Sales Tip: Always Be Closing (ABC). The one simple rule that will help increase your sales.

 

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I don’t know who came up with the phrase, “Always Be Closing” but it’s brilliant. In sales circles it’s known more simply as ABC.

If you are in sales, this simple catchy phrase will help keep you on track to making sales.

Here’s some insight into sales and how to increase the number of sales YOU make.

Buyers like to get the sales person off track.

They like to ask questions, lots of questions.

They ask:

Does it come in blue?

What’s the guarantee?

Buyers like to stall, hedge, avoid.

They say:

I have to ask my wife.

I want to look around.

I think I can get a better deal somewhere else.

Buyers like to know that their business matters, that they are getting some personal attention to earn their business.

But sales people, know the ABC’s of sales – Always Be Closing.

Smart, successful sales people know that happy customers and good sales people go hand in hand.

They know that spending a little extra time with a serious buyer, or creating a personalized offer can be exactly what is needed to clinch a sale.

The buyer wants their questions answered so they can make the decision to buy. The smart salesperson wants to answer those questions and move the person ever closer to buying.

My colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Lant talks about the sales dance. He likens the sales process to a type of courtship. The sales person approaches, the buyer is shy, aloof. The sales person comes closer, offers the right words, and assurances. The buyer plays hard to get but shows interest. The sales person is more engaging, tries harder with a better offer, always moving toward the close.

ABC – Always be Closing means this:

Answering relevant questions, eliminating obstacles to the sale being made, helping with payment plans, reassuring the buyer, making special offers, sweetening the deal, whatever it takes to get the sale.

Closing the sale means finding out from the customer, what it will take to get them to buy NOW, not next week, or next month. The best sales people are listeners. They listen to what the buyer wants and they determine a way to get it for them so the sale is made, today. You can HEAR someone who wants to buy, if you stop talking long enough to listen.

ABC means doing your job right so the customer gets a great deal and you make a great sale!

Most of us have been on the receiving end of a poor sales person, and we also remember that warm happy feeling when you’ve made a purchase that you feel good about. We like to feel special, a good sales person can make that happen or alternatively with the wrong approach can make you walk away.

Happy customer’s who feel they got a good deal can be a repeat customer or a customer for life. Unhappy customers help you learn what you could perhaps be doing better. The right approach with an unhappy customer can convert them into a happy one! In fact, they may end up being your best customer because they see you actually cared and tried to make better a problem situation.

Got a sticky note? Write ABC on a sticky note, and post it on your computer. It will help remind you when you are talking to a customer, or answering an email, or sending a quote, or posting an offer, remember to Always Be Closing.

*** We invite your comments below.

How Yelp can help your local business generate business!

FREE consultation ($150 value). Expert shows you how to make money online.Call (757-647-2886) 24/7 Or Skype me homeprofitcoach NOW! Profit today!” Your success guaranteed. http://www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=kr2fDPDb

As Groupon and other Bulk-Buy sites lose favour with merchants, business owners are going back to basics to generate traffic and new business.

Yelp.com is a reviews website that allows members to post reviews (good and bad) about different types of business. The site is structured into geographical areas which is beneficial for both users of the site and for businesses.

Yelp.com provides an easy way to see what people are saying about a specific business of interest. Recent surveys report that review sites are very popular among consumers (especially 35 and under) who will frequently use these kinds of sites to search for a business, then decide whether or not to use a service or business.

–> Benefits for the Consumer

Search for businesses by category or key words, in your specific area for hours, contact information, or website address.

Yelp allows you to find smaller businesses that might not yet be indexed on Google Maps

Browse what people are saying about a specific business or service, or add your own review.

The “talk” element of the site allows for more detailed specifics on a business or service.

Easily share your reviews on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

–> Benefits for the Business

63 million people have visited yelp in the last 30 days – that is some kind of MASSIVE – FREE exposure for your local business. People who may never otherwise have heard of your business or perhaps forgotten about you can get acquainted with you.

Any local business with a physical presence can benefit from being listed at Yelp.

