Phillip Read, Chairman of the Board at General Electric, describes his belief that, even if life continues after death, individuals should still work to make the most of their time on earth, striving to achieve excellence in their activities and to experience the joy that comes from serving others. Audio also contains advertisement for "This I Believe" book.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Philip D. Reed is one of America's most able and statesman-like businessmen. Trained as a lawyer and engineer, he rose from a minor legal job with General Electric to become that firm's youngest chairman of the board. Here are the personal beliefs of Philip D. Reed.
I suppose every one of us has at some time said to himself: why and for what purpose am I here on this earth? Is this life an end in itself or simply a preparation for another life hereafter? Ought we
behave in a particular way here in order to enjoy some sort of Paradise later; or should we seek to make this life our Paradise?
It is probably fair to say that no one can answer these questions dogmatically, and I would be the last to attempt it. But each of us will answer them for himself based on his background, his religious upbringing, his environment and his intellectual makeup.
Take myself, for example. Much as I hope-and on clear, starry nights on a hilltop, much as I believe-that another and perhaps finer experience lies beyond this life, yet I am persuaded that our presence on earth,
here and now, is a mission in itself and that we should make the very most of it. I also believe that the true measure of our success or failure in this life is the fullness, the fineness, the completeness with which we succeed in living it.
Fortunately each of us in this world is different from every other one. Each has certain aptitudes and skills, certain capacities, certain likes and dislikes which, taken together, make us individuals or personalities. We may, and frequently do, have different values, different standards, different ideas of what is important, or useful, or fun. But we are all people with bodies and souls.
I may be wrong, but it has been my observation that the people who seem both to give and to get the most out of life are those who, in addition to all their other qualities, have two things in common.
First, they do whatever they are doing-all out. Whether it be work or play, dull or exciting, little or big, they give the matter their undivided attention and try to do their level best. Without being stuffy about it they have made a sort of creed or habit of being satisfied only with their utmost effort.
The second thing these people have in common is the rather special satisfaction, the deep-down joy they get out of a very simple thing-being helpful to other people. Just to be able in the course of their everyday lives to do something a little extra for a friend, a client, a patient, a customer or perhaps a complete stranger, they have found to be a most rewarding experience.
The kind of people I speak of are all about us, in every walk of life and of every faith and nationality. They are the truly happy people who are making this life gloriously worth living.
And so, I deeply believe that if I concentrate just a bit more on those two qualities-trying to do everything I do a little better than I know how, and making a point of giving a hand to others-I too can get all the joy and satisfaction out of my life that those wise and fortunate people are getting out of theirs.
Those were the personal beliefs of Philip Reed. They were chosen from the beliefs broadcast in the past two years for inclusion in the new This I Believe book, now at your bookstore.