Saturday, June 19, 2010


You Can Be Your
OWN Best Friend ...

By Steve Goodier  ...

Most people report that they do not usually feel confident. But exciting things can happen when we actually believe in ourselves. Here is a man who believed in his own ability even as a boy, and that confidence helped shape his adult life.

At the turn of the last century, a young boy quit school to help with the family expenses. When he was fifteen, he became interested in automobiles and worked in a garage. He subscribed to a correspondence home study course on automobiles and, after a long day in the garage, studied at the kitchen table by lamplight.

When he felt ready, he walked into the Frayer-Miller Automobile Company of Columbus, Ohio. When Mr. Frayer noticed him, he asked, "Well, what do you want?"

"I just thought I'd tell you I'm coming to work here tomorrow morning," the boy replied.

"Oh! Who hired you?"

"Nobody yet, but I'll be on the job in the morning. If I'm not worth anything, you can fire me."

Early the next morning the young man returned to the plant. Noticing the floor was thick with metal shavings and accumulated dirt and grease, the boy got a broom and shovel and set to work cleaning the place.

Because of his self-confidence and work ethic, Eddie Rickenbacker's future was predictable. He went on to excel in many fields, including automobile racing, piloting World War I planes and founding what was to become one of America's largest airline companies — Eastern Airlines ...


Following from NY TIMES Obituary July 24, 1973:

Born Edward Vernon Rickenbacher on October 8, 1890, in Columbus, Ohio, he was the third of eight children of William and Elizabeth Rickenbacher who had immigrated to the United States from Switzerland. 

Rickenbacker was a man whose delight in turning the tables on seemingly hopeless odds took him to the top in three distinct fields. In the daredevil pre-World War I days of automobile racing he became one of this country's leading drivers, although he had a profound dislike for taking unnecessary risks. He had entered the auto industry as a trainee mechanic and made his first mark servicing the cranky machines of that day.

In World War I he became the nation's "Ace of Aces" as a military aviator despite the fact that he had joined the Army as a sergeant-driver on Gen. John J. Pershing's staff:

First Lieutenant E. V. [Eddie] Rickenbacker, 94th Aero Squadron, American ace, standing up in his Spad plane. Near Rembercourt, France. (10/18/1918)
Eddie Rickenbacker in his WWI Nieuport 28, the first aircraft to see service with an American fighter squadron.

Eddie Rickenbacker received the Medal of Honor for his flying exploits during World War I.  (11/6/1930)

In 1928 Eddie Rickenbacker became a $12,000-a-year assistant sales manager of the Cadillac division of the General Motors Corporation. He then was transferred to the big company's various aviation divisions.

In 1934 he was sent as a trouble-shooter to salvage what he could of General Motors' Eastern Air Transport Division, which then owned Eastern Air Lines jointly with North American Aviation. Rickenbacker's job was to shore up the failing line so the owners could sell it for their $1-million asking price.

In its initial year under his management, Eastern turned in a net gain of $350,000 — the first profit in the history of the airline industry. The second year he doubled the profits. By the third year, when the Government ordered G. M. to sell its airlines or get out of aircraft manufacturing, a banking syndicate offered more than $3-million for Eastern.

Rickenbacker pleaded with his employers for an equal chance to "save the airline for the boys and girls who helped build it." He received 60 days to raise the money and was told the company would be his for $3.5-million. The night before the option expired he got his final commitment, and the next day, March 2, 1938, he owned Eastern Air Lines.

Rickenbacker ran his company in much the same manner he had commanded the 94th Squadron in World War I. He set impossible goals, and then went out and achieved them himself before complaints got out of hand.

In the highly competitive airline business, Rickenbacker was the first man to prove that airlines could be made profitable, and then the first to prove that they could be run without a Government subsidy and kept profitable:

"Ground was broken at Miami International Airport for  Eastern Air Lines' $1,000,000 line maintenance building (April 1, 1948) — The three-story structure, capable of handling 8 Constellation Silverliners at once, will be built parallel to 36th St west of Le Jeune Rd.  Charles H. Crandon, Dade County commission chairman, swings a pick and Capt. E.V. Rickenbacker, EAL president and general manager, uses a shovel."

"1000th Convair Transport Delivered To Eastern Air Lines Chairman, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker (June 26, 1957) —  Eastern Air Lines purchased 20 Metropolitan 440s, the quiet and newest 44-passenger version of the Convair transport series introduced in 1948. Nearly 30 billion passenger miles have been logged by Convairs on airlines throughout the Free World."

VIDEO — 1950's film called Flying with Authur Godfrey sponsored by Eastern Airlines to build public confidence in commercial air travel. They fly an Eastern Airlines Super Constellation from New York to Miami. When it first comes on, the man in civilian clothes with the hat is WWI Ace Eddie Rickenbacker.  WATCH IT HERE:

While Rickenbacker's wartime exploits may have been the result of what he described as "planned recklessness" and "taking all the breaks," he was later to exhibit courage of a steelier kind.

On a foggy night in February, 1941, one of Rickenbacker's own Eastern Air Lines planes, on which he was a passenger, crashed into a hill as it approached Atlanta.

Although he was pinned under the body of a dead steward by the wreckage and had a shattered pelvic bone, half a dozen broken ribs, a broken leg and one eyelid torn away, he remained conscious for nine hours until he was taken to a hospital.

During that time he took command of the plane. He reassured survivors, sent some of the walking injured for help and shouted warnings against lighting matches in the gasoline-filled cabin.

Sixteen months later, fully recovered except for a limp, he was to have a still greater test of his courage. (Photo: "Rickenbacker being transported after rescue at sea." November, 1942)

That challenge came when a B-17, on which he was making an inspection tour of World War II bases in the Pacific, had to make a crash landing in the ocean, 12 hours out from Honolulu. In minutes the plane sank and its eight passengers and crewman took to rubber rafts.

For the next 22 days, Rickenbacker, the only civilian in the group, gave the orders. He divided the four oranges that made up the initial food supply. When a seagull landed on his head, he captured the bird smoothly. Then, when fish were caught, he divided the catch. After eight days it rained and he took charge of the water distribution.

Cursing one man who prayed for death, dragging back another who tried to drown himself to make more room for the others, the grim, indomitable figure taunted his comrades to stay alive. Hating him every minute, 6 of these 7 survived to be rescued by a patrolling plane that found them almost by chance. Most of them came to believe that they owed their lives to Rickenbacker's iron will. (FULL ARTICLE:

Painting entitled "Starting Line" by Russell Smith shows Eddie Rickenbacker in 'Old #1' about to take off on a sortie in August, 1918
( Visit Russell Smith's Gallery HERE )


There is no magic bullet to instantly become a self-confident person.

But it begins with one of the most important relationships in your life — your relationship with yourself. People who become more confident habitually encourage themselves. They become their own best friend.

Rob Bremer asks the question, "If you had a friend who talked to you like you sometimes talk to yourself, would you continue to hang around with that person?"

If the answer is "No!" you need to think about why you have been mistreating yourself.

Without confidence, you are not likely to move far in the direction of your dreams. But become your own best friend and almost anything will be possible.

~ By Steve Goodier


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