What Matters to the World

Colin Powell has a straightforward dignity about him.

He maintains a quiet, no-nonsense attitude that commands respect regardless of political ideology. His speech seems measured, like a man determined to be certain his words are easily interpreted.

I recently saw an interview in which he discussed joining the Army.

Entering service at a tumultuous time in American history, when forced integration of schools divided much of the South, Powell’s superiors told him bluntly:

We don’t care about the color of your skin. We don’t care about excuses. We care about performance.

Having mixed soldiers of different races together since 1948, tension regarding ancestry was a waste of time for his branch of service.

Those words ring true in the civilian sector, too.

What happened to you before is uninteresting until after you’ve added something to people’s lives.

There are sad stories in all realms: wasted opportunities, no opportunities, broken homes, broken hearts.

For every hundred people complaining about the obstacles, there’s at least one clearing them.

History is littered with examples of people that overcame everything which might hold them back driven by a singular focus. Immigrants have landed on these shores with little more than rags, then carved massive fortunes out of this fertile soil called “American liberty.”

What do the legendary understand more than the forgotten?

Results are driven by persistent action.

Guided by a purposeful spirit and buoyed by determination, one can achieve anything.

Concern yourself with providing value.

What creates that?

Consistent, repeatable outcomes which improve some aspect of the day-to-day grind.

How do you get there?

Focus on your actions.

What can be done quicker? More efficient? Less expensive?

Could you make something lighter? More sleek? Less complicated?

Open yourself to being better. Fail and learn and fail again. It’s usually worth it.

Strive for effectiveness. It’s what matters to the world.

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2 Responses to “What Matters to the World”



  1. 1 Wipe Away Failure « MeBuilding Trackback on June 23, 2010 at 8:03 am
  2. 2 “The test is where you make your money.” « MeBuilding Trackback on July 16, 2010 at 7:08 am
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