One Man's Garbage, Another Man's Gold

Zig Ziglar on

Michael Clark was laying carpet. When you put new carpet down, you take the old carpet up. I'm confident you already knew that. Michael was preparing to throw the old carpeting away when he noticed a plastic-wrapped package in the dumpster. Curiosity got the better of him, and he retrieved it. One quick glance revealed that it was a three-album set of our personal-growth training cassettes. He excitedly opened it, and listened to the first tape as he drove home. His father told him it was a real "find," and that he should listen to all of the tapes.

Yes, I know that so far this sounds like a commercial for my tapes, but really it's much more than that. It is said that ideas are what make a difference and rule the world. Michael Clark picked up some ideas from the tapes, and started applying them in his personal, family and business life. Two years later, he became the business manager of a large day-care center where he worked with his family, including his wife. Several years ago, they bought the business, and it's been growing ever since -- they now have 39 employees.

Michael says that he has listened to the cassette tapes so many times he can recite them, but he continues to listen for even more inspiration. Michael discovered that he could apply the things he was learning from the tapes to the different circumstances in his life.

He pointed out that he had lost weight a number of different times, but he always gained back more than he lost. He tried everything -- even taking those "magic potion" pills and not eating, but nothing seemed to work.

Six months ago, Michael sought the help of his doctor, because he felt miserable and weighed more than he ever had. He discovered he had high blood pressure, the "silent killer," and the doctor told him that taking blood pressure medication or losing weight would get his blood pressure down.

At that point, he chose the medication to lower the blood pressure, but his body did not respond to the medication. He then indulged in a little self-talk and said, "This is enough. No more pills! I'll just listen to Zig, and add my determination." Today, he's 43 pounds lighter, and has conquered his high blood pressure. Michael says that the biggest plus for his personal life is that he looks and feels so much better.


There's even more. Michael Clark has made a change in the attitude of his entire organization. He says there are hundreds of experiences he could share, but one of the things he has learned to do is smile rather broadly. The management style of the previous owners was very strict and uptight, so when Michael started working there no one smiled -- ever. So, Michael said he made himself smile at everyone, even if he (Michael) was upset or angry.

Six months later, he started noticing a change in the overall attitude of the employees and the patrons. Now, after many years, the atmosphere of the day-care center has completely changed. "One person can make a difference. I have proven it," says Michael Clark.

Although he did not mention it, I'm certain Michael has wondered from time to time where he would be at this moment had that person, whoever he might have been, not placed so little value on the tapes that he threw them away. Had he not taken that step, or had Michael not retrieved them, listened to them, and even more importantly, followed through, where would he be? We'll never know that, will we? One thing I would like to emphasize: Knowledge is not power. But knowledge, applied with the right attitude, makes a huge difference. Yes, one person's garbage became Michael Clark's treasure.


To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




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