Tribute to Earl Nightingale

I recently bought the Nightingale-Conant program The Essence of Success, a collection of 20 CDs of Earl Nightingale recordings, dating back to the 1950s. In the mid to late 1980s I listened to Earl’s programs on tapes. I subscribed to his program Insight, a monthly magazine on tapes. The first half of the cassette had an introductory section of a Nightingale-Conant author, introduced by Earl, and the back contained vignettes of wisdom and inspiration recorded by Earl. I loved Insight, and I was always excited when I received the new issue.

Often I listened to the Insight tapes while walking at night. When my daughter was an infant, I’d put her in the snugli strapped to my chest, put on headphones and listened to Insight, while we’d take long walks. When I’d re-listen to some of those tapes in later years, I would sometimes remember the exact place where I was walking when I first heard a given passage.

Earl Nightingale died in March 1989. I still remember the day I found out. I was sad and I missed him, and Insight was never quite the same after that. I let my subscription lapse, and a few years later they stopped the program.

Earl would be talking about creativity in business, and how we could not think of anything new to invent. Computers, fax machines, telephones, television, all had been invented. What more could there be. He always had a vision of creative people coming up with things we hadn’t even thought about.

Earl died before email, before the Internet, before cellphones, before Yahoo!, before Google, before Facebook. Yet he always preached that things would come from our own ingenuity that would transform our world. The principles he applied back then are still true and effective today, and I am amazed that I still find wisdom and enormous amounts of motivation from recordings of a speaker that passed away over 23 years ago.

Reading up on Earl Nightingale on Wikipedia I just learned that when he was seventeen he joined the United States Marines. He was on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and was one of twelve surviving Marines on board that day.

One of my true heroes.

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