Legacy Arts | Issue 3 | April 2016

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Finding Your Purpose Is Like Driving a Car

Why Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech, believes you always need a destination.

How Legends Are Created How stories grow, evolve and change.

Steve Jobs’s Greatest Regret: His Family

When Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’s biographer, asked him if he had any regrets. Jobs said, “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

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A Nation of Guardian Angels Why Bill Littlejohn, CEO of Sharp HealthCare Foundation, believes our greatest legacy is to become a guardian angel.



The Comfort of a Story


Your Stories Are Like a Flower (About to Wither and Die!)

How her grandfather’s memoir changed her life.

A Legacy of Hard Work

How one man’s ambition changed future generations. Interview with Charles Bruce, CEO of Johnny Rockets.

Capture your stories now before they are lost forever.


Ancient Wisdom: Socrates On a Dizzy and Confused Soul Examining life for greater purpose and meaning.

ISSUE 3 | APRIL 2016


Bill Littlejohn CEO Sharp HealthCare Foundation Bracken Darrell CEO of Logitech Charles Bruce CEO of Johnny Rockets

Marko Nedeljkovic DESIGN Matthew Roser CONTENT EDITOR

Paragon Road Rady School of Management University of California, San Diego

Mike Bishop Laura Roser Matthew Roser Rachael Rifkin

Share your product or service with thousands of real estate investors around the world through our digital magazine and main website. Email: advertising@paragonroad.com

Have a good idea for an article, feedback or suggestions for our magazine? Email the editor directly: editor@paragonroad.com

Finding Your Purpose is Like Driving a Car Why Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech, Believes You Always Need a Destination

by Laura A. Roser

“I like to tell the story of two drivers,” says Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech. “They both start in San Diego. The first driver gets in his car, turns it on and starts driving around. He doesn’t have a plan. He just drives toward whatever looks interesting. He does this for three days and sees some really interesting things in his local area. Then he goes back home. The second driver doesn’t know where she wants to go either, but she does enough research to determine that Boston looks like a pretty cool place. She’s not sure if she’ll like it, but she’ll give it a try. So, she gets in her car, puts a Boston landmark in her GPS and starts driving toward that destination. She drives across the rocky mountains and sees all different kinds

of places and landscapes. Three days later she gets to Boston and says to herself, ‘Gee, I don’t want to be in Boston. New York is a lot cooler and I stopped there along the way.’ So, she goes back to New York.” The common advice to young people is to follow your passion. But, not many people start out knowing exactly what their passions are. They are like the two drivers – neither one of them knew where they wanted to go, but they both wanted to do cool things and see cool places. Yet, only one mapped out a path toward a goal. “If you don’t know what you want to do, it doesn’t matter,” continues Bracken. “Just set a goal. Any goal.” If you really set a goal, it forces you to line things up and

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build a path somewhere. If you have a path mapped out, you’ll see a lot more, find a lot more and do a lot more along the way. If you do what the first driver did and you don’t set a path, you end up going around in circles. The experience is much less enlightening.

As president and chief executive officer of Logitech, Bracken P. Darrell is responsible for Logitech’s strategy for growth and profitability, for the vision for the brand as well as for the company’s operations. Mr. Darrell joined Logitech as president in April 2012, and assumed the role of chief executive officer in January 2013.

Bracken has been on quite the ride himself. As a Harvard graduate, he began his career at Arthur Anderson then transitioned to PepsiCo. He has held executive positions at Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool and General Electric. When I asked him if he enjoyed his current position as CEO of Logitech, he said, “I’d pay to have this job.” When he’s not traveling the world, sharing inspirational wisdom or running board meetings, Bracken enjoys being with his family, going to the symphony, writing, reading poetry and literature, and learning about art. He also does one or two triathlons a year and plays basketball once a week. Basketball has been a love of his since he was a boy in Kentucky. He doesn’t have all the answers to life’s biggest mysteries, he says, but mapping out a destination has made all the difference in his drive through life. 

