Teddy Roosevelt and Overcoming Depression

Ken Burns has done it again. The King of PBS documentary programing has produced another historic series worth anyone’s time who value’s United States history. The Roosevelts ranks with Burns other classic creations which include Baseball, Jazz, The National Parks, and others. I’ve enjoyed watching it this week and encourage those who have missed it to look for it on-demand or DVD in the future. It tells the biographical story of America’s 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and FDR’s wife and cousin Eleanor Roosevelt (who had the fortuitous opportunity to maintain her maiden name after marrying). I’ve read several biographies on Theodore Roosevelt and consider him a true American Hero.

In two years in the west Roosevelt worked relentlessly to escape depression.

In two years in the west Roosevelt worked relentlessly to escape depression.

A statement in the second episode of the program struck home and I felt was worth sharing for those like me, and like Teddy Roosevelt who have faced great disappointment or tragedy that led them to despair and depression. Unknowingly, in my own experience, I have done as TR did and am repeating the rewards. While my rewards are not on the scale of what he did I can’t help but believe in his and mine own and many others stories there are lessons to be learned.

Teddy-Roosevelt-Was-the-Toughest-Person-Ever

On Valentine’s Day, February 14th (my birthday), in 1884 Roosevelt’s first wife and his mother died in the same house on the same day. Alice Lee died only two days after giving birth to Roosevelt’s oldest child, Alice. Alice Lee and Theodore had been married four years and a loving couple since their youth. Roosevelt, though only 26 years old, was already making a name for himself in the New York State legislature. His wife’s death devastated him. He wrote that “…the light has gone out of my life.” He was so incapable of dealing with the grief he ordered those around him to never speak Alice Lee’s name ever again. If he ever did himself, its unknown to historians.

Rather than wallow in despair and depression the energetic TR decided to dramatically change his life. He decided to get busy. Roosevelt left the legislature and left the East Coast. He took himself to the Badlands in Dakota Territory and set out to be a Cowboy, Sheriff, rancher, and big game hunter. He did all those things, and mastered them, having never even attempted being such an outdoorsman at any time prior to the death of Alice Lee. Roosevelt was a New Yorker and raised in privilege. and he had been a weak, sickly child. But his depression from losing the love of his life was so impactful that he escaped that life in favor of a hard life in one of the hardest environments in the country.

During the snowiest winter on record in 1886 nearly all of Roosevelt’s cattle herd perished. Shortly thereafter Roosevelt left the Dakota’s and returned to the East Coast politics and considerably more adventures. His frenetic manner continued until his death in January 1919. As was mentioned in the PBS program Roosevelt said “Action” is the road away from despair and depression. And he fearlessly pursued every challenge ever presented to him. He even sought out those challenges. “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”- TR

In all my life I’d never faced serious depression like I did nearly one year ago. I was devastated and found merely getting through each and every day very difficult. But I pushed through it. At the start of 2014 while at the height of my lethargy I made two statements that have carried me to a place I now know is the pinnacle of great things to come. I said my 9 year old company, Total Broadcasting Service, would have its best year ever and that by the end of the year I would be debt free.

For the first time I hired a business coach, knowing I needed the direction and guidance for my business while my personal life was in disarray. He helped steer me into the things I wanted to do. The coach also asked me every week to do something “courageous”. With each passing week I found my focus easier to come by and my ability to do the hard things, ask the tough questions, make sales appointments, close sales and even volunteer my time became easier and easier.

I also became a voracious reader of books, mostly self-help books. I’ve read more books in the first 9 months of 2014 than any year in my life. I always knew reading was important and beneficial, but I never MADE the time for it, outside of my daily viewing of the Sports page. Each day I fill my mind with good ideas and motivational thoughts from authors who are accomplished in one way or another, one field or another. And I’m a better man for it.

I find myself exhausted at the end of most days. But unlike the time of my worst depression my exhaustion is not caused by emotional energies being spent worrying about what has happened or what might happen. My exhaustion is a good exhaustion earned by “action” and exertion.  I wake at 5:30am and seldom pull the plug on my day’s efforts before 8pm. And when I pull the plug…I’m done.

