No time like the present

Turning the pages of the calendar on a new year encourages us to think about timing. The world isn’t slowing down, and a few wise words might be just what we need to make the most of the present. It’s fine to plan ahead; it’s good to learn from the past, but really all we have is the present, so that is where we need to make an impact. 

Bob Atwell, the philosopher in the “pair of aces” we are honoring as Bankers of the Year, shared some “tips for entrepreneurs” on a radio program a few years ago, including: “Don’t wait to ‘give back.’ Rather, give ‘during.’ Give of your heart, your time and your money. Today. Now. Those who give the most, win.”

I find that to be provocative advice. People often think about retirement and how we will use that time in the future. But Bob reminds us, we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Now is what we have; if there is something we want to do, something we think is important, we should figure out a way to do it now.  

Our cover feature describes the other half of our honored pair, Mike Daniels, as an entrepreneurial man-of-action. Starting a bank was his idea. Back in 2000, he acted in the “now.” He didn’t grumble about how things should be better; he teamed with Atwell and made them better.

I am sure that everyone reading this has an idea somewhere in their head about how to make things better. As we embark on a new year, I encourage you to act on that idea, now. 

Speaking at a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay graduation ceremony, Atwell shared this from Mother Teresa: “People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, people may be jealous and full of contempt; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people may often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have; it may never be enough but give the world the best you have anyway. In the final analysis it is between you and your God. It was never between you and them, anyway.”