Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Zig Ziglar - RIP

"It's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your ultimate altitude."

That's just one of the catchy slogans coined by motivational speaker and writer Zig Ziglar who passed away last week at the age of 86.

I first heard Zig Ziglar when he was a guest on a radio program when I was in my early twenties. He had a deep confident voice laced with a folksy southern drawl that made him well suited for a career in public speaking. I never saw him speak in person, but a couple of books he authored are still on my bookshelf and a quick search in a desk drawer unearthed his "See You At the Top" presentation on cassette tape.(I no longer own a device that will play it, but I still couldn't part with the tape.)

He was deinitely one of the first of what became a long litany of positive attitude disciples that I've heard or read in the ensuing years. Although there are many similarities between Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracey, et al., Zig always struck me as being guided by a bigger moral compass. He remains one of the very few people I have ever encountered who expressed a Christian belief AND who did not spout doom, gloom, hell and damnation. In those years, he had a virtual monopoly on that perspective.

When I taught freshman microeconomics, I used one of his quotes to summarize how capitalism and the profit motive works.

"You can get everything you want out of life, if you just help enough other people get what they want."
(I'll forego the entire lecture that accompanied it, but I can assure you it was riveting.)

A student of human nature, Zig Ziglar also observed that people often went to work and worried about family only to return home to worry about work so that "they ain't never nowhere." Wrapping up that segment he would ask,
"Are you a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?"
Although I could argue now that there's a time and a place for being a wandering generality, his message of the importance of setting goals, focusing on the present, and keeping positive in a negative world still resonates. RIP.
Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.


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