The good results of my relentless drive were immediate, but not dramatic. I could chart greater income for my company. And I could definitely know my hurt heart and emotional challenges were easing as I focused more and more on what needs to be done right now at this very moment.

The gradual improvement in all things in my life has recently turned into a tidal wave of good fortune. Not even through September Total Broadcasting Service is exploding past our previous revenue records. My home is neater and in good repair and could be argued in better shape and appearance than at any time in my 11 years of living here. 247881_129703920442554_4713491_n I’ve given considerable volunteer time to a great organization called Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County and even applied to be on the non-profit’s Board of Directors, something I expect to be officially named to in a matter of days. My family is happier and healthier because of my efforts. And I now look forward to a future that once scared me, but that I now know holds great promise and opportunity.

Challenges remain in front of me and my despair returns for short periods now and again, but through action, diligent, non-stop daily effort I have followed the example set by Theodore Roosevelt and made my life better. Time will tell if my achievements can be comparatively similar to the ball of energy that was TR. But I honestly expect great things, and that’s half the battle. I would counsel anyone in despair or depression to dive into your work if its work you love. I would advise them to focus on helping others. When you help others you forget about your own troubles and become a problem solver.

Lastly, I honestly belief God see’s our good work and rewards us. He may not reward us right away. But the rewards are coming. I promise.

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

Work Ethic- What it’s done for Me.

“Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

President of the United States Theodore Roosev...

Theodore Roosevelt

Work ethic, persistence, and a tremendous fear of failure has driven me my entire life to whatever level of success I’ve ever been able to achieve. I wonder how many people still understand that they too are where they are, wherever they are, due almost entirely to their work ethic and persistence.

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” ~ Michelangelo

I don’t believe my work ethic is that much more than many people. In fact, whatever it is compared to others is completely unimportant to me. On the other hand I believe my persistence can be something others can learn from. I can be quite stubborn.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Cropped portion of Abraham Lincoln Photograph,...

Abraham Lincoln

I began my radio career making $600 per month, working 6 days per week in as tiny a radio market as you can imagine in Raymond, WA. Over seven years I moved up and through five different radio stations, constantly increasing my income, until I was on the verge of working in a major market, Seattle. Working in Everett, WA at the now defunct KWYZ Radio 123 taught me I was on the right track. I was a kid amongst radio luminaries. Every on-air person at the station had considerable work experience in Seattle, and other major markets. I was the exception. I had to put in long hours just to keep up, and not look like I didn’t belong. While still not even making $20,000 per year, I was happy.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ~ Will Rogers


KWYZ went bankrupt in 1991. Radio 123’s business failure led me into a new career; sales. My wife was 8 months pregnant with our second child and I felt I couldn’t afford to stay on unemployment waiting for the next on-air gig to open that I may or may not land. I often feel our current recession has been made much worse by an unwillingness of many unemployed Americans to change careers like I did, because they were willing to take unemployment for 99 weeks. Starting over again, at the bottom of the barrel ended up leading me to higher income and higher living standards than before.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” ~ Muhammad Ali

English: Bust portrait of Muhammad Ali, World ...

Muhammad Ali

I made only $22,000 my first year in sales. But I made $30k in year two, $40k in year 3, $50,ooo in year 5 and more every year until year thirteen when I left someone else’s employ and started Total Broadcasting Service. Had I not persisted those first two years when my income was not high, the other higher income may never have come. And my beloved self-employment may never have materialized.

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.  ~Author Unknown

Total Broadcasting Service made more revenue each of its first four years until the nationwide recession nearly sunk us in 2009. Since 2009 we’ve put together consecutive years of improved sales and nearly halfway through 2012 are on pace for our best year.

And in having taken that detour into sales for 13 years I was led back to the microphone. My voice is now heard regularly all over the country in the radio spots I write and produce, and the narrative I voice in the Total Broadcasting marketing videos we produce. My voice and my written words are now seen and heard by 10s of thousands, possibly 100s of thousands of people each week; far more than how many were aware of me before the necessary detour 20 years ago.

