How I Carried A Message To Garcia

By: Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan

Condensed and adapted from A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard

On February 22, 1899, the publisher of a small-town newspaper was discussing with a friend who the real hero of the Spanish-American War was. He wrote down his thoughts in an hour and put them in a leftover spot in his newspaper. Soon orders came for more copies, and eventually 40 million reprints of that article were distributed around the world. This is a powerful testimony to the worldwide recognition of the importance of diligence.

When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the insurgence. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba—no one knew where. No mail or telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly. What to do?!

Someone said to the President, "There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can." Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia.

How "the fellow by the name of Rowan" took the letter, sealed it up in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot and delivered his letter to Garcia—are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point that I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" There is a man whose form should be cast in bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land...

Why is this book relevant today?

The story of Colonel Andrew Summers Rowan can teach us about the attributes that make an employee great. While times have changed since this story was written, the timeless principles are as relevant for today's workforce as they were for every employee since its publication in 1922. These timeless principles include:

  • ✔ Earning the confidence of one's employer
  • ✔ Reaching goals one objective at a time
  • ✔ Staying focused in the midst of uncertainty
  • ✔ Trusting our coworkers to do their best
  • ✔ Perseverence in the face of anxiety and challanges
  • ✔ Building contingency plans when appropriate
  • ✔ Finding value in your role as part of a bigger goal
  • ✔ Doing your very best with the tools at hand
  • ✔ Satisfaction in a job well done!

These principles are at the core of what drives us at Able Training Centers. The book shares the dreams of so many employers and provides a great example to employees.


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