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Ethics & Religion
July 14, 2021
Column #2083
"Lessons For Life"
(First of a two-part series)
By Mike McManus

Husbands and wives with children should consider two steps. First, read Rich DeVos' important but brief book, Hope From My Heart: 10 Lessons for Life to each other. Second, read key excerpts to your children.

Richard (Rich) DeVos wrote the book in 2000. It was published by J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson.

The late Charles Colson asserted, "Rich DeVos, one of the wisest men I've known, dispenses that wisdom powerfully in Hope From My Heart. I heartedly recommend it; it is filled with great lessons for life."

Betty Ford, former First Lady of the United States, says "It is fun; it is enlightening, and inspirational. A great read."

DeVos is the co-founder with Jay Van Andel of Amway, perhaps the largest direct sales company in the world. It began as a drive-in restaurant business, where each took turns cooking and waiting on customers. DeVos was born in 1926 and died in 2018.

His short book has 10 chapters that are only 6-8 pages long. Each puts a spotlight on a virtue important to DeVos.

Lesson 1: Hope. In 1997 "I found myself lying on a gurney in a hospital in a foreign country, being wheeled toward an operating room for a heart transplant." He had to face the prospect of his own death. However, he writes, "For me, whatever the wind blows my way, hope is constant...It is hope in God that lights the way along life's path and shines a comforting glow on death's door."

Lesson 2: Persistence. When Amway made its first million dollars, DeVos and his partner, Jay Van Andel planned s big sales meeting which they promoted through radio and newspaper ads. They rented an auditorium but only two people showed up. Confronted with this failure, they could have given up.

However, they decided to persist. DeVos writes, "If I could pass on one character trait to young people - one single quality that would help them achieve success in life - it would be persistence. It's more important than intellect, athletic ability, good looks or personal magnetism. Persistence comes from a deep place in the soul. It is a God-given compensation for what we lack in other areas of life."

Lesson 3: Confidence. While in their twenties, the two men bought a sailboat to sail down the East Coast to Cuba and South America. But the boat sank in Cuba. DeVos says the trip "changed my life. I learned to take risks and to rise above defeat in order to achieve a goal and realize a dream."

"Every subsequent venture in my life has benefitted from lessons learned on that trip. Confidence is rooted in the irrational hope that things will work out. Don't let your dreams die for lack of confidence. Don't let others transfer their fears to you. And don't wait until you `know enough.' If you do that, you'll never begin."

Lesson 4: Optimism: DeVos asserts "We need to honor those who create and take risks. When we discredit problem solvers and creators, innovation is stifled."

He notes that a lot of people are consumed by nostalgia for "the good old days." They are pessimistic about the present and the future. Yet DeVos notes "When our nation was established, life expectancy was less than 40 years of age. For men a typical workweek was 72 hours. For women it was worse. He asks, "Does that sound like the good old days?"

"Optimism diverts our attention away from negativism and channels it into positive, constructive thinking...In fact, without optimism issues as big and on-going as poverty have no hope of solution. It takes a dreamer, someone with hopelessly optimistic ideas, great persistence, and unlimited confidence to tackle a problem that big. It's your choice."

Lesson 5: Respect. Rich DeVos asserts, "Respect is what makes the world go round. Every person is a human being created in the image of God with a purpose and place in life."

He adds that over the years, "I've thought long and hard about what constitutes a good leader and about what particular qualities makes a person effective. I've concluded that respect for others is the most essential trait a leader must possess."

Next week's column will explore five more "Lessons for Life:" Accountability, Family Freedom, Faith and Grace.

All are worthy virtues to live by.

_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

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