Business owners can add their own business listing (if not already listed) to ensure that their contact information is accurate. They can also add photos and message customers.

Business owners (or Managers) can reply publicly to reviews or comments posted about their business.

Business owners can pay for premium advertising, called Yelp Ads.

Business owners can see what people are saying about their business and pinpoint for correction, problem or services issues in their operation.

Recently Yelp has added Events listings as well. So if you are organizing an event, submit it and get instant exposure. Visitors to Yelp, in your location will see your listing as Yelp will scan the geographical location of the member logging in, so events in their area show up.

Yelp has integrated several social media sites (FaceBook, Twitter etc) into the site so when users access these, or refer friends to the site, business owners get the benefits of even more promotion.

– Review of Yelp

For the most part, review sites like Yelp.com are GOOD for local business. The exposure for a business, is tremendous and difficult to not be seen as valuable. You get free exposure by reviews being posted, new customers are introduced to what you offer, former customers are reminded that you are still there. You as the owner or manager get come control over content, by adding your own business, then commenting often, posting pictures etc. Social media allows businesses to engage with their customers in a positive way.

Yes, there are some possible disadvantages. People can write negative reviews about your business. But if you run a solid operation these will be overshadowed by the good comments that people post. Some businesses have been known to pay people to write good reviews or offer other perks. Statistical averages will most often work in your favour if you are an honest business, doing your best to provide a quality service for your customers. Remember, negative reviews can be responded to by the business owner, or manager. Customers understand that no business is perfect. False, or off-the-wall reviews stand out as such and are often filtered, removed or rated lower in terms of helpfulness. What matters to consumers is that a business owner makes an effort to resolve problems.

For more details visit Yelp.com

What do you think of Review Sites? Helpful or not helpful? What Review sites do you like?

Promotion is OXYGEN for your business. Here’s how to breathe life into yours and boost those sales.

Newbie affiliate marketers make the common mistake of underestimating just how much promotion it takes to generate sales.

To further complicate things, sometimes even when they understand the value of promoting they don’t get the results they want, and this can be for any number of reasons which I will discuss here.

Let’s tackle the first issue, promotion. How much is enough?

Think of it this way, promotion is as vital to the life of your business as BREATHING is to you keeping YOU alive.

Notice that big companies never STOP promoting? Why does Coke need to spend 5 MILLION on a Super Bowl Ad? Doesn’t everyone know what Coke is? The reason is simple. You must keep your product, your brand, your service in the eyes of the buyer. Stop, and the buyer buys something else from someone else. Each morning while watching the morning local news, the commercials I see repeatedly are for McDonald’s breakfast wraps. McDonald’s wants their brand to be what I remember as I’m heading out the door, I can just stop there on my way to grab breakfast.

Now let’s look at affiliate marketing in this same context. You can be trying to make sales from any number of affiliate products or services, business opportunities, advertising, Amazon, movies, website hosting, traffic, pet products, leads, books, toys, and so forth. You’ve got lots of competition. This means you must promote constantly, the reality that successful marketers know and embrace is, that you can’t ever stop.

This may come as a surprise to some. Often I see new marketers, go hard promoting for a week or two, then take time off, then they are back blasting off a few posts, their interest wanes and that’s it they’re done. Average business life expectancy for new marketers can be as brief as 30 days. Too many people expect instant spectacular results from a half-assed effort. You want to make more sales? Learn about effective marketing strategy and adapt a system for marketing – then stick with it. Promote more products, promote more often, promote in the places where you will get the BEST results. There is money to be made – a lot of money – from reputable online sources – not just today but for years to come if you learn how to be a smart marketer.

The good news is that once you have a system for promoting it doesn’t take you as long to do it. You can spend some time early in the morning or late in the evening on your lap top sending out your ads, doing your postings, updating your social media accounts. One of the advantages of being an affiliate marketer is that the company handles orders and customer service, this allows you to focus 100% on advertising and promotion.

Now let’s talk about the where, what and how of promotion that will bring you results.

