By Unknown Author
Human Engineering is a Ticket to Anywhere
As set forth in the preface of this book, one of the mysteries of mankind is that we find 20 percent of the people in practically every line of endeavor responsible for 80 percent of the constructive
activities of this life and the other 80 percent responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
Why are some people creators of circumstances and others, with equal opportunity, only creatures of circumstances? Why do things happen to some people and why is it that others happen to things?
I hope this book will assist you in understanding this great mystery of life. I hope you will better realize why the human engineer finds people his opportunity rather than his problem why, to him, life is not mystery but magic, logic and not luck.
LET’S HAVE EMPATHY
Every treatise on the subject of communication today, whether it be a book, article or record, carries something about that new plateau of understanding called empathy. I suppose its simplest meaning is an assurance that I am writing and that you are reading about the same thing-that we are in tune, that we are on the same wave length.
There is quite a difference between sympathy and empathy. For instance, let’s assume that you and I are out in the ocean fishing. If you should get seasick and I said “I am sorry,” that’s only sympathy, but if I became green too, that would be empathy.
I once heard of a very fine example of empathy. A plumber wrote the Department of Measurements in Washington and asked the simple question, “Is it safe to put hydrochloric acid in pipe?”
He received a letter in reply as follows: “The efficacy of the method is undeniable but the precipitate corrosive residue is incompatible and not conducive to metallic permanence.”
The plumber studied the letter for a long time and finally wrote back, “I don’t understand-all I want to know is whether I can put hydrochloric acid in pipe?”
Finally after the letter was kicked around from desk to desk it reached someone who had complete empathy with the plumber. He wrote back and said, “Don’t do it, Mac, it’ll eat hell out of the pipe.”
I hope you and I at this point in this book are having complete empathy. I hope I am writing and you are reading about the same thing.
LET’S TAKE AN IMAGINARY JOURNEY
One Saturday night a businessman found himself in a little town in the territory he served. His car needed repairs and he couldn’t drive to his home town.
The streets were bare; there was no entertainment to be found. Very bored and somewhat cynical he walked up to a stranger on Main Street and sarcastically asked , “What is this town noted for anyway?”
The local member of the Chamber of Commerce straightened himself up and proudly said, “My friend, you can start from this town and go anywhere in the world you want to go.”
I’m not sure that he was not telling the stranger off, but in any event it gives me a cue to invite you to take a little imaginary journey with me. Imagine that you have a little card in front of you. I suppose a card is made up of pulp, rags or wood and a few chemicals, but if you will just for a few minutes fill in this card mentally with me, I’ll guarantee it can take you anywhere in the world you want to go-that is, if you really want to make the trip.
If you sincerely and voluntarily fill it out, it can be a ticket to take you anywhere in life; it can be a magic carpet that will take you to the great city of your dreams, aspirations and ambitions; it can be a key to open the door to the miracle of life with its wondrous possibilities. All of this is possible, however, only if you really want to make the trip.
Now let’s examine this card and fill it out carefully.
FIRST-WHAT IS OUR DESTINATION?
What is the first thing we see on any ticket? Yes, it’s our destination, isn’t it? Where do we really want to go in life?
Some people just don’t want to go anywhere. They are bogged down in complacency and are satisfied to remain there. About all we can say for these people is that we hope they vegetate silently, unobtrusively and don’t affect the lives of those around them.
JUST A SHORT TRIP
Then we have those people who want to take just a little trip, they don’t want to go very far. They want to hurry back to status quo. They have built-in limitations. They want a life of quiet desperation. They flit from mediocrity to mediocrity with enthusiasm and optimism.
As for this second group of people, all we can say is that they were born in inertia and had a relapse. They don’t even burn the candle at one end. They are suffering from that scientific disease that’s known in technical circles as laziness.
THEY ADVISE OTHERS IN THEIR TRAVELS
Also we have those people who don’t want to take the trip, but they pose as experts on criticizing the travels of others. Its a “dog in the manger” situation. They are like the man who didn’t kiss his wife for 30 years and finally shot the guy who did. They don’t want to take the trip and they don’t want anyone else to take the trip either.
The only thing we can say about these critics is that they were born in the objective case and have been walking around in the subjunctive mood ever since.
AS FAR AS THE TICKET WILL TAKE THEM
Finally, we have those people who want to go as far as the ticket will take them. They truly have the gift of dissatisfaction and divine discontent. They have hitched their hearts to a task they love-their souls are blazing with purpose and they know where they want to go.
