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Winning Words

Small-town boy’s big-time message reminds all of us to focus on center


Zig Ziglar, one of the world's greatest and most recognizable faces, voices, and names in the history of motivation and personal development, was from Yazoo City, Mississippi. Zig used to love to talk about his hometown and share just how small of a place Yazoo City was. And then he would tie that story to a really relevant point to connect the end of his funny description.

Zig would share with the audience that he could prove that Yazoo City was indeed the center of the universe, and then he would go on to explain and rationalize his statement by saying that because you can get anywhere and go anywhere you wanted from his small town, that must mean that you can go anywhere in life you wanted to go from wherever you are. The choice was always up to the listener.

I am remembering this now story because the other day I was on a conference call and one of the participants was actually in Yazoo City. And when I shared with her that I had heard Yazoo City was the center of the universe and you can go anywhere you want to go from there, she quickly replied, "Oh no you cannot." As I tried to share Zig's story, she continued to argue against the point and it was obvious to see how she may be somewhat representative of many of us who have become jaded in some way, or maybe even lost our own center of the universe.

So that got me to thinking about the situation here in our very own country. Every day the Republicans are pointing at the Democrats and the Democrats are pointing back at the Republicans. It seems like the truth can be really elusive. And we all know the truth can always be found somewhere in the middle.

This is not an article meant to fix a broken political system, but rather to remind us all that perhaps we have gotten a little too far from center. The taboo used to be, and maybe still is in some places, that we should never discuss money, politics, or religion in certain situations, or maybe even never at all. Well now we have taken this philosophy to an extreme. I know couples who cannot discuss politics or it erupts in a terrible argument. I have heard of couples becoming separated and possibly divorced as they cannot find their way back to center.

And this lack of center when it comes to the state of money, politics and religion has even caused tremendous strife and chasm between siblings, friends, and the closest of partners or co-workers. We have become so focused on the extreme far side of a problem that we have lost sight of the center right in front of us, our spouses, our children and our family and friends. Those we love the most.

I don't know about you, but if I could be somewhere, anywhere for that matter, and if I knew I could go anywhere I wanted to go, and that the choice was up to me, I would choose to get back to the center of my universe, and in front of the person or people most important to me. They could be from the left side or from the right side, it doesn't matter because my focus is and should be on the relationship that is the center of my universe.

So how about you, do prefer the extreme periphery or do you enjoy the center of your universe? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com, and when we can place those who live in the center of our hearts right in front of us, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corp., a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach. 

Michael Norton


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