Get accounts at:

Linked In
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Once you have the accounts set up don’t forget about them. Try to post at least every 48 hours. What to you post? Product reviews. Testimonials. Articles. Recommendations and so forth. Blatant ads won’t work in most places so be creative and be clever.

Get acccounts at popular Safelists and Exchanges. Safelists are free to join, you can earn advertising credits, or pay for low cost advertising targeting the home business market. Safelists are very effective for promotion of landing pages so be sure to include an offer, a lead form, and an optin.

Here’s a few to get you started

http://www.TrafficCenter.com
ListJoe.com
Referral Frenzy
http://www.DragonSurfer.com
http://www.QuantumSafelist.com
ViralInBox.com
MisterSafelist.com
Do a Bing Search for more – there are lots and lots of options for Safelist marketing.

Classified Ad sites are worth your time and so too are Online Forums.
Do a Google search to find sites that are free to join and post.

Speaking of Google, as a small affiliate marketer with limited advertising dollars, forget about buying Google Ads unless you have a bottomless pit of money to spend on advertising. It is far better value to buy low cost solo ads, classifieds, login ads, banner ads and sponsor ads at sites related to your market, such as the Safelists mentioned above.

Blogs. You can get a free blog but I don’t recommend it as you have no ownership or control. The company providing your free blog can simply remove it whenever they like if they don’t agree with something posted on the blog, or if their policies change. Better to get your own hosted blog, with an actual website address branded to you. Hosted blogs are inexpensive and using WordPress makes it very easy even for non techies to manage their own blog. For example my hosted blog is http://www.SandiHunter.com and this is a WordPress Blog that is easily managed and updated. What can you post to your blog? Everything? Why blog? To get better search engine ranking and to brand yourself, and to generate leads. If your blog is niche based, meaning the content is specific to a certain topic this is even better for search engine indexing and ranking. On your blog you can post your products for sale, your services, your reviews, your recommendations, articles, images, offers, news, and more. They key to blogging is to post new original content on a regular basis.

So now you understand that to earn consistent online income you must commit to promoting consistently. What you may not know is where to start, and exactly what to do. That’s where we can help you. Now it’s time for you to put a system in place so you can achieve the results you want. Successful marketers promote constantly to breathe LIFE into their business. They are hungry for leads because leads result in sales. They understand that a business only grows when continually watered, nurtured and fed. They learn how and where to market effectively by getting help in this process using a system that works, a proven system like the one developed over many years at Worldprofit. This is a comprehensive training system that teaches you the marketing skills required to achieve your goals for growing your successful online business. Find out more about how Worldprofit can help you grow your profitable online business at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

About the Author.

Sandi Hunter, is Co-Founder and President of Worldprofit Inc. Started in 1994, Worldprofit has helped people worldwide grow their own online business with comprehensive training, support and resources from newbies to more seasoned affiliate marketers.

Note: If you are reading this and not yet a Worldprofit member, you’re missing out on valuable training to help you learn how to earn at home from reputable online sources. Worldprofit provides training, resources, software and support for people who want to learn how to earn at home from reputable online sources. Find out why for over 20 years now Worldprofit has been the # 1 popular choice for online home business training. Join over two million people worldwide who trust Worldprofit for online training and support at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

‘We need a little Christmas.’ Why I’m working hard right this minute to make Christmas 2011 the best ever.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I was young then, blessed with that overflowing feeling of high animal spirits and joy to the world. It was 1967, I was in New York City for the first time, about to sail to Europe on the SS Aurelia … The future seemed boundless, was boundless, and I had only good wishes and to spare for everyone, everywhere.

The only snare was that I couldn’t get tickets for “Mame” (music and lyrics by Jerry Herman); the hit musical based on one of my mother’s favorite books, “Auntie Mame” by Patrick Dennis (1955). Bummer. But not down hearted I somehow managed to get a program and discovered when Angela Lansbury, the star, the toast of Broadway, was likely to leave the Winter Garden Theatre. .. and just where I could stand for the best chance of getting her autograph.

