turning lemons into lemonade.’
Quotes of the Week: Taking Action
“Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.”
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it's no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.”
“Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and facing your fears.”
“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
General George S. Patton