Like many Americans these days, we have struggled the past few years and built up too much credit card debt early in the recession which makes getting healthier and stronger more difficult. I am personally sick and tired of the struggle the past 3-4 years has been. But, not so sick and tired that I can’t persist.

When should YOU quit you may ask yourself in times of despair? Someone once wrote:

“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” ~ Richard Bach

For me, and maybe for you too, it’s taking too long. But we’ll get there. We’ll persist and work our way through it, happily.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

It Takes a Village? What Crap!

Somewhere along the line a significant portion of our proud American populace got the wrong impression of what makes America great and what led us to becoming the world’s most powerful nation, and desirable destination. The wrong-headed philosophy is summarized in the abbreviated title to

The ghostwriter for Hillary Clinton's memoirs ...

Hillary Clinton‘s 1996 book, “It Take’s a Village: And other Lessons Our Children Teach Us.” “It take’s a village” thinking has grown into what we see today from President Obama and Democrats everywhere. It’s the belief that if we are going to go forward we must all do so together. And I’m here standing shoulder to shoulder with John Adams, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and many other great leaders from our past saying such thinking is crap. At best, such thinking is misguided. And at worst such thinking is highly destructive.

According to our current Secretary of State, her book’s title derives from an old African saying. It’s full statement being: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Being a life long Democrat it’s not the least bit surprising that Mrs. Clinton would believe such a philosophy. The actual fact is it takes a family and whenever possible two parents.

But the mentality which now infects everything pursued by Barrack Obama

Official photographic portrait of US President...

started back in the 1960s with the advent and temporary popularity of communal living. The idea, championed by the hippies and drug culture, was that you could live together in a small community and collectively share food, water, living space, and philosophy. To determine the wisdom of such thinking I would simply tell you to ask yourself, how many of those 60s and 70s commune’s flourish today?. How many exist?

I’ll admit it’s an attractive philosophy that’s very tempting to embrace. It promises security, and friendship, and a sense of one-ness with others. All of which is good. Right? The problem is, like the philosophy espoused by

A portrait of Karl Marx.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx it doesn’t work. It’s a lie to think that we can all live equally.

President Obama said repeatedly in his 2008 election campaign that he wanted to fundamentally change America. I have no doubt he wants to do exactly that. But here is what must be understood. You must understand what America is and what the former Illinois Senator wants to change it from. You must understand from whence we came.

On the subject of security and comfort as promised by the “It Takes a Village” philosophy Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.”

The great statesman Patrick Henry correctly noted “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

Restrain the people? The men who believed in Liberty and founded this country would never stand for such a thing. Over the course of more than 200 plus years our Government has continued to plague its people with increasingly more laws, rules, regulations and restrictions all in the name of need or necessity forgetting the words uttered by

William Pitt

William Pitt

William Pitt on the floor of the House of Commons in 1783 “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.” 

Sadly I know that too many look back on the words and writings of 18th Century heroes as quaint, but impractical for today’s living. In their minds the collective is far superior than the individual. Twenty years ago Russian author Tatyana Tolstaya observed in an issue of The New Republic:

Taken individually, in short, everyone is not good. Perhaps this is true, but then how did all these scoundrels manage to constitute a good people? The answer is that “the people” is not “constituted of.” According to [collectivists] “the people” is a living organism, not a “mere mechanical conglomeration of disparate individuals.” This, of course, is the old, inevitable trick of totalitarian thinking: “the people” is posited as unified and whole in its multiplicity. It is a sphere, a swarm, an anthill, a beehive, a body. And a body should strive for perfection; everything in it should be smooth, sleek, and harmonious. Every organ should have its place and its function: the heart and brain are more important than the nails and the hair, and so on. If your eye tempts you, then tear it out and throw it away; cut off sickly members, curb those limbs that will not obey, and fortify your spirit with abstinence and prayer.


 Hungarian immigrant Professor Tibor R. Machan summarized the “It Take’s a Village” philosophy in a 1993 essay called “The Fear of Individualism”. He referred to such thinkers as “collectivists”: 

“Members of society do have different roles; the economists speak convincingly of the benefits of the division of labor. The errors of the collectivists are (1) their presumption that they know better than the individuals involved which members of society are less important, and (2) they have the right to eliminate those members. But individuals are ends in themselves, not animals to be sacrificed on the altar of the collectivist state.”

