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The PragerU Take on Ayn Rand

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Check out the brand new PragerU video on Ayn Rand. Watch the video or read the transcript below!

Script:

Who is John Galt?

This is one of the most famous questions in modern literature. Even today, over 50 years after it was written, you’ll hear people asking it.

Why?

Because it recalls the riveting suspense story, heroic characters, and powerful ideas portrayed in the bestselling novel Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 2, 1905, Rand became one the most celebrated authors and philosophers of the 20th century. Her most famous novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, still sell hundreds of thousands of copies every year around the world.

Rand lived through the early years of the Russian Revolution, saw her father’s pharmacy business confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and experienced the horrors of communism firsthand.

She longed to emigrate to America. In 1926, she did—and never looked back.

To Rand, the United States meant freedom. She saw the Founding Fathers as heroes. They created a country based on individual rights.

“Man’s right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness,” she said, means that every individual has a “right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself”—nor to the government.

The practical results of the American system, Rand said, could be seen in the skyline of New York City.

“America’s skyscrapers,” she noted, “were not built by public funds nor for a public purpose: they were built by the energy, initiative, and wealth of private individuals for personal profit. And, instead of impoverishing the people, these skyscrapers, as they rose higher and higher, kept raising the people’s standard of living.”

Rand advocated pure capitalism, which she described as a system in which “the government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights.” No bailouts, no special favors for big business, no government intervention into the economy.

When people are free to produce and trade, and when the government is limited to protecting rights, everyone benefits. Individuals thrive. Societies prosper.

How do we know this?

Compare freer, more capitalist societies to less free, more statist ones:

In Rand’s day —

America compared to the Soviet Union.

West Germany to East Germany.

More recently:

South Korea to North Korea.

Colombia to Venezuela.

Such differences were painfully obvious to Rand. So were their causes.

In Atlas Shrugged, she showed how easily a free society can collapse into a dictatorship. The heroine, Dagny Taggart, works tirelessly and brilliantly to save her family’s railroad business, while ever-increasing government interventions destroy businesses and crush the economy.

Meanwhile, one by one, the top producers across various industries mysteriously disappear. No one knows where they have gone. The only clue is a question they leave behind: Who is John Galt?

As the economy crumbles, how do politicians, bureaucrats, and academics react? They blame “the greedy businessman” and decry the profit motive and free markets. Their solution: more government intervention which, of course, only makes the problem worse.

Sound familiar?

Atlas Shrugged is a cautionary tale about pursuing equality over excellence—state control over free markets—but it’s also about the power of the individual and the power of reason.

The individual’s reasoning mind, Rand argued, is his tool of knowledge—his only means of understanding what is true or false, how the world works, what is good or bad for his life.

This is the theme of Rand’s work more broadly: In order to thrive, to achieve happiness, the individual must think for himself and live by the judgment of his own mind.

We'd love to hear your thoughts about this article. Please take a minute to share them in the comment section by clicking here. Or carry the conversation over on your favorite social network by clicking one of the share buttons below.


Chris is the President of the American Freedom Tour, one of the World's Top 50 Speakers and a member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame. He considers it a privilege to be able to speak to people, help them lead successful lives, become extraordinary leaders and, masterful salespeople. Chris has authored twenty books with three million copies in print in 14 languages and over 450 articles on success, leadership, sales and motivation.



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Business

Delegation: An Ongoing Phenomena

Failure to delegate effectively often happens because team leader don’t trust the people with whom they’re working

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For most of your career, you’ve read or heard that one of the key approaches to getting things done is to delegate effectively. This presumes that you have others to whom you can delegate. In my contact with more than 950 organizations over the last two and a half decades, I’ve found increasingly that people have fewer resources, a lower budget, and less staff people. If they want to get something done, often they have to do it themselves!

Assuming you have others to whom you can delegate, the first or second time you personally tackle a particular task yields useful information. You learn more about the nature of the task, how long it takes, and whether or not you enjoy doing it.