These people are not afraid to reach for the stars. They know that even should they miss they’ll at least not come up with a handful of mud. They’d rather shoot at something and miss than shoot at nothing and hit. They’re ever conscious of the fact that there is no such thing as a trip without a destination, no such thing as success without a purpose. Ever mindful are they that obstacles are only those things we see when we take our eyes off our goal. Long ago they learned that people do not fail in this life because they plan to fail-they fail because they fail to plan.
YOUR DESTINATION MUST BE SPECIFIC
Nothing clutters up the landscape of understanding and congeals confusion as do generalities. Specifics alone give a directional compass to life.
Do you really have a specific goal in life? What is it? Is it that you want to put your kids through college? Is it to be head of your firm-president of your company? You must have something specific you desire. If your desire is great enough, this one quality brings into focus all the other qualities within you which enable you to accomplish your specific goal.
I shall state a tragic fact. In our country, the greatest country in the world, if I went out and stopped the next two dozen people on the street, there would not be six who could recite a specific desire which governs their lives. And I am afraid there wouldn’t be a dozen who could tell with certainty just why they went to work this morning.
And so the first thing we must insert in our ticket is our destination. Without this there is no trip at all. Just as it is impossible to come back from some places we have never been, it is altogether preposterous even to suppose that we can arrive anywhere without a place to go.
Yes, we must have a destination.
SECOND-WHAT IS OUR TIME SCHEDULE?
What’s the next thing we see on any ticket? It’s the time schedule. When do we want to go? And more important still, when do we want to arrive at our destination? Do we want to go now, from this very room, today-this moment? Or do we want to join those disenchanted people who are always putting something off until tomorrow and consequently never take the trip?
One of the unhappy circumstances of this life is that the world is full of well-meaning but misguided people who want to prepare for the future. In fact, they periodically vow emphatically that they want success enough to do something about it, and yet somehow they never get around to it. How many of these people do you know who are always about ready to commence to begin to start to do something pretty soon.
Unless you decide to go now, I guarantee you’ll never take the journey. Why? I’ll tell you why. There is no tomorrow. Yesterday does not exist. We live only today, right now, this very hour. Our only existence is the present.
THE MAGIC AND MIRACLE OF TIME
Does time really have a meaning to us? Each day we have the opportunity to watch the magic and miracle of time. Time Life’s most priceless tool, that which cannot be weighed in the balance or tested in the crucible. But we know it is the only ingredient that we use to transform our dreams into realities and our hopes into success.
A NEW GIFT EACH DAY
Did it ever occur to us also that God in His infinite wisdom gives time to us in such small doses that we can’t too easily squander it? Every morning, when I wake up, my pocketbook is magically filled with 24 hours of this precious, priceless substance we call time. And when tomorrow comes and I know that I have given up a whole day of my life for it, I want it to be for something that’s good, not bad, some gain, not loss-something I can be proud of. And yet, Nature is so forgiving. Even if I waste it, “each night I burn the records of the day. At sunrise every soul is born again.” Again I wake up-24 more of those non-refundable fragments of eternity that are magically in my pocketbook-just as valuable and unused as if I had not thrown the others away.
Did you ever hear a person say, “I just don’t have time.” What he is really saying is that there are other things more important to him. We all have a lot of time. We have all the time there is. The hands of the clock go around at the same rate of speed for everyone of us. The main thing is that sometimes we do not put importance on those things that are important. We give inconsequential matters disproportionate importance. Yes, we major in the minors and we minor in the majors.
THE TRIP IS NOW OR NEVER
Just how valuable is your time to you? Can you afford not to start the trip today? Our time is too valuable to waste, and since we know there is no tomorrow, then unless we fill in today’s date on our ticket, I am afraid that next week, next month, next year, ten years from now, honest as may be our intentions, we shall find ourselves in the wilderness of procrastination, still responding to the siren songs of complacency.
Why can’t we realize that there is no other way except by starting today? Don’t we feel honestly that we are worth the investment?
STARTING NOW IS OUR ONLY INSURANCE
Most people would not drive their car from the garage unless it were fully covered by insurance. Practically everyone has insurance on his house. Very few people would dare to subject themselves to the dangers of everyday living without life insurance.
And yet insurance-minded as these people may be, many of them are not insuring their futures against constant changes by starting NOW to prepare themselves to cope with these changes.
The world owes us nothing, but we owe ourselves, our loved ones and the entire world the duty to develop our God-given qualities to the ultimate. It is a great challenge and not an easy one to meet. But it is up to us and us alone to make our dreams come true, our plans come alive. ”
And so, look at your ticket again. Let’s make the date today-this very moment. It is the only way that we can be sure that we shall get our just share of the tasks and rewards of this life. If we don’t start now, we shall never reach the great city of our ambitions and aspirations.