Respecting individual capabilities, including the ability to fail, is the only way the United State‘s came to its great position of power and leadership in the world today. Do we really want to disrespect each and every individual by claiming “we know better”? George Orwell‘s “Animal Farm” captures THAT belief when the lead pig states, “Some are more equal than others.” With Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, and Obama…they’re the pigs.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

TR? Newt Gingrich? See the comparisons?

English: Theodore Roosevelt, circa 1902

Our 26th President Theodore Roosevelt

He’s loud and opinionated. He’s obnoxiously confident. He’s always the smartest guy in the room. He’s brimming with ideas; most of them good and some of them clunkers. He’s ambitious. He’s opposed by his own Republican party’s so-called “insiders”. AND he wants to be President. Newt Gingrich, right? Well…sure…but the same was being said of Theodore Roosevelt in 1900.

English: A 1900 Republican campaign poster for...

1900 McKinley campaign banner.

Roosevelt was no friend to the GOP party bosses, just like Gingrich. In fact the Governor of New York was put on the Republican ticket as William McKinley‘s

William McKinley, President of the United Stat...

William McKinley

running mate in order to control him and keep him in his place. They figured in the VP slot he would have nothing to do, would be forced to support the dictates of his boss, the President, and would never be heard from again…like all previous Vice Presidents; after all only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and

Martin Van Buren. Library of Congress descript...

Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren in 1836 had ever served as Vice President and then been elected President. Four others became President upon the Presidents death. So the odds were good that Roosevelt would never be heard from again.

Like Gingrich, Roosevelt was always the smartest man in the room. He was the youngest to ever hold the Presidency. And his clashes with his own party eventually led him to form the Bull Moose party in 1912 and run as a third-party candidate against the incumbent Republican William Howard Taft. One can assume Gingrich is not planning such a split. In fact his positive and complimentary approach to ALL his GOP rivals has had me thinking from the start that he’s trying to position himself for a VP nomination if his out of step and out of funds Presidential bid flounders.

TR’s personal life escapes this comparison, for he was a devoted husband and father. As we’ll undoubtedly hear more about in coming months Gingrich was not a good husband to his first two wives. He had affairs with his second and third wives before divorcing the preceding wife. But all those heavily invested in the political process know these stories. But they don’t seem to matter to most.

Roosevelt ascended to the top post like two others before him when the President was assassinated in September 1901. When he left office in March 1909 he was still a young and vigorous man.  He had dominated the Congress and the World during his tenure truly transforming this country. Child Labor laws, National Parks, building a huge robust Navy that he sent around the world, Anti-Trust laws…and more. There are only four faces on Mount Rushmore; and he’s one of them.

English: Mt. Rushmore

Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln on Mt Rushmore

Gingrich may not be Roosevelt. But he may be. He may be the transformational figure this country needed at the start of the 20th Century and needs again at the start of the 21st Century. Having a brilliant history based intellectual like Gingrich in the White House who also happens to be tough and unconcerned with kissing the butts of all those GOP Washington insiders can ONLY be good.

He’s the smartest man in every room he walks into. From that standpoint he reminds me of both Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. The same could be said for both of these disgraced Presidents. On second thought…

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Did they die for more government or more Liberty?

English: U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosev...

Franklin Roosevelt address a joint session of Congress, December 8, 1941.

“A date which will live in infamy.” That’s what President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 as he addressed Congress asking for a Declaration of War against the imperial nation of Japan. He made this call for war following the “surprise” attack on the

The U.S. Navy battleship USS California (BB-44...

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago today.

U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that left over 2300 dead; nearly half of which were entombed on the battleship U.S.S. Arizona.

It’s worth noting that today’s 70th Anniversary of that infamous day follows by one day President Barrack Obama‘s biggest, latest speech in Osawatomie (pronounced oh-suh-WAHT-ah-mee) Kansas. The symbolism of Obama’s speech is supposed to be found in the location in which he chose to make it and how it was nearly 100 years from when former

English: Orotone of Theodore Roosevelt as Pres...

