This I Believe

Higginbotham, George R.


  • George Higginbotham, president of the Consolidation Coal Company, describes his "principle of kindness" (a resolve to avoid hurting others), his "principle of self-analysis" (a process of self-reflection which determines personal faults and ways in which to overcome them), and his "principle of tolerance" (a belief that because God is compassionate and forgiving, he should be as well).
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. George R. Higginbotham is the president of the Consolidation Coal Company in his native West Virginia. He has been in the coal business for twenty-five years, starting as an unskilled laborer. He advanced to various supervisory jobs inside the mines, where day is night and night is night. He emerged from the dark of the mines, not only with experience, but with a philosophy. Here is George Higginbotham.
Until I received an invitation to appear on this program, the moral and spiritual beliefs by which I live have never been clearly defined in my mind. Yet having thought them through and through and discovered the extent to which they govern my everyday action, at the risk of sounding pretentious I am pleased to call them “my creed.”
With a belief in the power and a need of friendship, one of my rules for living is to avoid, whenever possible, any thought or action which may cause needless distress to another being. This I label my “principle of kindness,” one of the first requirements for real friendship, and one which can easily be overlooked or neglected. I have never found any compensation in making a gain at the expense of
another, and I never intentionally make an enemy, nor do I permit an enmity to exist if it lies within my power to remedy the situation.
Another practice which has done wonders for both my physical and spiritual well being is that of reckoning up my faults occasionally. To do this honestly and conscientiously has proved a little frightening on occasions and has clearly pointed out the truism that perfection is not a tangible reality, but a goal seldom attained. However, to move toward that goal, I try to delineate the personal barriers which I, alone, can and must overcome. Once I brought them into my own conscientiousness, their mere recognition helps to promote my improvement and my fuller understanding of their existence in others. This I label my “principle of self-analysis.”
One of my essential beliefs embraces a Supreme Being. The God I worship demands little material display. His tenets have no certain day for observance but are as binding on Monday as they were on Sunday. The God I worship has equal forgiveness and compassion for great and small, dark and fair, educated and unlearned. I choose to believe that His principles include the brotherhood of all men who will accept Him without the limitations set by men themselves.
While geographical and political factors contrive to estrange the various ideologies, I cannot have as a personal belief the theory that anyone who does not worship as I do is in error. Nor can I believe that one whose political or moral beliefs conflict with mine is
consigned to a flaming hereafter. In my business and social life, people from every station are my friends. It is not my aim to convert others to my beliefs but to nourish and strengthen these beliefs to my own spiritual satisfaction. This I label my “principle of tolerance.”
A large part of my personal life has been influenced by my family, and they have shared in forming my beliefs. Along with an abiding trust in the essential good of man and his ability to overcome his problems, a more immediate, personal hope is that I may leave a heritage of honor and an awareness of truth with my two young sons, who will be a part of the future.
Those were the beliefs of George R. Higginbotham, the president of the Consolidation Coal Company in his native West Virginia.