This I Believe

Killion, George L.


  • George Killion remembers his father and the beliefs his farther imparted to him: compassion, respect for others, and adherence to the Golden Rule. George Killion remembers his father and the beliefs his farther imparted to him: compassion, respect for others, and adherence to the Golden Rule.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. George L. Killion, who is now president of the American President steamship lines, was born, appropriately enough, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He has been, among other things, a newspaper reporter, public relations consultant, commissioner of the Golden Gate International Exposition, director of finance of the State of California and a U.S. Army major on the staff of the Allied Military Government. These are some of the things George Killion’s broad experience has taught him to believe.
An early impression of childhood, which in reality became a code of conduct, grows more impressive as I pass through each new day: the importance of my relationships with other people and my understanding of them, and, hence, my understanding of life itself. The impression of which I speak I developed through a very close and very warm relationship with my father, with whom, as a youth, I herded cattle, harvested crops, and answered the many demands of a stock ranch in Western Colorado.
There was always evident an eagerness on the part of my father to withhold judgment and respect to those who differed with him, and an equal desire to try to understand thoroughly their point of view, as well as his own.
Often he would tell me that the capacity to enjoy life, the ability to promote personal happiness and progress, depended to a very great extent on the quality of one’s relationship with other people. He told me that to be able to enjoy progress, peace, and fulfillment, one must first achieve a better understanding—a clearer appreciation—of the positive, the good, the qualities in others; but above all, to strive to reflect in one’s own life—to give out—even more of the good than may be found or sought in others.
My desire to open my mind to the point of view of other people does not necessarily imply, nor mean, full or even partial agreement with the opinions so expressed.
Regardless of how dissimilar my own views might be to theirs, a realization of the purity of their intent has brought to me, as one individual, many deep and satisfying rewards. The more smoothly I learned to work with people, the easier it became for me to achieve the objectives I had set for myself.
While all life, in one way or another, is a contest, I soon found that a positive attitude toward people was, in turn, reflected by their confidence and their trust in me. I found, also, that peace of mind inevitably followed when I learned not to pre-judge: look first at the point of view of the others, and then reexamine my own. Later, when I was privileged to direct the work of others, I learned, as my father demonstrated to me, not to expect more of them than I myself was willing to give.
By demanding of myself a high standard of performance, it was more natural that those under my guidance responded in kind.
My belief, therefore, may easily and simply be stated in the words of one of the greatest of the divine truths: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” The Golden Rule, applied to each contact with each person on each problem of everyday life, was the pattern of human understanding my father set for me, so carefully interpreted to me as a boy, and so devoutly followed all of his life.
The pattern did not fail my father, and it has not failed me. It cannot fail. This I believe.
That was the creed of George L. Killion of Oakland, California, a shipping executive whose sympathy toward others has yielded deep and lasting satisfaction.