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A Message to Garcia

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Hubbard's frustration with widespread indifference shows us that excuses and lack of effort breed environments of distrust.

Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook or threat he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office – six clerks are within call. Summon any one and make this request: "Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio."

Will the clerk quietly say, "Yes, sir," and go do the task?

On your life he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more
of the following questions:

  • Who was he?
  • Which encyclopedia?
  • Where is the encyclopedia?
  • Was I hired for that?
  • Don't you mean Bismarck?
  • What's the matter with Charlie doing it?
  • Is he dead?
  • Is there any hurry?
  • Shall I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?
  • What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia – and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average I will not.

Now, if you are wise, you will not bother to explain to your "assistant" that Correggio is indexed under the C's, not in the K's, but you will smile very sweetly and say, "Never mind," and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift – these are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting "the bounce" Saturday night holds many a worker to his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

"You see that bookkeeper," said a foreman to me in a large factory.

"Yes; what about him?"

"Well, he's a fine accountant, but if I'd send him up-town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street would forget what he had been sent for."

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

Summary

No excuses. It's all about action...

"Difficulty is the excuse that history never accepts."
– Edward R. Murrow (1908–1965)
   American broadcast journalist

4 phrases to immediately eliminate from your vocabulary...
  • I would have done that but...
  • I'm waiting on this from so-and-so...
  • He never called me back...
  • I forgot.

Life is about service. When you act, you serve. When you serve, you contribute.

No Gomo™

gomo:(go-mo) noun: a person who goes through the motions

Don't go through the motions in 2016. Be more like all those people you admire.

Check out InspireYourPeople.com for fresh ways to encourage your people to commit, complain less, create their own luck, be resilient, and have a positive attitude towards service.

Short. No-fluff. Real.

Don't be a Gomo.

Printable booklet

Printable booklet

Download and print the free "Be Like Rowan" booklet – includes Hubbard's essay, as well as worksheets and reminders.

download now

The Rowan Awards

Rowan awards

Download and print awards to hand out to team members who show Rowan-like initiative.

get them now

Rowan to the Rescue

Rowan to the Rescue

Read and print our kids' version of "A Message to Garcia" – includes illustrations and discussion questions to help your kids understand the importance of working hard and taking initiative.

read it now

Bonus fact

Calixto García Iñiguez

Garcia was actually Calixto García e Iñiguez, a Cuban revolutionary who led his country’s fight against Spanish rule. His cooperation with the U.S. military during the Spanish-American War helped Cuba finally win its independence.