By the third time, a task of the same ilk as those you’ve handled before often becomes best handled by someone reporting to you. Such tasks could involve updating a database, completing an interim report, or assembling meeting notes.

All that You Can

On the path to getting things done, your quest is to identify all those things that you can possibly delegate to others and then prepare those others so that they have a high probability of succeeding. In the course of your workday there may be only a handful of things that you alone need to do because of your experience, insight or specialized knowledge. Everything else that can be delegated should be.

Some people feel they have to take care of everything themselves and to this day haven’t been able to break the habit of “doing it all.” If this someone is in your seat right now, recognize that as a category of one, you can only get so much done.

Many managers and supervisors fail to delegate effectively because either they don’t fully trust the people with whom they’re working, or they’ve always been get-it-all-done-by-myself types.

Take Time before You Assign

Prior to delegating anything to anyone, take the time to actually prepare your staff for delegation. This would involve assessing an employee’s skills, interests, and needs. You could even ask people what new tasks and responsibilities they would like to assume. You might be surprised at the wide variety of responses you receive. There may be people on your staff right now who can help you with tasks you’ve been dying to hand off to someone but didn’t see how or when you could put them into play.

While you want to delegate to staff people who show enthusiasm, initiative and interest, or have otherwise previously demonstrated the ability to handle and balance several tasks at once, sometimes you have to delegate to someone who has not exhibited any of the above. In that case, delegate on a piece-meal basis.

Ensure that the staff person is able to effectively handle the small task or tasks he’s been assigned and does not feel swamped or overloaded. When the staff person demonstrates competence, you can increase the complexity of assignments and even the frequency with which you delegate.

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Business

Multi-tasking: More Harm than Good

In this day and age, where so much competes for our attention, it is easy to stray!

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I belong to a local health club, and while I was there one day, I saw a woman get on the Stairmaster. I watched as she whipped out an mp3 player and started listening to music. Then, to my surprise, she reached into her gym bag, pulled out a book, and placed it on that ledge to read. I almost asked her if she would like a piece of gum!

Today, when so much competes for our attention, it is easy to stray! More often than we care to pretend, in the office and at home, we invite more than we can handle, and then act as though we didn’t. As individuals, throughout society, we are trained to believe that the ability to multi-task is a great attribute. Unfortunately, that’s a big mistake. Here’s why, and how to avoid multi-tasking in the future.

First Things First

What’s the fastest and easiest way to handle six tasks competing for our attention? Identify the most important task, second most important, third most important, and so on, then tackle the first and finish it all the way, move on to the second and complete it, then move all the way down the list.

Any other way of tackling those items, whether they are tasks for home or work, is simply not as efficient. The catch is, any other way is more psychologically satisfying.  Why?  It’s almost as if juggling projects, switching gears unnecessarily or abruptly, or leaving a job unfinished to start a new project gives you the opportunity to say to other people, “Hey, look at me! Look how involved I am! Look at how busy I am! I’m great at multi-tasking.” A multi-tasker, however, can’t compete with others who tackle their to-do list, one item at a time.

What about doubling up as a procedure for tackling a number of routine items or very simple tasks? You can eat dinner and read a book at the same time. Eating and reading at the same time is relatively harmless.

How about driving and talking on the cell phone at the same time? Driving requires your sharp attention, as does carrying on an intelligent conversation with someone else who is not present; doing both at the same time spreads your attention too thin, with often disastrous results. The same is true for projects you’re working on that require your best thinking.

Tips:
* give yourself 5 to 10 minute intervals to focus on the task at hand
* safe-guard your immediate environment to avoid interruptions
* acknowledge yourself whenever you stick to one task and finish it
* repeat all the above, often, knowing that ‘more often’ is better!

Your Undivided Attention

When you’re working on a new task, brainstorming, engaging in first-time thinking, or doing creative work, it’s vital to offer your complete and undivided attention to that one task before you. To dissipate your attention or otherwise stray means you are not going to do your best work.

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