5.4. DELIVERING THE LETTER TO GARCIA


There are several wars in this world of ours: between men and women, which are condemned to misunderstand each other since they want different things: men want women and women want… men.

Another war is between rich and poor. And then a third one is between those driving a Ferrari and those who say: I shall still be driving a Ferrari too (on the same side); and those who on the contrary say: you shall be walking by foot, as I do, some day.

Father António Vieira, the great Portuguese thinker of the 17th Century, distinguished between two kinds of people: those of the steps (passos) and those of the court (paço). The former attack the ball at a penalty kick with all their strength. The latter, face to face with the ball, opt for theorizing about how to do penalty kicks.

The former are “can do Joes” following Nike’s slogan: “Just do it”… they are those which… deliver the letter to Garcia.


Let us give the word to the marvellous leaflet by Elbert Hubbard (40 million copies):

“When war broke between the USA and Spain, the leader of the Cuban revolutionaries, general Garcia, had its base in the mid of the Cuban mountains but nobody knew for sure, where.

There was no way to communicate with him by mail, telegraph, whatsoever. The USA President, MacKinley, had to obtain, urgently, its cooperation. But: what to do?

MacKinley called for Rowan (an assistant to him) and gave him a letter to deliver to Garcia.

Rowan took the letter and put it in his pocket. Four days later he disembarked from a small boat in the Cuban coast. He went into the wilderness. And three weeks afterwards, he appeared on the other side of the island, after having crossed at foot an hostile country and having delivered the letter to… Garcia.

This is the point I wish to stress: President MacKinley gave a letter to Rowan for him to deliver it to Garcia. Rowan took the letter and did not ask: where can I find him?

Here is a man whose figure should be engraved in bronze and put in all the schools of the world. The youth needs neither book learning, nor vague instruction on this and that, but rather to temper their nerves, be loyal, act promptly, concentrate energies and deliver the letter to Garcia.

There is no one who has not felt frustrated and demoralized in some occasions in the face of men he/she relied upon, only to find in them inaptitude and lack of will to focus on and finish a given task.

You, dear reader, try it. Call an employee and ask him: “please, be as kind as to check on an encyclopedia and write a brief note on the life of Correggio”.

The employee will look at you, with dum, lifeless eyes, and throw a long list of questions such as:

  • Who was Correggio?
  • Which encyclopedia do you recommend I look into?
  • Where is the encyclopedia?
  • Are you sure you do not mean Bismarck?
  • Why didn’t you ask this from Carlos?
  • Is he already dead?
  • How urgent is it?
  • Shall I bring the encyclopedia for you to take a look?
  • What is it for?
  • When I started working here, I thought you would be giving me different types of tasks…

Recently, I did hear statements of sympathy for those who unemployed look for an honest job.

However no word was said, nobody mentioned the boss who ages before time, trying in vain that his/her employees perform a diligent and intelligent job, in a daily struggle against those who do absolutely nothing as soon as he/she turns the back on them.

Every shop, every company, are constantly depurating itself from the bad elements. The boss, in order for business to prosper must let go some elements and hire new ones. The incompetent and unworthy will always be asked to leave. It is in the boss own interest to keep the best those who can deliver the letter to Garcia.

Did I express myself to harshly? Perhaps. But while most show pity for those who fail, my sympathy goes to those who prevail, against all odds, those who make things happen.

To the men who when given a letter to Garcia, obediently takes it, asks no unnecessary questions and just delivers it, this men never will be without a job and he needs not to go on strike to ask for better salaries. My heart is thus, with this type of man. It is of these men that civilization needs and progress is made of.”

Moral of the history? Two.

First: this is the explanation for the failure of communism. Asks E. Hubbard: “If men lack diligence, what will they do when benefits are to be shared by all?”

Answer: very little as M. Tatcher put it: “There were two systems and two results. It is not with impunity that one ignores human nature.”

Second: between progress and misery stands only those who every single day, make a point of being, not part of the problem, not even of the landscape, but of the solution.

Their daily motto is “if there is a will there is a way”. They follow the marines as they say: “nothing will happen during my watch”. And they understand what Lord Nelson transmitted to the British sailors of Trafalgar: “Great Britain expects that each one will do his duty.”

Military? No. Neither military, nor civilian. Just a fundamental attitude before life. These men are the true civilization heroes, anonymous or well known, rich or poor, bosses or employees. Because they assure that every single day will bring progress.

By delivering the letter to Garcia, these men are those the Bible has in its mind when it says: “By their fruits, you shall recognize them” (Mateus 7:16).