Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Best Advice Reagan Ever Received

In Hand of Providence is the story of Ronald Reagan getting his first job as a radio announcer.

His father had concurred with news reports advising people to stay in their own communities, even though he himself had been an ambitious man whose dreams had been crushed by the Depression. Quoting Reagan's autobiography: “I think he understood the fire that was burning inside me—a drive to make something of myself—that had always burned inside him.” His father let Reagan borrow the family car to continue his quest.
His persistence eventually paid off. Dutch landed a job as a sports announcer at WOC in Davenport, Iowa, and met an unforgettable Scotsman named Peter MacArthur who is program director at the station. Dutch had never mentioned he was interested in sports at his previous interviews, but fortunately, this time, he tried a different approach. “This man gave me probably the most unusual audition that has ever been given,” Reagan later wrote in the letter. “He put me in the studio all by myself. I was to imagine a football game, broadcast it, and try to make him see it. Well, that is what I did—for about fifteen minutes.” Reagan raided his memories and colorfully described one of the games he played at Eureka in great detail. After the audition, the Scotsman “walked back into the studio and told me to be there on the following Saturday—I was broadcasting a Big Ten game, the Iowa-Minnesota homecoming game.”

“And that was the start of everything that has happened since,” declared Reagan years later when writing a letter about the best advice he ever received.  “But the advice that led to that was the thing—that it isn't necessary to have pull, or to have someone get you a position. If you really have faith, and will decide what it is you want to do, and then go out and knock on enough doors, you will find someone willing to gamble on even the most experienced person, as I was.”

Dutch worked the rest of the football season broadcasting Big Ten games and loving it.
To recap:
  1. Believe.
  2. Decide what you want to do.
  3. Persist.

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