Lesson # 1: Take Personal Responsibility for Your Life
While today’s generation often shirks responsibility as too much of a burden the Greatest Generation relished the chance to step up to the plate and test their mettle. One son of a WWII Medal of Honour winner remembers of his dad and his peers, “For them, responsibility was their juice. They loved responsibility. They took it head-on, and anytime they could get a task and be responsible, that was what really got em’ going.”
I will share you the first story of someone taking responsibility for their own action many years ago. I trust that you will find a lesson to share with others.
And when the Greatest Generation accepted responsibility for something, they also accepted all the consequences of that decision, whether good or bad. They were not a generation of whiners or excuse makers. They took pride in personal accountability. In a time where individuals and businesses reach for a bailout or the easy fix of bankruptcy to make things right, stories like that of Wesley Ko inspire. Soon after the war, Ko started a printing business. After 35 years of working hard to transform it into a successful company, he decided to relocate his business from Philadelphia to upstate New York. Ko personally guaranteed the 1.3 million dollar loan needed to make the move. The transition did not go as expected, and Ko’s company faced several setbacks; after only a year, he was forced to go out of business. Ko said, “It was a big decision-making time. I couldn’t retire. I hadn’t taken out Social Security. So at the age of seventy, I had to go get a job and start paying back that million-dollar loan. I just didn’t feel comfortable with declaring bankruptcy. I just didn’t think it was the honourable thing to do, even though it would have been easier.”