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There is Greatness All Around You, Use It

There are many people who could be Olympic champions, All-Americans who have never tried. I’d estimate five million people could have beaten me in the pole vault the years I won it, at least five million. Men who were stronger, bigger and faster than I was, could have done it, but they never picked up a pole, never made the feeble effort to pick their legs off the ground to try to get over the bar.

Greatness is all around us. It’s easy to be great because great people will help you. What is fantastic about all the conventions I go to is that the greatest in the business will come and share their ideas, their methods and their techniques with everyone else. I have seen the greatest salesmen open up and show young salesmen exactly how they did it. They don’t hold back. I have also found it true in the world of sports.

I’ll never forget the time I was trying to break Dutch Warmer Dam’s record. I was about a foot below his record, so I called him on the phone. I said, “Dutch, can you help me? I seem to have leveled off. I can’t get any higher.”

He said, “Sure, Bob, come on up to visit me and I’ll give you all I got.” I spent three days with the master, the greatest pole vaulter in the world. For three days, Dutch gave me everything that he’d seen. There were things that I was doing wrong and he corrected them. To make a long story short, I went up eight inches. That great guy gave me the best that he had. I’ve found that sports champions and heroes willingly do this just to help you become great, too. John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, has a philosophy that every day he is supposed to help someone who can never reciprocate. That’s his obligation. When in college working on his masters thesis on scouting and defensive football, George Allen wrote up a 30-page survey and sent it out to the great coaches in the country. Eighty-five percent answered it completely.

Great people will share, which is what made George Allen one of the greatest football coaches in the world. Great people will tell you their secrets. Look for them, call them on the phone or buy their books. Go where they are, get around them, talk to them. It is easy to be great when you get around great people.

By Bob Richards
Olympic Athlete

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Dirt Roads

What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved.

There’s not a problem in America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency that wouldn’t be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character.

People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride.

That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home…a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog. We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along. There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.

Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they’d be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun.

And there were no drive by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse!

People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous, they didn’t tailgate by riding the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust & bust your windshield with rocks.

Dirt Roads taught patience.

Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk you walked to the barn for your milk.

For your mail, you walked to the mail box.

What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rode on Daddy’s shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap.

Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.

At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to hitch up a team and pull them out.

Usually you got a dollar…always you got a new friend…at the end of a Dirt Road!

Paul Harvey

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