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How Legends Are Creat by Matthew Roser Are Stories Alive?

A living entity is defined as something possessing the capacity for “growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” With such a broad definition, celebrated British author Neil Gaiman was prompted to muse about the idea that stories are living: “Do stories grow? Pretty obviously — anybody who has ever heard a joke being passed on from one person to another knows that they can grow, they can change. Can stories reproduce? Well, yes. Not spontaneously, obviously — they tend to need people as vectors. We are the media in which they reproduce; we are their petri dishes… Stories grow, sometimes they shrink. And they reproduce — they inspire other stories. And, of course, if they do not change, stories die.” Whether we call them living, stories manifest many of the qualities found in life. They become like some creative virus that is born from within our mind and transmitted through our words or the mental vibrations that command our fingers to type or our hands to write. Consider Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and the other countless tales that have flavored our world. Many of us recall the Disney adaption, but these beautiful creations are far older and stranger in their original creation. Yet, they have survived and flourished in our time to bring about a relevant message that is older than most religions.

Why Are Stories Created?

In the 1992 preface to Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl recalls the moment when he decided to stay in Austria, a decision that would impact the rest of his life. He had received an invitation to pick up his immigration visa in order to flee to greener pastures in America, where he could continue his work in psychology. Yet, the thought of abandoning his parents left Frankl with an uncomfortable quandary. One day as he was visiting his parents’ home, Frankl noticed a ruined piece of marble sitting on a table. He asked his father where the stone had come from. Frankl’s father explained that the National Socialists had burned down the largest synagogue in Vienna and that the marble was a piece of the Ten Commandments that he had recovered from the blaze.

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Inscribed into the stone was a single gilded letter in Hebrew that stood for one of the Ten Commandments. Frankl quickly asked which commandment, causing his father to answer: “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land.” With that powerful message, or as Frankl wrote, “a hint from Heaven,” his immigration decision was made easy: Frankl decided to stay with his parents and allow the visa to lapse. This anecdote is a profound example of how stories become more than fanciful events and silly characters. Stories influence our thinking and create a framework for our decision-making. Stories guide our hopes and give possibility to our endeavors. As Frederick Nietzche wrote: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” And how perfect a way to describe the visions that pit us against the many challenges we must overcome to achieve greatness. If we could not see over the bumps of adversity, or if we had no other reference to compare our challenges with, then we might simply surrender. But we do have comparisons. We can see our struggles in the books and movies and quiet conversations shared with a friend. These build faith, self-reliance, and strength. These stories are the unseen fabric that weaves between the seems of mortality.

The Appeal of Legends

Every form of story contributes a powerful verse to our character, yet legends root more deeply into our psyche. A legend is a type of story that employs the use of historical events or characters who once lived. When Victor Frankl wrote of his travails inside the concentration camps, his writing was more than a simple record of his experiences. His words became legend and inspired its readers. He often recounted how he would daydream and fantasize of when he would be free and continue with his work in logotherapy. His thoughts also drifted to his wife and of when they would reunite again. Although not all of these wishes became reality, they are poignant reminder that Frankl’s mental desires inspired him to trudge along and endure. And when the reader interprets these same words, they are inspired by the reality that these “stories” Frankl concocted inside of his brain had somehow influenced the outcome of his situation. Thus, a legend is born. Jesus Christ and Mohammad are also legendary characters, and there is a great deal of evidence pointing to their existence. Whether the miracles they are described as performing is true is another kind of debate. However, the power in religion and its ability to endure resides in the strong appeal that legends offer. Because these religious events are detailed in historical places and census data confirms the existence of their actors, a certain unshakeable verisimilitude exists that cannot be wholly denied even thousands of years from their original events.

