Do You Model These Principles?


by Burt Dubin on July 17, 2012

Do You Model These Principles?


“If you would converse with me,” (said Voltaire), please define your terms.”


Prin-ci-ples (prin’sa-ples),  n.  1. accepted or professed rules of action or conduct. 2. fundamental laws, axioms or doctrines:  the principles of physics 3. Personal basis of conduct or management: to adhere to one’s principles 4. Guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct:  a person of principle . . .



Did you know that the citizens of the United States

elected a speaker with unique principles

as president of the United States?


This speaker . . .

1. Had only 18 months of grade school education.

2. As president encouraged his top army generals to drink.

3. Stayed for his lifetime in a loveless marriage.

4. Is commemorated with his head beautifully carved on Mt. Rushmore.

5. Has his statue (seated) in a magnificent rotunda in Washington D.C.

6. Won a bloody war in which brother fought brother.

7. Delivered a short speech that he wrote on the back of an envelope . . .              a speech that millions of children learn by heart today.

Transcending that . . . he left us

seven lessons for all speakers:


What follows is my distillation of his recommended action for all public speakers:

1. Whatever your topic, be humane.  Radiate in your words and actions your concern for the human conditions.

2. Let your principles be the rock on which you stand.  Let your decisions be rooted in that rock.

3. Do not speak from your mouth.  Instead, speak from your heart.

4. Aim to be worthy of the privilege of the platform.

5. Do not advocate special interests unless they serve the interests and well being of ordinary people.

6. Live by the light of your inner voice, the quiet call of your conscience.

7. The way to rise is by continual self-improvement.

He was known to respond to those who called him two-faced, “If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one!”

Seven direct quotes of the words of Abraham Lincoln:


1. Towering genius distains a beaten path.  It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.

(Does this remind you of the co-founder of Apple?  BD}


2. Whatever you are, be a good one.

3. You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.

4. The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

5. When you are not recognized, strive to be worthy of recognition.

6. Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening my axe.

7. Hold on with a bulldog grip.

When I was a child living in a small row house at 56th and Pine in West Philadelphia it was an easy half hour walk to downtown Philadelphia. My father had a shop at 2nd and Pine. I walked downtown to that shop dozens (if not hundreds) of times.

I was thrilled and fascinated to be dwelling where so much early USA history was made. One of my favorite stops was at the corner of 2nd and Arch (as I recall). There, in a small cemetery, at the Arch Street edge, is the tomb of Benjamin Franklin. I often lingered there, an arms length from his headstone.  I reflected on his influence in the earliest days of the United States. More significantly on the character of this influential man who started as the owner of a small print shop.

It happened that I got zero inspiration in the dysfunctional home in which I grew up, the opposite actually. So I sought out heroes on whom I could model myself. Another of my heroes was Abraham Lincoln.

A favorite stop of mine was Independence Hall (on Chestnut Street as I recall,) in the heart of downtown. I remember standing on the bronze plate marking the spot where Lincoln stood as he announced the Emancipation Proclamation.

Enough of this rambling.  If you are a continuing reader of my scribblings and if you have observed my relentless emphasis on the significance of character development for speakers, you now know why.


Yearning for success as a speaker?


Go here:

<  >

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: