Og Mandino was a best-selling author who not only learned how to play by life's rules and win -- he went directly to the source to get the answers.
Mandino lived in Paradise Valley, AZ. when I met him in the early 1980s. His neighbors included Jesse Owens, the famous track star who won four gold medals at the 1933 Olympics just before Adolph Hitler launched World War 2; Paul Harvey, the popular newscaster who invented 'the rest of the story'; and W. Clement Stone, a billionaire insurance tycoon who launched 'Success Unlimited' Magazine.
Og, an Italian-American who took his nickname from his christened name of Augustine, wrote dozens of motivational books that became best-sellers during his lifetime. His works included 'The Greatest Salesman in the World,' 'The Christ Commission,' 'The Greatest Secret in the World,' 'Og Mandino's University of Success' and my personal favorite, 'The Greatest Miracle in the World.'
My meeting Mandino came by accident. As a general assignment reporter for the Phoenix Gazette, a daily newspaper, I was subject to being assigned to cover any stories that needed covering. City Editor Vic Thornton had originally assigned another reporter to cover a speech Mandino was giving at a luncheon. When the reporter came down with the flu, Vic gave me the assignment.
Before heading to the resort where Og was scheduled to speak, I did some fact-checking on him. I discovered Mandino's literary career started when Stone, president of the Combined Insurance Agencies of North America, hired him as managing editor of Success Unlimited (now Success Magazine). In a relatively short time period, Mandino increased the magazine's circulation to more than 200,000 and turned the publication into a success.
He also wrote a novel, 'The Greatest Salesman in the World.' It was based on the life of Christ and the hero was a youth from Jerusalem who was given the task of selling a robe in the market place. Instead of selling the robe, he gave it to comfort Christ during the Crucifixion.
I discovered a few other things about Og. Despite his financial success as an author, he became an alcoholic. He describes his battle with alcohol in 'The Greatest Miracle in the World.' I would advise everyone on this site to make 'Miracle' a must-read. It contains the four rules of life which Mandino told me came to him in the form of the God Memorandum while he was working on a manuscript one evening.
'It was the end of a long day and I fell asleep at my typewriter,' he said. 'I know this is hard to believe, but when I awoke, the memorandum had been written. I don't remember writing it and I strongly believe it came from a Higher Power.'
The lengthy memorandum, which I will not quote here, contained the four rules of life. Millions of people around the world have responded to those rules, with results that have bordered on the miraculous.
I am one of those people.
Here from the God Memorandum are the rules: Count your blessings daily; go the extra mile always; proclaim your rarity; use wisely your powers of choice.
Every time I go to a casino or card room, I count my blessings. Every person's blessings are different, and I won't bore you with mine. You know what your blessings are, whether they be family, health, financial success, your home, where you live or that new Mercedes convertible you just paid off.
Go the extra mile always. This rule helps make you a better employee, a better neighbor, a better father, mother, sister or brother. And if you are a gambler in a casino, it works in many ways that you will have to experience for yourself.
Proclaim your rarity. Don't run with the crowd. Always seek the path that will point you in the right direction rather than the most popular one. It will help turn you into a winner no matter what game you are playing.
The final rule is the toughest one to follow: Use wisely your powers of choice. Over the years, I have broken this rule many times, and it has always cost me. Don't violate this rule. Whether the game is poker, craps, horse racing, the stock market, drugs, alcohol, or even the slots, be careful when you make your choice. It could mean the difference between winning and losing a lot more than just a wager.