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But stories do not have to be grandiose and told in lofty language, ensconced in gold ornaments and garishly boasted. These can be ordinary tales that caution or invigorate the listener. One example may be an alcoholic grandfather, thus causing us to question whether we can control ourselves once we reach for that bottle. Or if our personal hero decided to drop out of school to build their empire from scratch -- could we too not have the same entrepreneurial spirit inside of us? Legends are merely stories with a higher capacity for reproducibility.

Are Stories Still Created Today?

Every once in a while we will hear in the news of how one person stole an “idea” from another. Maybe it will be the plot in a book, movie, video game, or the subject matter of a song. This goes to show that we are starving for these creations. And it also demonstrates that the stories that exist can change and grow into new forms. Because of our new technologies and our ability to instantly communicate, stories are created more quickly than ever before. Have you ever seen chain emails or messages in social media that caution the reader that they must pass the message along, lest they suffer some grizzly unforeseeable fate? While these modern-age stories have more hosts to bear them, their survivability is another matter. However, some of our more prominent stories are threatened now because of the distracting nature of our technology-intensive culture. Poet laureate Andrew Motion, along with many other professors of literature, lament over the lack of Biblical knowledge found in younger generations. Motion says, “these stories are primitive. They speak to us about human nature and the recurring patterns of human behavior. “. . . Yes, you can have a conversation without referring to where these ideas come from, but you can have a

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much richer one by connecting them to their original sources.” He continues on to describe his woes with his students: “. . . I do think there is a real problem with the education system that has allowed these great stories to disappear, to fade out of the diet everyone gets at school. It’s an essential piece of cultural luggage.” And indeed, without the Bible, much of English literature would simply cease to exist. Many of our beloved poems and beautiful novels would never have populated the pool of mental possibilities that humanity shares. This kind of social movement then threatens the order in our world. Will younger generations recall that the Resurrection was the event when Gandalf arose in The Lord of the Rings, or will they see or even know of the similarities that that particular tale shares with Jesus? Will the egg still come from the chicken – or will the egg come from the factory and the chicken forgotten?

An Endangered Species

Stories are frail and easily forgotten. As if born from a mighty tree, these saplings fly away and grow with only trace influences that they once came from an ancient source, if we take the time to truly understand. Our world so readily relies on these tales for guidance and inspiration. Yet, the accelerating pace of temporal culture is tearing holes in the old foundations that supported us. If we don’t take the time to preserve and understand our past, then perhaps we will have a sad future where texts and tweets are the only form of cultural glue we can rely upon. Stories matter. 

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ENDURING There are families of enduring greatness. They have achieved excellence in times past, yet continue to pursue what made them great. They have stories to tell. They embody high character, are celebrated throughout history and loved by all who know them.

What’s your legacy?


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Steve Jobs’s Greatest Regret: HIS FAMILY by Laura A. Roser


alter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’s biographer, asked him if he had any regrets. Jobs said, “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.” Isaacson went on to ask him if he was glad that he had kids, and Jobs said, “It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done.” Steve Jobs, the man who many consider as one of the greatest business innovators of our time, placed the value of having kids as 10,000 times greater than anything he’s ever done. Yet, his biggest regret is that he wasn’t there for them and he wanted them to know why. Most people go into parenthood with good intentions. They want their kids to succeed and be happy and healthy. But life often gets in the way of good intentions. Bills have to be paid and you find yourself working too hard and becoming too busy to attend your son’s baseball games. You get a divorce and spend a year fighting over custody while your kids ping pong between mom’s and dad’s house and get in with the wrong crowd. You push your daughter to do her best in school and one day she storms out with her tattoocovered boyfriend proclaiming you an “overbearing ogre!” You try to give your kids the kind of emotional support they need, but your parents were always cold and distant and you just don’t know how to connect. Without the right model, it can be tough. Really tough. Still, creating a successful family culture isn’t impossible. In fact, with the right structure, your family legacy can be something great. But, it doesn’t happen by accident. You have to think it through, make it a priority and act in ways that are supportive to cultivating a happy, healthy family.

