What Jay Gatsby and Ben Franklin taught me about life

I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Every year, I pick a few. Then I work the next year to close the deal on them. My track record is mostly good.

I’m inspired by two of the greatest figures in American culture who were great resolution makers. One of the figures is a fictitious literary character. The other is considered one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.

How about Jay Gatsby and Ben Franklin?

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I’m partial to both. The Great Gatsby. My favorite book. Ben Franklin. He founded my college, Penn.

What a lot of people forget is that each of them set out a rigorous list of personal goals. Let me share them with you.

Here is how Ben Franklin imagined his ideal day:

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So interesting. Without prime-time television or Netflix to distract, Benny set aside 8-9 p.m. for “examination of the day.” Ben was someone who didn’t want to waste an hour. He invented almost everything except the Internet.

Gatsby wasn’t real, of course, but toward the end of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece he becomes as real as he ever could be when Gatsby’s father pulls out his son’s resolutions.

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Mine?

  • My wife will reach a milestone birthday in 2016. She needs proper celebrating.
  • My youngest son needs my support as he finishes his first year in college.
  • I hope to become a brilliant online journalist in 2016, using new tools, soon to be provided to The Watchdog desk at The Dallas Morning News. That’s exciting.
  • And as for my other life, as a professional speaker, those goals are very important to me. But I still have 24 hours to figure them out. They take a lot of thought. That’s on today’s agenda.

What are your goals? It’s never too late to make some.


Remember that you can bring Dave Lieber to your group. He’s an expert in storytelling for business and showing the power of storytelling to increase sales, build support, raise money and attract attention.

He’s a Certified Speaking Professional and a fabulous entertainer offering fun and funny insights to make your life better. He’s The Watchdog columnist at The Dallas Morning News.

Dave Lieber. Authentic. Engaging. Interactive.

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