A little righteous anger really brings out the best in the American personality. Our nation was born when 56 patriots got mad enough to sign the Declaration of Independence. We put a man on the moon because Sputnik made us mad at being number two in space. Getting mad in a constructive way is good for the soul- and the country.
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I've always felt that a manager has achieved a great deal when he's able to motivate one other person. When it comes to making the place run, motivation is everything. You might be able to do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.
Over the years, many executives have said to me with pride: 'Boy, I worked so hard last year that I didn't take any vacation.' I always feel like responding, "You dummy. You mean to tell me you can take responsibility for an eighty-million-dollar project and you can't plan two weeks out of the year to have some fun?
In business, you're trying to make a buck. God was good to me and blessed me. I made some money and started this foundation years ago, and it has grown in size. With the foundation it's a lot different, because the bottom line isn't how you can make more money or get a better return, it's helping the projects that you feel strongly about move forward.
It pains me to see my old company, which has meant so much to America, on the ropes. But Chrysler has been in trouble before, and we got through it, and I believe they can do it again. [...] Let's face it, if your car breaks down, you're not going to take it to the White House to get fixed. But, if your company breaks down, you've got to go to the experts on the ground, not the bureaucrats.
From what I've seen, you either get grounded in that kind of positive thinking early on in life or you don't. Establishing priorities and using your time well aren't things you can pick up at the Harvard Business School. Formal learning can teach you a great deal, but many of the essential skills in life are the ones you have to develop on your own.