Will and Will
by Jim Stovall
I have had the privilege of writing these weekly columns for 20 years. Winners’ Wisdom began in a local business journal in my hometown and has expanded to newspapers, magazines, and online publications literally around the world. It is read by several million people each week, and whether this is your first occasion to sample Winners’ Wisdom or whether you’ve been with me every week for 20 years, I am grateful for your interest and your support.
Writing a regular column is an ongoing balance between information and opinion. I always seek to be factual, but I share Winners’ Wisdom from my own perspective which is the only one I have to share. Whether you agree with me or not, I hope Winners’ Wisdom causes you to think and act. On the occasions we might disagree, please remember it’s only my opinion, and I am still the world’s leading authority on my opinion.
In order to improve my skills and perspective as a columnist, I have read countless columns written by a myriad of writers. In the world of columnists, it seems to me that two individuals rise above the crowd in both their expertise and their impact.
The most influential columnist of his time, and possibly any time, was Will Rogers. Will is the favorite son of my home state of Oklahoma. He wrote a daily column for many years. This was long before the Internet and the high-speed transmission of digital data. Will Rogers’ columns were typed on a manual typewriter and transmitted via telegraph from coast to coast and beyond every day.
There was a question that many Americans greeted one another with during the 1920s and 1930s. Much like we might ask, “How are you doing?” they asked one another, “Have you read Will yet today?” Before the Internet and network television, Will Rogers was the glue that held our country together.
Among the columnists working today, George Will could be considered a giant. You don’t have to always agree with George’s opinion to respect his perspective and his presentation. George is fond of saying, “You cannot reason people out of a position they did not reason themselves into.” Before you try to change someone’s opinion based on the height of your logic, up-to-the-minute statistics, or the facts as you see them, determine whether they are holding their current opinion based on emotion or reason. People who have come to their conclusions solely based on emotion will not change their minds regardless of facts, logic, or current reality.
Before you engage in any dialogue or debate, determine whether you are arguing against reason or emotion. I have held a number of opinions that I came to via logic or statistics. I am perfectly willing to change my opinion if and when the facts change; however, there are other opinions I hold based on emotion. These opinions are very personal to me, and cannot be so easily altered.
As you go through your day today, determine whether you’re dealing with emotion or reason before you discuss or debate.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email atJim@JimStovall.com; on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stovallauthor; or on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.