I well recall the moment she came out the stage door, she was smaller than she appeared on stage… and I remember how the collar of her coat brushed against my cheek… and her scent as she bent down to autograph the program, a little crushed in my hand. It was lush, seductive, delicious… And I was happy…

I have that program still, in good condition, too, a reminder when the song I’ve chosen for today’s theme music — “We need a little Christmas” — was just a peppy, high-stepping, belt-it-out number, not an absolute need for all of us. Start, however, by going to any search engine… get the tune… then let ‘er rip… it’s going to get your blood going, your feet tapping, and maybe even bring a tear to your eye, you sentimental softie you…

“For I’ve grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older!”

These words pretty much sum up events since that magic moment at the door of the Winter Garden Theatre — and I don’t merely mean for you and me, either. I mean for America and for our deeply troubled world. And that is why I am already at work to ensure this Christmas in this year of general dismay and gloom is the best ever. We need it — for the good of home, hearth, soul, and, yes, the economy.

I began this week.

It is September 25, 2011 as I write, and my dear and valued helpers, Aime Joseph and his soothing wife Mercedes, have commenced Operation Christmas. We started with a herculean task meant to occur twice each year but often “forgotten” — polishing the silver. It is arduous, it is wearying, it is dull… and it is a necessary deed in creating the “wow factor” that is such an essential part of Christmas for me and mine.

The question is, why have we started so early… just what are we doing it for?

Over the last few years I have noticed the inception and development of an invidious trend in me and many others: scaling back, pruning, diminishing the high festival of Christmas. This is a very bad thing… and this year I decided to take constructive action before I bear an even closer approximation to Ebenezer Scrooge. This called for drastic action… and my better self answered the call.

Unmarried, no (known) children. Katie Segal made a fortune on “Married with Children”(1987) in which she played the ultimate suburban vulgarian wife, Peg. She thought the holiday was for maxing out her credit cards and causing pain to her hapless bills-paying husband. It was funny… because, of course, we weren’t like Peg, no way. But we are… and not, I hasten to add, because we enjoy the consumer aspect of the event.

I have always thought the sanctimonious folks who decry the blatant commercialism of Christmas and seek to revert to prior usages, pure and holy, misread the original text and allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by Puritans. Now, lest you think I am anti-Puritan, be aware I am of Puritan heritage myself. And it pains me to admit, the Puritans got Christmas all wrong and missed its message.

The culprit in the matter was Oliver Cromwell, a man who, saying enough is enough, helped King Charles I to eternity in 1649 through the simple expedient (as Charles told his horrified children) by separating His Majesty’s head from His Majesty’s body. The Lord Protector, more powerful than most kings, then lead an effort to root out all vestiges of the traditional high-living English Christmas. And so for 10 years (until his successor son Richard got kicked out in 1659) Cromwell and company worked to make everyone just as miserable and gloomy at Christmas as possible. That was the right and proper thing to do.

For instance, zealous Puritans, rigid, unbending, inflexible, muffed the matter of the Three Wise Men, princes of the Orient. Each, if you’ll recall, brought the Christ child very expensive gifts. These included gold (imagine if they’d held it), frankincense and myhrr. Unless these royalties just happened to have some extra gifts in their treasure trove (possible, but unlikely) each had to make a trip to the bazaar (which is what people called malls in those days) to scrutinize what was available and mull over their options.

This is exactly what the non-kingly people do nowadays at Christmas, parking their cars (easier to handle than malodorous camels which spit), returning over and over to get just the right gift, the gift that will say loudly and clearly, “I care.” So, where’s the problem? Christmas, in short, has had a pronounced commercial aspect from the first moment. People should get over it and get on with the real business of the event: love!

Whether you consider the matter from the vantage point of God to man — “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16) —

… or from the vantage point of human relations, the fact is that Christmas is the prime event of every year based on, all about, and dedicated to love. And we humans after this storm-tossed year should embrace the event and enjoy it for what it is: a chance to love one another, be kind to each other, embrace our diversity, and give the embedded rancors of our deeply fissured planet a rest… even if we know, as we do, they’ll be back in the new year. Even a little solace helps. We need it, we must have it, and we deserve it.

