This I Believe

Johnson, Holgar J.

  • Holgar Johnson, President of the Institute of Life Insurance, explains the importance of adapting to change for progress, and lists some of his beliefs such as: faith in honesty of people, respect for people, the importance of compassion, taking action for one's self, and the belief in a higher power. This essay also contains an advertisement for a This I Believe LP album.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Holgar J. Johnson is president of the Institute of Life Insurance. Starting as agent upon leaving college, he worked his way up through the managerial end of the business, until in 1938, he received national recognition for his achievements. Here is Holgar Johnson's creed.
Shortly after the end of the Second World War, a young soldier came to see me. He had been taken out of high school, given his basic training, then shipped off to war, campaigning through Africa, Italy, France, and into Germany. He came home confused. He was disillusioned.
He thought he had lost several years time. He asked me if I felt there were any normal times ahead in which a young man could grow and progress?
His question challenged me. I thought of the years in which I had lived and couldn't remember the so called "normal times." It seemed that we had had nothing but social and economic disturbances and two World Wars. But on second thought, I remembered the progress made in this period. More progress was made by our country and its people than anything I had discovered from the reading of history. So while I don't think there is anything such as "normal times,"
I do believe that our progress depends upon our ability and capacity to adjust our self to change as it comes upon us.
I also have a profound believe in the honesty and integrity of most people. You may fool some people for a while, but most people can and do recognize sincerity, because people are basically honest. Most of my life I have worked with young people and found that they are quick to recognize what are sometimes called the "smart approach," even though they may try to mimic it. But when the test comes, they can be depended upon to see through it, and they will respond to honest frankness and sincerity.
I believe most people have a sense of wanting to be important, no matter what their walk of life. It seems to me that this desire for recognition, this sense of importance helps create some of our current social problems, for nobody wants to be a number. The plain fact is each recognizes that as a person, he or she is entitled to the dignity of being a person.
I believe that I have a responsibility for my own success or failure. I cannot depend upon others to see me through, though certainly I am sometimes helped by what others do for me. My life has been richer because a Y camp-director was willing to spend time with me at a campfire,
and point the way for me to return to school after I had gone to work at the age of 13. But as I look back, although he showed me the way, had I not taken the responsibility, his vision would never have become a reality. Furthermore, I would not have had the opportunity to show the same possibility to several others except for what one man did for me, and because I took the responsibility to follow through.
I believe in the importance of love and affection in human understanding and their influence on our lives. Whether it be the relationship that exists between the members of a family, or between two people,
or the simple companionship of a man and his dog, one cannot develop such qualities and at the same time be primarily concerned with what one gets out of it. I must sometimes be willing to set myself aside for the good of others, and strangely enough I usually get more in return than I give. Yes, I have been hurt sometimes. But I know that the scale will eventually balance in my favor.
Then too I believe in a Supreme Being, for without the hope that comes from a realization that the universe is ordered by some force greater than man himself, we sink to the level of a crass, materialistic world in which there is little room for the other things I believe.
That was Holgar J. Johnson, president of the Institute of Life Insurance in New York City.
This I Believe is now a Columbia LP record album. Two records, with two exciting new ideas, commentary by Edward R. Murrow. First, the beliefs of ten living Americans. Second, the beliefs of ten immortals, including Socrates, Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Will Rogers, Confucius and Ghandi, written by their most famous biographers, spoken by their best portrayers, Helen Hayes, Katharine Cornell, Raymond Massey, Jose Ferrer, and others. See the This I Believe LP album at your record dealer today.