Benefits of Family Legacy Planning:

The aim of a solid family legacy plan is to mold family members who are:

l Capable. Members know their role in the family and contribute to the financial, social, spiritual and intellectual health of their family and the community. l Connected. Members care about their ancestors, extended family and descendants. They work hard to stay connected to the family and establish effective generational governance structures. l Grateful. Members recognize the many blessings and opportunities they have been given and focus on empowering each family member to become the very best. l Responsible. Members are accountable for their actions and mistakes and embrace their responsibility to give back. l Competent. Members develop the skills to handle and manage money, effectively utilize opportunities, and become productive, giving members of society.

Components of a Successful Family Legacy Plan:

With a little planning, a vision for the future, and a lot of love, you can turn your “mediocre” family experience into “extraordinary”. Let’s take a quick look at what you need to consider when constructing a Family Legacy Plan. Your Family Values: It is essential to identify joint family values and establish a home that outlines and supports what your family stands for. Your Family Mission, Vision and Mantra: This will serve as the foundation for your family—the rock upon which your children can build their decisions. Your Family Coat of Arms: This doesn’t need to be fancy, but it could be. (I have access to the royal sculptor for Windsor Castle, if you want to go that route.) Brainstorm ideas about a unique coat of arms or logo that will represent your family. We’ve found this component, when done right, can be extremely valuable to your family because it gives them a tangible identity—something they can see and connect with.

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Documenting Family Systems: List traditions to be passed down from generation to generation, systems for maintaining a healthy body, systems for managing money, business systems, and other knowledge that should be passed on. We teach our clients how to get the kids and other family members involved in creating a family knowledge base. Your Family Constitution: It may seem overly formal to some, but a family constitution can help solve major problems down the road by outlining the specific principles and precedents your family agrees to follow. While the vision and mission of your family is more of an overview, your family constitution lists specific rules that will be followed and respected. This isn’t about creating a “police state” family. It’s about setting clear expectations and establishing accountability and responsibility—crucial skills your children need to function at the highest level as adults. When everyone knows what is expected of them and that other members of the family care about their well-being and will hold them accountable for making poor choices (also praise them for making good choices!), they have incentive to avoid foolish actions and reach higher levels of self awareness. Yearly Family Goals: Each year, I would suggest you create a family theme as well as a concrete goal you’d like to accomplish together. How you want to implement your family goals depends on how your family interacts, ages of various members and interest. This is about having fun and growing and learning in a laid back environment.

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Weekly Family Meetings: In his book, The Secrets of Happy Families, Bruce Feiler writes about how a simple 20-minute weekly family meeting transformed his relationship with his teenage daughters. For the first couple meetings, his daughters were emotionally closed off and non-communicative. Then, they began to open up in a very big way. A good family meeting stimulates conversation, promotes love and creates a family that is more cohesive. If done right, your family meetings can be a fun, enjoyable time everyone looks forward to. This is also a time to address the day-to-day operations of the family and establish some routines. Archiving and Passing On Intellectual and Character Assets: Figure out how you want to share memories, document experiences and stories, compile meaningful family information and save it all in a way that won’t be lost or forgotten.

Living Without Regret

No family or system will ever be perfect, but creating a plan for your family keeps your most-important priorities from slipping through the cracks. One day, at the end of your life, someone may ask you what was your greatest regret. Hopefully it doesn’t result in the gut-wrenching realization that the thing that mattered most got the least attention. 

Laura A. Roser is the founder and CEO of Paragon Road, the #1 authority in meaning legacy planning. For more information about meaning legacy planning services, visit www.paragonroad.com.