T.R.

President Theodore Roosevelt made his famous “New Nationalism” speech. The speech was in August 1910, more than 101 years ago; and it was nearly 50 miles away in Kansas City, Kansas. Nonetheless the current day White House nearly pulled a hamstring stretching to connect the two speeches.

In his speech Obama again made the call for more government and more regulation of business. He referred to the need to level the playing field for the great middle class of Americans. And he tried to make the connection with TR and the turn of the 20th century when he said: “At the turn of the last century, when a nation of farmers was transitioning to become the world’s industrial giant, we had to decide: Would we settle for a country where most of the new railroads and factories were being controlled by a few giant monopolies that kept prices high and wages low?” The statement is patently false. The tycoon industrialists of the late 1800s and early 1900s made their money by providing products at low prices, thus serving the masses instead of catering to the rich. Same as today.

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller founded the University of ...

Image via Wikipedia

became at one time the richest man on earth by building Standard oil into not only an oil production business, but into an oil refining and distribution business. As written in the Wikipedia biography of Rockefeller Standard Oil replaced the old distribution system with its own vertical system. It supplied kerosene by tank cars that brought the fuel to local markets and tank wagons then delivered to retail customers, thus bypassing the existing network of wholesale jobbers. He made the price of gasoline low so that more people could buy it. And in so doing he saved the whales. Prior to Rockefeller’s success whale oil was the primary means by which people burned oil. The whaling industry couldn’t compete and very quickly died.

Henry Ford

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Henry Ford paid his workers sufficient wages to be able to buy his product.

didn’t become fabulously wealthy by making the most expensive car on the market. Just the opposite. He created the assembly line; a much faster and more financially efficient way to build an automobile. Thus we had the Model T a car that was affordable to the average worker. And Ford famously said his success was predicated on building a product that his employees could afford to buy.

Andrew Carnegie, American businessman and phil...

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and others all had riches and power. But those riches and power were bestowed upon them by the American people buying their products because they made there products affordably.

How is that different from today’s tycoons? Bill Gates built computer software that was easy and compatible with multiple hardware manufacturers thus bringing the personal computer to a size and affordability of most Americans and business. Steve Jobs also built computers; but his greatest success began with his company’s invention of the Ipod; an easier and more affordable way to buy and listen to music. In doing so he turned the music industry upside down and changed it forever.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook. Did he achieve his billionaire status by “keeping prices high”? Absolutely not. He took the idea of a social “facebook” (small f), distributed it more widely and made it  FREE to everyone.

Obama said yesterday about Republicans: “And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” If only it were true. The fact is GOP politicians are nearly as guilty as Democrats in forcing government intrusion onto the lives of increasingly more Americans. The President went on to say we’re all better off when “we’re together than when we’re on our own”. On this we agree. But who made him Community Organizer in chief for my life? Who says government needs to force us together in order to benefit the most people. Rockefeller, Ford, Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg and countless others have repeatedly demonstrated that the philosophy of 18th economist Adam Smith was right.

Smith is the author of the seminal economic book “The Wealth of Nations” which correctly pointed out that the less government interferes with a free-market system the more people will prosper. Smith pointed out that when left on their own people had a selfish interest in serving people, community, the masses. Failing to do so meant a failure of a business. Doesn’t that make sense?

Official photographic portrait of US President...

President Barrack Obama

Obama’s repeated stated resistance to leave us to our own devices demonstrates a clear lack of faith in the Capitalist system and in the moral fiber of Americans. As we remember the brave souls who lost their lives 70 years ago today its incumbent upon us to ask ourselves why they died and why so many other Americans have fought and died in the name of our country through the past 2 1/4 centuries. Did they die in defense of a bigger Government controlling more and more of our lives; helping us along as Obama would want me to say. Or…did they die for our own individual liberty? Isn’t it obvious? And to properly honor their memory don’t we owe it to them and our own ancestors to struggle and succeed. For one always precedes the other.

Thanks for visiting. Your comments are welcome.

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