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OPINION: Message is good from Get Motivated! seminars

Whether or not you thought last week’s large and slick two-day Get Motivated! seminar here was a success likely depends on what you sought or expected.

Downtown Jackson and its new jewel, the Jackson Convention Complex, certainly fared well, demonstrating the city and the facility can indeed attract, host and handle huge back-to-back events and related transportation issues with surprising ease.

Curious celebrity and star gazers had to be pleased with the likes of heroes Rudy Guiliani and Archie Manning and renowned motivational speakers Zig Ziglar and Dr. Robert Schuller, live and in person as advertised.

And, revenue making hopefuls gathered tips from a half-dozen “do it my way” financial experts, most of whom made even more money here, hawking heavily discounted books, tapes and seminars seemingly designed to make all participants smart and savvy, not to mention wealthy.

It was, frankly, quite a show for the 10,000 or so folks who sought hours of advice and counsel, who hooted and hollered and danced in the aisles of a classy event that featured explosive fireworks, humor, wit and wisdom weaved through a common theme of feel-good optimism and patriotism and an occasionally heavy dose of Christian faith and allegiance.

Delivered up close from a center stage in the round and from afar on eight big screens high overhead the sea of padded seats, the messages were crisp, informative and enlightening, offering a veritable smorgasbord of advice, challenges and reason.

Rick Belluzzo, the former head of Microsoft, encouraged the crowd to be positive, proactive and energetic, to strive to make a difference, to invest in themselves, to take on tough assignments and not be afraid of adversity and to do the right thing with respect because the world is full of people who take the short cut or want to make the quick buck.

And he challenged them to always maintain integrity.

Schuller, the legendary positive thinking preacher, emphasized self motivation, noted everyone can be what they want to be and added it is important to look at what you have left more than looking at what you lost. He said dreams should be large enough for God to fit in and reminded that all can embrace words like “I am. I can. I will”.

And he reminded that being positive is when you add something to life while being negative only takes things away.

Giuliani, the Sept. 11 hero, admitted leaders are made, not born, explaining it is something learned from parents, books, people you admire and friends. He also reminded listeners no one gets through life without setbacks. Things go wrong, he said. People suffer tragedy. That’s life, he said.

He added good leaders should have strong beliefs, be optimistic, have courage within themselves, practice their skills, build teamwork, communicate well and have a sense of humor.

Investment guru Phil Town offered the audience tips on managing their own money, pointed to the internet as a tool of endless free advice and suggested that 85 percent of money in today’s stock market is now controlled by pension fund managers.

He said financial rewards are related to knowledge, not risk, and reminded all of the two basic rules of investment. Rule No. 1, Town said, is don’t lose money. Rule No. 2 is remember Rule No. 1.

A somewhat indulgent Tamara Lowe, who with her husband, Peter, formed the highly successful Get Motivated! series 25 years ago, told listeners to get past their past because most people have sad stories of their own.

She added you shouldn’t worry about what others think; excuses are unacceptable and winners take action.

A fall that has caused vertigo and short-term memory loss has slowed Ziglar, the Alabama-born,Yazoo City- raised, Millsaps-educated motivator, but hasn’t dulled his message or his humor. Aided by daughter Julie, he said life is important, do it right.

He suggested what happens at home impacts what happens in your community, encouraged men to court their wives after marriage, admitted attitude is important in everything you do, said military personnel merit more recognition and credit than they are given and added America needs to get back to the basics of which the country was founded by forefathers who relied heavily on God’s strength and wisdom.

Financier James Smith shared sobering facts. One of three people will retire on $900 a month. Many are just four paychecks away from disaster. And we spend more on coffee and colas in a year than educating ourselves.

He said people should be players and not fans, that all should have a purpose and that parents have an obligation to teach their children how to survive in a challenging world. Talking specifically to the women, he said if they thought their marriage was no good, it would likely improve if they sent flowers to themselves with no card.

Manning, the hometown favorite, told a few Peyton and Eli stories, then said leadership is what you do, not something you are, and added it isn’t so much what lies ahead or what lies behind as much as it is what lies within.

Noting the bigger the challenge, the greater the opportunity, he encouraged the audience to think like a leader, set goals like a leader and act like a leader, adding the ultimate measure of a man is where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.

Internet expert Bob Pattell shared money-making web tips that anyone can utilize, and encouraged listeners to visualize success , surround themselves with positive people and understand failures teach you how to be successful.

Many, he said, are held back from success because they are holding a grudge. Life is short, he added. Let them go.

And health expert Dr. Earl Mindell, saying people take better care of their cats, dogs, cars and rosebushes than themselves, offered some pointed dos and don’ts.

Avoid Twinkies, Ding Dongs and donuts, Mindell advised. Eating the box is healthier than consuming sugared cereals. Look out for hot dogs, sausage, bacon, lunch meats, potato chips, mayonnaise, French fries, colas, artificial sweeteners and margarine. And, to be safe, don’t eat or drink anything advertised on television.

He said drink six to 10 glasses of water, return to whole grain foods, eat seven to nine servings of fruit and vegetables daily, add movement to your life and maintain a healthy weight.

You become, he said, what you eat.

It’s a good line, one that may well similarly apply to those who attended either of the two Get Motivated! seminars. If you become what you hear, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Contact MBJ editor/publisher Ed Darling at ed.darling@msbusiness.com.

About Ed Darling

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