Pioneers faced the unknown and overcame huge challenges! When we try to put ourselves in their shoes and understand what they must have been thinking in order to succeed, we could solve our own huge challenge, but it takes a little imagination.
For example, President Washington and President Lincoln faced the ultimate wars, with battles of an unknown outcome for an entire nation. Death and bloodshed was all around them. They had to stay focused, for them it was the ultimate mental challenge. For Washington it was all about creating a free nation under God and for Lincoln, it was keeping the free nation under God in one piece and not divided.
In American business, we have examples of this mental challenge on a different battlefield. Isn’t so much of our lives all about mental focus? Haven’t you had a big fat problem that wouldn’t go away, until you changed how you looked at it?
In business, this is so true! You may not have heard of Henry Flagler, however most Floridians know the name. He is known as the Father of Miami, Palm Beach and St Augustine. He built his Florida East Coast Railway from St Augustine all the way down to Key West. Beginning in 1880, he built the Ponce De Leon Hotel in St Augustine and other spectacular hotels in Palm Beach and Miami.
He was an invaluable partner with John D Rockefeller at Standard Oil, he was wealthy, driven and very intelligent. He was a visionary, yet he knew pain too! Failure wasn’t foreign to him. As President Lincoln was communicating with his Generals during the Civil War, Flagler sold his distillery business and started a salt mining company (York), thinking it would be greatly needed for food preservation during the war. Things went well for a while during the war, until demand dropped off and price cutting drove him out of business. He lost everything! So, he dusted himself off, got a job as a grain merchant again and paid off over $100,000 and then would go into business with Rockefeller creating Standard Oil and the rest is history!
Florida is the world’s #1 tourist destination today! One man’s vision, pioneered America’s vacation capital, Henry Flagler.
We will share stories on this blog that could inspire you and spark your imagination. They’ve really inspired me!
As I mentioned earlier, Morton Imagine Company is all about mental focus. We’ve heard this before but it’s so easy to get off track (mental focus). This is why we will explore how American pioneers (including seniors), paved the way for all of us. Looking at history through their lens and imagining solutions for today’s challenges.
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If every picture tells a story, imagine the stories behind every statue! They give us a snapshot into the life and lives of those living during their time. They were important enough to dedicate time and money to their creation. Statues give us a window into the social mores and values of the people that admired them. It displays the growth of a town, city, region and nation, at various stages of history. The attempted destruction of history tells a lot about those who seek to destroy it and about those that seek to protect and preserve it as well.
Our nation and the entire world has experienced historic, widespread pain and uncertainty. We will address just what could be causing you a great deal of pain and explore how history, yes history could help spark your imagination and possibly help ease your pain and help solve that fat problem you are facing.
Before we dive in, I want to share with you a story to tee things up and give you a window into what you can expect going forward. The title of our story is: HMB – Under a Mango Tree
“A little boy was sitting in his grandfather’s backyard, under a mango tree, listening to the elder man. As his grandfather told him stories about his past, a whole new world was opening up to this little boy.
The story and subsequent stories all started in the Sixties, in Miami and live on, with a grown up little boy today. First of all, the elder man was born in 1902 and had lived a fascinating life. He was a highly successful entrepreneur at a young age and an aviator. He owned numerous airplanes and drove around Miami in a Packard during the Great Depression. He was highly intelligent, sober minded and giving. However, the elder man was known as being quite stern and a man of few words.
The little boy was warned by his protective and loving parents to stay away from his grandfather. They didn’t want the old man to hurt his feelings. However, the little boy approached the stoic old man at every family gathering. Eventually the old man grew fond of the little boy. Over time, the boy was visiting his grandfather, who lived only blocks away, several times a week. When he was only five years old, he scared his parents and got into big trouble for riding his tricycle on a major street, to visit his grandfather. He would later walk; ride his bicycle or drive, just to visit his grandfather.
Even at the age of five, his grandfather spoke to him like a little man. He enjoyed the respect his grandfather gave him. The conversations were all about the adventures and events that made up the story of the old man’s life. The stories often revealed history. For example, 7th Avenue, a major street today, was a dirt road when he was a newspaper delivery boy for the Miami Herald. (The newly renamed paper) As he listened to his grandfather, he learned not only his grandfather’s life story, but the oral and “living” history of Miami and his family heritage. In time, he began to understand the links in American history to what his grandfather was telling him. It was larger than his life, his family and Miami. The dots were connecting all over Miami, throughout America and the world. The stories would range from life during the Great Depression, to WWII and beyond. The boy began his first history lessons, through the eyes of his grandfather. The mutual respect they shared was palpable. His wife told the boy, out of all the people in the world, he was his grandfather’s favorite. This filled the boy with joy and sorrow, all at once. After all these years of living and all the great stories, no one came over to visit (except for his family). This bothered the boy profoundly and would actually plant the seeds to his future.
He actually admired his grandfather so much; he couldn’t wait to be old! He wanted to be just like his granddad. He was a man with integrity and character. Insults just rolled off of him.
This story between the boy and his grandfather can be found all over America. The names, dates and places are all different but the theme is constant. With our youth obsessed cultural and fear of aging, it’s no wonder seniors are not getting the respect and attention they deserve. The oral history and wisdom of a wise sage can bring unimagined mutual benefits and cultural change. Imagination is the key.
History Means Business® when we focus on three key areas. Starting with the oral history of wise seniors, like the old man in our story. The second key area is learning from the pages of history. As Winston Churchill once said, to learn about history, read biographies. Pioneers from the past can help spark our imagination and help solve some of our biggest challenges today. The social mores, landscape and technology changes, but the pain, joy and mental challenges are all the same.
The third and final area is our own personal history, including our business/industry history. When we explore our past challenges and examine the before and after events, a new way forward can often be found. Learning from pioneers in our industry can also provide ideas for tomorrow. Knowing how we arrived, can open a window to the future.
These three key areas are under the benefits umbrella of, finding solutions to our challenges (i.e. pain). Remember, the key that could unlock it all . . . imagination! Imagination transcends time and space.
The old man (grandfather) passed away at the age of 88. His wife followed him not long after. He never knew just how much he actually meant to that little boy. The boy told him he loved him but never found the words to express just how much he meant to him. The truth is, that little boy didn’t understand until years later, just what those stories and words of wisdom actually meant. With age and the perspective of time, a clarity and understanding had blossomed. His admonitions and advice had limited context in the boy’s youth. With experience, the boy began to understand just how much his grandfather truly loved him. A whole new meaning became clear, many years after he had passed away. This is sincerely a true story, after all I should know, that little boy was me.”
We may not know each other, but one thing I am pretty sure of is this, we have challenges! It is part of life and today, pain has been inflicted upon the world, few of us have been able to escape it entirely.
As you try to make sense of it all, and face this challenge, why try to reinvent the wheel? That’s a waste of time and energy isn’t it? History has proven social mores, technology and the landscape changes but the essence of being human remains constant . . . try having the pioneer-mindset!