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A Nation of Guardian Angels Why Bill Littlejohn, CEO of Sharp HealthCare Foundation, Believes Our Greatest Legacy is to Become a Guardian Angel by Laura A. Roser


will be eternally thankful.” – “I cried with tears of joy finally holding our precious angel.” – “I knew my mother was in excellent hands.” These quotes are from a collection of over 40,000 stories gathered by Sharp HealthCare, San Diego’s leading health care provider. Sharp’s Guardian Angel Program gives grateful patients and their loved ones the opportunity to share their stories of gratitude about the doctors and nurses who served them in the hospital. But it goes far beyond good business. “When you give, you inspire others to follow you,” says Bill Littlejohn, CEO of Sharp HealthCare Foundation. Your giving ripples out and motivates others to do the same. “What you do today will impact people you will never know.”

The Experience of Philanthropy

“Philanthropy isn’t a taught experience,” Littlejohn continues. People must actively participate in giving to feel its impact. It’s not something you can simply teach a class about. Kids should be a part of the giving process from a young age. Littlejohn tells the story of having his family name put on a plaque after he and his wife gave to a hospital project. His family—he, his wife and children—gathered around the plaque and smiled for a photo that is now a part of their family scrapbook. “It wasn’t for me,” he said. “We wanted our name on that plaque for our children so that they would have a physical representation of our family’s heritage of giving and know that they played a small part in helping to improve patients’ lives.” Many are not aware of how much our country has been impacted by charitable giving of the past: libraries, museums, churches and hospitals. “Did you know Sharp

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HealthCare—now a $3 Billion hospital—first started with 12 people who had to go out and collect money to build a hospital on their own?” Littlejohn asked. So many think that our buildings and infrastructure were provided by the government. They were not. Most of our hospitals, health initiatives and equipment were privately funded. Wealthy families like the Rockefellers and Carnegies (and many more) had a vision for a better future and gave to ensure future generations would have parks to play in, universities to study in and hospitals to heal in. It’s not only about the ultra wealthy, either. Plenty of nonprofits are kept alive through the small donations and service of many. Year after year, the CAF World Giving Index lists the USA as one of the top three countries that has the highest percentage of its populace donate money, volunteer or help a stranger. This idea of being a “guardian angel” is ingrained in our country’s heritage.

Bill Littlejohn is the chief executive officer of the Sharp HealthCare Foundation and senior vice president of Sharp HealthCare, San Diego’s leading health care provider. In addition, Littlejohn provides fundraising counsel to the Grossmont Hospital Foundation, Coronado Hospital Foundation and all of Sharp’s entities. He lives with his wife and children in Solana Beach, California.

Honor Your Guardian Angel

It’s All About Vision

“There’s a difference between fundraising for need verses fundraising for vision,” says Littlejohn. When you have a vision, you don’t ask for funds to solve an immediate problem with no regard for how it fits in with the larger picture. With a vision, you ask for funds to build something great—a legacy that will impact generations. It’s the difference between asking for a new incubator in the ICU because a baby is going to die versus raising funds to transform health care or create a better community. The future is made great when vision combines with capability. Whether it’s helping an elderly man cross the street, giving funds to cure cancer or sharing an inspiring story with a stranger, your contribution matters – more than you may ever know. 

Sharp HealthCare gives grateful patients and their loved ones the opportunity to pay tribute to caregivers who made a difference during the patients’ visit or stay. Learn more at sharp.com/guardianangel

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The Comfort of a Story How My Grandfather’s Memoir Changed My Life