THIRD-WHAT IS OUR ROUTE?
What’s next on our ticket? It’s the route, isn’t it?
Let’s not be seduced by the temptation to try the easy paths of life. Some people say that the great focal point of life is where the two highways of preparation and opportunity cross. Others call it luck. I won’t argue the point but this I do know. Strength always flows from adversity. Troubles, trials and sacrifices have always constituted the fertile soil for growth. If you will take time carefully to review your life, you, as does everyone else, will realize that you make your greatest progress in life during times of discouragement and challenge. You will find that the lasting qualities of life are usually forged on the anvil of disappointment.
While no one seeks hardships, yet we know that they can’t be avoided along the highway leading to success. Our only choice is to meet them squarely and rise above them. The road will never be easier-it is up to us to become stronger.
AN OPTIMISTIC ROUTE
Please be sure also that you take an optimistic route. We read so much about positive thinking these days that we are tempted to be casual in considering its importance. But please never forget the sweet magic of a cheerful disposition. Everyone enjoys being around an optimist.
On the other hand a pessimist takes such a toll on us. I’d much prefer that a man steal my money than steal my optimism. The reason a pessimist is so dangerous is due to the law of emotional gravity. One pessimist can pull six optimists down with less effort than six optimists can lift up one pessimist.
Yes, we want to be kind and helpful to everyone possible, but to expose ourselves to a person with the smallpox of pessimism is a calculated risk too grave to take.
A ROUTE OF HAPPINESS
The next route is closely connected with the last one mentioned. We cannot be successful in our work or undertaking in life unless we enjoy what we are doing and feel a sense of fulfillment. Unless we are happy in what we are doing we are a job hazard, a professional malcontent.
Years ago I was attending a convention on salesmanship. There were six or eight small meetings going on simultaneously. One that attracted my attention was labeled “The Greatest Sale I Ever Made.” I was intrigued and could hardly wait to get to the meeting. I was sure that the speaker would relate his experiences in difficult persuasion. I thought perhaps I would hear that a man ninety years old had bought a twenty-year endowment life insurance policy. Maybe, I felt, the speaker would relate the old cliche’ about selling two milking machines to a farmer with just
one cow and then taking the cow in as a down ‘payment.
What I really heard was this:
“The greatest sale I ever made in my life was the day I finally bought what I was doing-the day I saw the big picture, the day I had the great concept, the great passion-yes, when I truly began believing in what I was doing.”
THE ROUTE OF SERVICE
We can believe in what we are doing and feel a permanent sense of fulfillment only if we know we are rendering a service to others. Any undertaking divorced from this feature has no lasting attraction. Never forget that service is the only rent we pay for the space we occupy while we are here on earth.
A person who desires to become rich should certainly not be criticized, provided he desires to become rich for the proper reason. There is certainly nothing wrong with a desire to prosper. We can do so much more for our loved ones and contribute so much more to the worth while programs in life if we are financially able. But if you are to be successful in such an undertaking you must never lose sight of this cardinal principle: You can never become truly rich except by enriching the lives of others; you will never truly prosper unless you bring prosperity to others.
So, in filling out our ticket let’s not look for an easy route, but one that will make ourselves stronger. Also it should be an optimistic route and a happy route. And never lose sight of the fact that unless it is a route of service it will lead only up a blind alley. Man is so constituted that he must feel a sense of fulfillment if life is to have any permanent meaning. Some people feel that an undertaking must be monumental and world shaking to offer a challenge. This should not be. The size of the project is of minor importance-of major importance is the unselfish effort and dedication with which we tackle the job. Remember that any place of duty , however small, is a shrine wherein we can glorify our lives with the blessings of service.
FOURTH-ARE WE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE?
And finally at the bottom of any ticket we see this-the PRICE.
So many of us want to take the trip, but how few of us are willing to pay the price of the ticket. All of us want to improve our circumstances but how few of us are first willing to make the sacrifices to improve ourselves. I get enthusiastic over the idea of building a greater future but do I have that same enthusiasm for the slow tedious task of building myself?
I shall tell you of an incident which changed my life and which also illustrates my point. This story is related in a former book of mine.
I was attending a college in Greenville, South Carolina, called Furman University. A professor by the name of F. P. Gaines taught me English my freshman year. He later became president of Washington and Lee University.
Dr. Gaines called on us in alphabetical order. I can repeat the entire roll call even to this day. It was important to commit the roster to memory because if you always knew just when you would be called upon there was no need to prepare for recitation except about once each 2 months-at least that was my feeling during those green years of my life.
Furthermore, good sportsmanship demanded that if a person was sick, or absent for any other reason, he was duty bound to protect those students whose names followed his by notifying them in ample time to fortify themselves for recitation.
