2 pages, 4to, personal stationery." />
22 May 2007
REAGAN, Ronald. Autograph letter signed ("Ronald Reagan"), to Mr. Grenier, Pacific Palisades, California, n.d. [ca. 1979]. 2 pages, 4to, personal stationery.
REAGAN GIVES HIS PHILOSOPHY OF SUCCESS: "LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU BEGIN TO SERVE"
Someone wrote Reagan to ask his definition of "what makes a successful person." Instead of giving a pat answer, he writes this extensive, reflective statement--one of the most personal expressions of his moral and spiritual beliefs that this usually reticent man ever committed to paper. "I wish I could come up with a bit of brilliant philosophy that would in capsule form provide the answer. I'm afraid the answer isn't easy--at least for me." He liked the response that former GE CEO, Gerard Swope, gave to that question: "Mr. Swope said he knew of no such rule but he did have a sure rule for failure--'try to please everyone.'" Reagan, likewise, emphasizes means rather than ends, actions and efforts, rather than results. "Someone has come very close with the statement that, 'life begins when you begin to serve.' Maybe there is a starting point in a little silent prayer I evolved for myself when I was playing football in college. Obviously it wouldn't be right to ask God for victory, the fellows on the other team had as much claim to his favor as I did. What I finally wound up asking was that every one do their best, that no one be hurt and that whatever the outcome I'd have no reason to be sorry. This seems like a far cry from the question you asked but isn't success or at least part of it--not looking back with regret? If a man (or woman) can feel they've done their best to be what God intended them to be; that they have wanted success for others as well; that they have always tried to do the kindest thing and that their concern was with the goal to be accomplished--not who got the credit. It is important to be at peace with ones self. I hope this is of some help but as I said before I don't have any pat answers."
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