rowing up, I knew my grandfather had written a Korean War memoir, but I wasn’t particularly interested in reading it. I assumed it was boring, filled with war talk and little else. I didn’t think of it for years, until he passed away and we were cleaning out my grandparents’ house. Then there it was, over 1,000 typewritten pages underneath layers of dust and junk. By this point, I was curious about what he’d written. The memoir was a compilation of letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother, and there was actually only a small amount of war talk. Instead, the pages were filled with enthusiasm, longing, creativity, and family stories. It was a time capsule that gave me a peek into the man my grandfather was when he was my age. It was my grandfather as I had never known him—young, romantic, loquacious. About 10 years after the war, he typed the letters, did some editing, and tried to get it published. He even took a sabbatical from his medical practice to work on it, but to no avail. I’m sure he was disappointed, and I wish I could tell him that he had at least one very satisfied reader. I got so much from his memoir. I learned new family stories and got to know my grandfather better. Most rewarding of all, I discovered how much we had in common. Everything from his ideas and thoughts to his writing voice felt familiar. The similarities between us made me feel more connected to him and less alone. It was also reassuring to know that someone so similar to me had turned out so well, with a rich family and career life. Even now, I return to his memoir every so often to see how my perception has changed. Recently, my husband and I had our first child, and along with the lack of sleep, fun and joy, came plenty of worries. Revisiting my grandfather’s memoir helped put things into perspective. In one section, my grandfather discusses the pain losing their Kids with parents who of 5-month-old reminisce and tell baby the year family stories, are more before. Just passed empathetic, have better having the 5-month coping skills, and higher mark, it’s hard for self-esteem me to imagine

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(knock on wood and every other surface you can knock on!) losing a child at that age, or any age. Yet, not only were they able to make it through that difficult time, they went on to have three other children. Their resilience is incredibly comforting for me. My experience isn’t unique to me. Research backs up the many benefits of getting to know your family history. They teach you about survival and hardships, problemsolving and make you feel like you’re a part of something greater than yourself.

For children Studies have shown that kids with parents who reminisce and tell family stories, are more empathetic, have better coping skills, and higher self-esteem. James Birren, one of the founders of the field of gerontology, also did a lot of guided autobiography work that showed when seniors share their stories, they have reduced rates of depression and anxiety. This kind of storytelling has also been known to improve cognitive function, reduce chronic pain, and further personal growth and self-discovery. So, it’s never too early or too late to share family stories. Even if you never know its impact on future generations, somewhere out there, there’s a future relative who will appreciate your foresight. I know I did. ď Ž

Rachael Rifkin is a ghostwriter/ personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit, whether genetically or environmentally, and the qualities that we find only in ourselves. Her favorite things are reading, random acts of kindness, high fives, playing with her dogs, and laughing with her husband. www.lifestoriestoday.com/blog

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YOUR STORIES Are Like a Flower About to Wither and Die!


few weeks ago, I came home and there was a beautiful vase of roses sitting on my porch with a delightful note from an admirer. I took them inside and put them on the table. Within a few days, they started to show signs of drooping, so, I cut the stems, changed out the water and they perked up for another few days. Then they withered—petals began dropping off and falling to the table. And they were gone. All I had left was the memory of their existence. Nothing in life remains the same. You, my friend, will have an experience that is amazing, brilliant, heart-breaking, death-defying or just unbelievably fun. Like my vase of flowers, that experience will stay fresh and vibrant in your mind for days, weeks or even months. And, then, no matter how life-changing and beautiful it was, that story will start to droop, whither and drop its petals. Before long, it will be nothing more than a distant memory—its vibrancy lost to time. Don’t let your stories wither before you have captured them somewhere—a journal, video, blog or even on social media. There is wisdom in your stories, a profound sense of what it means to be alive and experience the world. Those stories could impact your future self, help your children, uplift friends or be a blessing to a stranger. You never know how your life will touch others. So, the next time you have an experience that strikes you hard, think of that vase of roses sitting on the porch. You don’t have long before they wither away and can never be brought back. 

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A Legacy of HARD WORK How One Man’s Ambition Changed Future Generations

by Laura A. Roser


harles Bruce, 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry and CEO of Johnny Rockets, told me in a recent interview, “Every successful person has failed at some point. It is not a sin to fail. It is not a sin to be poor. It is a sin to be lazy and not do anything about it.” Charles grew up in a poor Kansas neighborhood. His family had very little. His parents never finished high school and he was the fifth of six children. From a young age he was expected to work hard. But Charles was never satisfied to go along with the status quo. He didn’t like the home he lived in. He was embarrassed his family couldn’t afford decent clothing. There were a lot of things he disliked about his living conditions. “I told myself, ‘I can do better’,” Charles said. “I’m going to work hard and I’m going to get educated and show people that come after me that ‘you can do it’.” He earned a degree from Kansas State and became the first in his family to graduate from college. His little brother followed him, and their kids, and several nieces and nephews. “My second great nephew is starting this fall,” Charles said with pride. And that college-attending trend has been going on for 40 years. Charles says his legacy is seeing how much his family has learned and changed. If he played even a small part in that, he is pretty darn lucky.

