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A Message to Garcia

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Hubbard points out that employers are in a constant search for those whose work hours are not limited by the whistle.

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the "downtrodden denizens of the sweat-shop" and the "homeless wanderer searching for honest employment," and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne'er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long, patient striving with "help" that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is continually sending away "help" that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on.

No matter how good times are, this sorting continues: only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer – but out and forever out the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest.

Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best – those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to any one else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, "Take it yourself!"

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled Number Nine boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds – the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there's nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for day's wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

Summary

Survival of the fittest

"Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you had better be running."
– Unknown

We all have the opportunity to add value to the world... and if we don't, someone else will.

Start running.

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.

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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.

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The Rowan Awards

Rowan awards

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

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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.

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Bonus fact

Quill

"A Message to Garcia" was published the same year as Sigmund Freud's first edition of "The Interpretation of Dreams," Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" and Winston Churchill's "Richard Carvel."