The Leonard Gucciardi Empowerment Organization

Opportunity in our Time

The Leonard Gucciardi Empowerment Organization


Opportunity in our Time 

We've all seen the grainy photos of legions of immigrants on Ellis Island, as they gaze at the Statue of Liberty. It looks so very long ago. However, Ellis Island only closed as an immigration facility in 1954! Could there be any greater poignancy than millions of immigrants bidding their final farewells to their homelands and families? Why did they give up so much to come so far? Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus, illuminates the answer in a tablet at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: 

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, 
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; 
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand 
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame 
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name  
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand 
Glows world wide welcome; her mild eyes command 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she 
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 
This is why the immigrants came; this is why they still come. 

The door was opened. Some of the immigrants were unimaginably successful. A Scottish immigrant, Andrew Carnegie, founded Carnegie Steel, a predecessor of US Steel. Working tirelessly, the immigrants built better lives for themselves and their families. There is uncommon valor in striving for high achievement regardless of outcome. President Theodore Roosevelt understood this: 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

America is a nation of prodigious aspirations and effort. Consider the mass migrations of immigrants, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the construction of the Panama Canal, the vast Manhattan Project, which ended World War II, the assembly of the Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression, integrated circuits and personal computing, including the Internet. For Americans, small thinking is not part of our DNA, and it is deeply, subconsciously troubling and dispiriting. 

Each immigrant exemplified this high achievement. Consider a person's cultural, family, language, and economic challenges; whether you are foreign or native-born, the pursuit of this excellence will greatly increase the likelihood that you will do far better in life than otherwise. Most importantly, the pursuit of high achievement will energize, inspire, and uplift you each and every day. That alone is a blessing of the highest order! At the end of our days, I most respectfully contend, that we all want to be remembered for something beyond our families and simple accumulation. When turning on a light, some of us think about Thomas Edison. When answering an iphone, more of us think about Steve Jobs. These are noble legacies to great Americans. If you pursue excellence, you may fall short of your goal, but there is no shame in this. On the contrary, your efforts will inspire ten others to do the same, and they, in turn, will inspire one hundred more, and this is an enduring legacy worth having! 

Each and every one of the immigrants helped to build this great nation, and they bequeathed it to future generations and the world. Why is this consequential? The twin scourges of the 20th Century were fascism and communism. Collectively, they killed 150 million people. The death of all of those innocents and the attendant grief echo even today. The defeat of both of these murderous ideologies would have been impossible without America, and instead, there would have been far more death, carnage, and misery. These immigrants embraced their opportunities and met their challenges. It is our turn now. May we be worthy of our calling and birthright. 


Optimism is the bedrock conviction that you can attain your dreams. Ultimately, nothing is possible without optimism. Here are insightful quotations about optimism. The authors are both known and unknown. They have all faced considerable adversity, but they have used optimism as the starting point for their pursuits: 

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” 
Winston Churchill-World War II Prime Minister of England 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill 

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the 
opportunity in every difficulty. “ 
Winston Churchill 

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” 
Harry Truman-33rd President of the United States 

“Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts.” 
Anne of Green Gables-Novel by author Lucy Maud Montgomery 

“On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche-19th century German philosopher 

“Things turn out best for the people that make the best of the way things turn out.” 
John Wooden-Legendary American basketball coach 

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” 
Thomas A. Edison-Legendary American inventor 

"Passion is the Fuel that runs Success." 

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." 
Michael Jordan-Renown American basketball player  

"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." 


Inspiration is the mechanism or tool for achieving your aspirations. Under the category of Inspiration, I have included subcategories of Challenges, Effort, Ethics, Leadership, Motivation, and Planning. Each of these subcategories is critical to your own Inspiration. I have provided quotations for each of these: 


“Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and “less than perfect” conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” 
Mark Victor Hansen-American inspirational and motivational leader 

“The difficult I'll do right now, the impossible will have to wait awhile.” 
Bob Russell-American songwriter  

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” 
Malcolm X, 1963-African-American Muslim minister 

“Good decisions come from experience; Experience comes from bad decisions.” 

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when my fear is gone I will turn and face fear's path, and only I will remain.” 
Dune-Science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert 

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.” 
Booker T. Washington-American educator, author, and political leader 

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising, which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson-American poet 

"Why do we fear adversity, when we know that overcoming it is the only way to become stronger, smarter, and better?" 
John Wooden-Legendary American basketball coach 

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger. “
Friedrich Nietzsche-19th century German philosopher 

"Good Timber does not grow with ease-Stronger the wind, stronger the trees." 

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” 


“Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” 

“Do a job 
Big or small 
Do it right 
Or not at all...” 

“Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”  
Napoleon Hill-American author 

“If you want to go where you have never been, you must do things that you have never done.” 

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 
Theodore Roosevelt-26th President of the United States 

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.” 
Theodore Roosevelt 

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” 
Mahatma Gandhi-Political and spiritual leader of India 

'We haven't failed. We know a thousand things that won't work, so we're that much closer to finding what will.” 
Thomas Edison- Legendary American inventor 

“Whatever you are going to be ... be a good one.” 
Abraham Lincoln-16th President of the United States 

“WELL DONE Is Better Than WELL SAID!” 
Benjamin Franklin-One of the Founding Fathers of the United States 

“Luck equals continuous hard work and opportunity.” 

"People laugh at the ‘fool’ who spends his life attempting to throw stones to the moon. But they stop laughing when this same "fool" wins the local contest for throwing stones as far as possible." 

"Collars up for the Past & Sleeves up for the future." 
Napolean Hill- American author 

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." 
Apple Computer Inc.-Legendary electronics manufacturer

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."  
Calvin Coolidge-30th President of the US 

“Do or do not-there is no try.” 
Yoda-Fictional character in the Star Wars movies 

"Don't find fault, find a remedy." 
Henry Ford-Founder of the Ford Motor Company 

"If you are going through hell keep going."

Winston Churchill- World War II Prime Minister of England 

"I'm a firm believer in luck, I have found that the harder I work, the luckier I get."  
Thomas Jefferson-3rd President of the United States 

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success"  
Henry Ford- Founder of the Ford Motor Company 


“Seven Sins: Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.” 
Mahatma Gandhi 

“I don't care much for that fella. I must get to know him better.” 
Abraham Lincoln 

“He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.” 
Abraham Lincoln 

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." 
John Wooden-Legendary American basketball coach 

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."  
Warren Buffet-Famous American investor 

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”  
Oscar Wilde-Irish writer and poet 

"As you sow so shall you reap." 
King James Version of the Bible, Epistle to the Galatians, 6:7 


“The boss drives people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The boss says 'I'; the leader says 'we.' The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says 'go'; the leader says 'let's go!'" 
H Gordon Selfridge-American-born retailing magnate 

“Real leaders operate oblivious of their individual egos.” 

“Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” 
Vince Lombardi-Famous American football coach 

“Opportunities Multiply as They are Seized.” 
Sun Tzu, Art of War-Ancient Chinese military general 

"Even coffee pots have filters." 


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
Marianne Williamson-Spiritual activist, author, and lecturer 

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take . . . but by the moments that take our breath away.” 
Hilary Cooper-American portrait painter 

“Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good; behave yourself and never mind the rest.” 
Beatrix Potter-English author and illustrator

“People are designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” 
Zig Zigler-American author, salesman, and motivational speaker 

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learn't something from yesterday.” 
John Wayne-Famous American actor 

“Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!!” 
Margaret Mead-American cultural anthropologist 

“The best use of a life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.” 
William James-American psychologist and philosopher 

“The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back . “ 
Abigail Van Buren-American advice columnist 

“He who opens a school closes a prison.” 
Victor Hugo-French novelist, playwright, and poet 

"DREAM is not what you see in sleep . . . is the thing which does not let you sleep." 
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam-Former President of India 

"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you". 

“Do Your Best, God Will Do The Rest." 

“Engage brain before mouth.” 

"To understand things through calamity is obvious, but to understand things without calamity is wisdom."  
Prem Rawat-Leader of the Divine Light Mission 

"Keeping resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." 
Malachy McCourt-Irish-American actor, writer, and politician 

“Do what you can with what you have and where you are.” 

"Never mistake activity for achievement."

John Wooden-Legendary American basketball coach 

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

John Wooden 

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. “ 
Sam Clemens-American author and humorist 

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  
Abraham Lincoln 

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking."
General George Patton Jr-World War II American general 

"It's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." 
Zig Zigler- American author, salesman, and motivational speaker 

"I will not be an ordinary man because I have a right to be extraordinary." 
Sir Peter O'Toole-Irish actor of stage and screen 

"Envy is poor mental hygiene." 

“If an egg is broken by an outside force . . . a life ends. If an egg breaks from begins. Great things always begin from within.” 

"The significance of a new idea is directly proportional to the resistance to it." 

"When you face the sun, the shadows fall behind you."  
Helen Keller-American author, political activist, and lecturer 

"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything."  

"I want to know God's thought; the rest is details."  
Albert Einstein-German-borne physicist 


“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 

"An intelligent plan is the first step to success!" 
Basil S. Walsh