Elbert Hubbard’s “Message to Garcia”

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I watched this great movie the other day and it got me thinking about the essay I wrote many years ago after I read Hubbard’s short story. Once you watch the video Initiative I hope you have the same humorous correlation it had on me relating to the historical background of Hubbard’s essay. The essay has been reprinted and translated many times, has inspired screen adaptations, and was given to every U.S. Navy enlistee and U.S. Marine in both world wars.

Back in 1996, a friend gave me the book “A Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard which I read on a trip to our office in Charlotte.  Hubbard, an American author who believed in rugged individualism, wrote the inspirational essay in 1899.  I hope this excerpt plants a seed the way it did for me. As for me, Hubbard’s insights gave me clarity in life and my business relating to just knowing how to get something done. Some do and some don’t.

in·i·tia·tive is a noun 1. The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination.  2. A beginning or introductory step; an opening move: took the initiative in trying to solve the problem.  3. Without prompting or direction from others; on one’s own initiative.

       initiative:  The world bestows its big prizes, both in money and honors, for but one thing, and that is initiative.  What is initiative?  I’ll tell  you, it is doing the right thing without being told. 

             told once: But next to doing the thing without being told is to do it when you are told once.  But their pay is not always in proportion. 

             told twice: Next there are those who never do a thing until they are told twice; such get no honors and small pay.  

             just lazy: Next, there are those who do the right thing only when necessity kicks them from behind, and these get indifference instead of honors, and a pittance for pay.  This kind  spends most of its time polishing a bench with a hard luck story. 

             ignorance:  Then, still lower down in the scale than this, we have the fellow who will not do the right thing even when someone goes along to show him how and stays to see that he does it:  he is always out of a job, and receives the contempt that he deserves, unless he happens to have a rich Pa, in which case Destiny patiently awaits around the corner with a stuffed club.  

To which class do you belong? Eddie Redmayne just knew “how to get things done.”

To read the essay click here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Message_to_Garcia_(film)