On a certain day when my name was fairly well up the list a very embarrassing situation presented itself. Raleigh and Riley didn’t show up at class and neither one had pressed the panic button. I was unprepared, a rather normal condition under the circumstances. I had been over to a neighboring girls’ college the night before to see the girl who is now the mother of my five kids.
Fortunately, however, Dr. Gaines, as he so often did, had departed from the subject of the day and was giving one of his little informal talks on some phase of personal development, which was consuming time. I have long ago forgotten the definition of a nominative predicate or the subjunctive mood. I sadly say that I am not sure I could even accurately parse a sentence. But I shall never forget some of the great inspirational ideas of life he gave us, nor will any who attended his classes ever cease to feel forever the impact of his great personality.
On this particular day Dr. Gaines had been discussing character. Finally he picked up his roster and I knew that I was to be called on next. I glanced up at the clock and suddenly realized that the dismissal bell would ring in five minutes.
Frantically, I blundered out as I grabbed a pen and looked for a piece of paper, “Dr. Gaines, could you give us a definition of character that we could write down?”
He looked at me and then looked up at the clock as I reddened, realizing how transparent my improvised scheme had turned out to be. But he was the essence of kindness and gentleness. He looked at me and smiled. He realized, of course, that I couldn’t have cared less about the definition of character.
Dr. Gaines walked around the room in silence for about a minute with his hands behind him and his chin tilted slightly upward, which was a favorite pose of his. Finally he stopped in front of me, put his left hand on my shoulder and pointed his finger in my face.
“Young fellow,” he said, “I’m not sure, but I am going to give you a definition that I want you to keep until you can find a better one.”
That has been almost forty years ago and I have never heard one half as good.
“Character,” he said slowly, “is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the mood in which it was made has left you.”
He continued, “Now I didn’t say just the ability to carry out a good resolution. We all have our moments of supreme dedication-whether it be fidelity to a person or loyalty to an ideal. But how few of us carry out that resolution when the mood has left us and the tides of temptation come sweeping in.
“Tomorrow morning, you are going to have a test on the material we have covered over the past few days.
“Tonight you will perhaps decide that you are going to get up at six o’clock in the morning and study for this test. And actually you are going to get up in the morning-that is, tonight you are, because you are in the mood.
“But tomorrow morning when you stick your foot out and it touches the cold floor you don’t have that mood any longer. I say character is that which you have within yourself to substitute for the mood which has left you. Character is that which causes you to exercise the self-discipline to get up anyway.
The bell had rung but none of us had heard it. We knew it must have rung because the room was invaded by the next class.
Those five minutes have burned brightly for me over the past forty years. I would not exchange them for any entire semester of my college career.
During those forty years, on many occasions I have committed myself to some project or assignment while I was in an enthusiastic mood. I was swept along with a compulsion at the time. After the mood was gone the picture was different. The task seemed drab and difficult and without glamour or attraction. The price to pay seemed too high. On such occasions I have tried to remember this definition of character-that which we have within us to substitute for the mood after it is gone.
It is so easy to accept all parts of the ticket except the price. This is where real character and self-discipline enter the picture.
DON’T SETTLE FOR A LIMITED TRIP
Let’s look at our ticket again. If we have a definite destination, if we are willing to start now, if we do not look for the easy route but for one that will make us stronger, an optimistic route, a route of service, and finally, if we are willing to pay the price, then we can with certainty know that our little ticket can take us anywhere in life we want to go. I repeat that it can be a magic carpet that will take us to the great city of our dreams, our ambitions and our aspirations. Yes, it can be a key that will open the door to the miracle of life with its limitless possibilities.
This journey is certainly not an easy trip. But human engineering is not for little people with little minds. It’s not for people who are afraid the sun won’t rise tomorrow. It belongs only to those brave and courageous people who dare to dream, have faith and expect the best. If you really want to take the trip you must be willing to be baptized by immersion in some of the tougher aspects of life.
It was about two thousand years ago that a great Greek philosopher and mathematician, Archimedes, was asked if he could perform a certain task.
This is what he said : “Give me a lever that is long enough, give me a fulcrum that is strong enough and give me a place to stand, and singlehanded I’LL move the world.”
Our lever is our goal in life. Our fulcrum is our self-discipline and willingness to pay the price. Furthermore, we must stand upon the firm ground of dedication and belief in our pursuits and activities in this life. If we have these qualities we too can move the world.
Read and re-read this chapter over and over. It has tools of greatness you cannot afford to ignore. Practice its principles and resolve to start your trip today.
(The original source and/or publisher of the above material is unknown.)
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