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Every successful person has failed at some point. It is not a sin to fail. It is not a sin to be poor. It is a sin to be lazy and not do anything about it.

Charles Bruce is a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry and CEO of fast food chain Johnny Rockets, a 350 location, $375 million dollar a year franchise.

What You Give Without Measure Comes Back Tenfold

“I’m very committed to my alma mater because I look at Kansas State as my segue to getting out of being on the low rung of the ladder,” Charles said. “I’m a very dedicated member of the alumni association of Kansas State University.” His giving doesn’t stop there. Charles is motivated by the success of others. And loves to see those he manages advance and become successful. He is also an avid giver with his time and money. “I always believe that when you give without measure, you will always get it back tenfold,” he said. “But because I started with nothing, I always thought that you should always give whatever you can.”

It’s Not All Work and No Play

Mr. Bruce has traveled all over the world. He’s an avid reader of military and Italian Renaissance history and enjoys classical music from the Baroque era. He also fluently speaks Spanish. Chile is one of his favorite places to visit. He speaks highly of New Zealand as well. If he were to retire, he’d buy a new sailboat and catch up on all the sailing he’s missed the past forty years, but he’s not ready to retire just yet. 

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Ancient Wisdom: Socrates On a Dizzy and Confused Soul by Laura A. Roser


n Phaedo, Socrates states that an unexamined life results in a soul that is “confused and dizzy, as if it were drunk.” The only way to develop a soul that is sound is to continually ask questions.

How Do You Define “Good”?

Socrates, often referred to as one of the originators of Western philosophy, believed the only life worth living is a good life. But this leads to the question,

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“How does one go about determining the definition of a good life if she does not know what constitutes good and evil?” Socrates believed “good” and “evil” are not relative. They are absolutes, but the only way to define them is through a process of questioning. Therefore, knowledge and morality are connected. Thus, a life without questioning is one of ignorance and immorality and, therefore, not worth living. According to Socrates, everyone values virtue. No one desires evil. If someone were to knowingly perform an evil act, they would be acting against their conscience and it would make them feel uncomfortable. But, because we all strive for peace of mind, no one would willingly perform an evil act. So, evil acts are done exclusively out of ignorance. It is this lack of knowledge that produces terrible results. All this questioning, however, didn’t lead to many answers. Socrates said, “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” And he enjoyed questioning others to reveal their ignorance as well, which ultimately led to his death when he powerful political figures crumbling their long-held beliefs and his own fate.

How Does The Socratic Method Apply to Your Life?

You are born into certain belief systems. Your parents, teachers, religious leaders and others thrust their beliefs upon you and you make your decisions based upon what will gain approval from your tribe. But there’s a time when you want to start growing and moving beyond the path that has been carefully laid out for you. You can start to break out of autopilot thinking by asking yourself these sorts of questions:  What are my mother’s values?  What are my father’s values?  What kinds of beliefs did I learn as a child that I no longer believe?  What did I like about growing up? (And would like to emulate.)  What didn’t I like about growing up?  Who were my mentors and teachers growing up?  What did they teach me? Does their philosophy still apply to my life?  When do I feel out of integrity?  When don’t I speak up for myself?  When do I let others make decisions for me?  When do I judge others? These sorts of questions will help you begin to establish what “good” means to you and hopefully dissuade your soul from becoming confused and dizzy. 

LEGACY ARTS April 2016 www.paragonroad.com 27

ISSUE 3 | APRIL 2016

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