And because I have been, shall we say, neglectful both about giving and taking love, I have a huge love deficit to make up for… and so Christmas 2011 must be done right in every nuance and detail… and this takes time, care, and thoughtfulness.

Cleaning the silver is just the beginning.

And then like the score says, “Candles in the window/Carols at the spinet.”

And gifts for all… and not merely anything grabbed at the eleventh hour Christmas Eve either… for the gift must be as special as the beloved who gets it…

All this takes time… meticulous attention to detail… and, most of all, love…

And it is this love, in short supply in years past, suppressed, which is the most important thing of all… This year will be different, for this year that love will flow without stint… as a resolute declaration to everyone, everywhere that this is a place where humanity is made welcome and where we know the true meaning of Christmas… and mean to have it! Share it! And renew it…

Knowing this, can you wonder why I am starting so early here? The wonder is that you have not commenced early, for your need is pressing, too.

The moans, groans, complaints and pontifications have begun as the Christmas marketing season of 2011 commences. Which side are you on?

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Every year, it seems, the opening date for Christmas marketing creeps forward, adding days, not just hours, to the already lengthy selling season. This year my cadre of Christmas watchers reported seasonal catalog and store sightings as early as Labor Day, September 8 . But you can count on this: as people worldwide read this article, they will surely report even earlier sightings. This happens every year… and as it does one of the interminable debates of our times reignites: when is this much too much Christmas?

Ask this query in a crowded room and, hey presto, there will be pandemonium, mayhem, and strident calls for the public lynching of the people who so tamper with and wantonly extend the most important and revered holiday of the year. Christmas creep is here… and you have an opinion on this matter; I’m sure of that. Everybody does.

Christmas is the promised land — for merchants everywhere. That’s the problem.

Christmas purists, and their number is legion, never tire of beating up the merchants who are, they aver, at the bottom of Christmas creep. From this moment of the year forward, a large percentage of Americans will get up on any soap box to hand and excoriate, insult, belittle and besmirch people who earlier in the year they knew and attested to be good, hard-working, service-providing, tax-paying citizens. But where Christmas creep is the issue, truth and justice are early casualties.

People will creep… it’s as American as apple pie.

Know any folks from California? Or Oklahoma? I do. They are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They are also the descendants of creepers.

Take California for instance. There a grand gentleman named John Augustus Sutter was peacefully minding his own business when James W. Marshall on January 24, 1848 discovered gold on Sutter’s land, at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento. The nation didn’t say, “Good for you, Mr. Sutter.” No way. Instead they took to creeping on to old man Sutter’s land, a little bit here, a little bit there… until the creepers had everything and Mr. Sutter had nothing but lawsuits and a footnote in history. A little bit of gold in them thar hills and a whole lot of creeping got us the State of California, and that’s a fact.

Or consider the folks in Oklahoma. They’re not called Sooners for nothing. In 1889, the federal government organized the great land rush, whereby folks who wanted land could get it free by racing for it against other land-hungry folks. Problem is, a good many of the wanters couldn’t be bothered to wait… and so they crept out early and grabbed the good stuff. Yup, they were creepers and some of the best families of the state started that way, and that, too, is a fact. Creeping pays, and only a Grinch would disagree.

But Grinches proliferate the closer Christmas comes and its insistent, unrelenting messages.

Although there have been plenty of Grinches in our history, lives, and culture, the actual character debued in the 1957 children’s book by Dr. Seuss, who was by all accounts a Grinch himself. It was titled “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and was adopted into a popular television special in 1966. In an instant people with anti-holiday spirit and growly disposition were indelibly tagged as partisans of that scowling hermit with green fur, red eyes, and boots who lives in an isolated cave near Whoville.

Now exuberant Christmas lovers had just what they needed to characterize and lambast the nay sayers, “Don’t be a Grinch,” causing the justly labeled Grinches to writhe and squirm. Just as they deserve. We all know it’s fun — and de rigueur — to pick on each and every Grinch we know.

It’s a question of dates.

After the fall in 1815 of Napoleon and his gimcrack empire, a peace conference was convened in Vienna to divvy up the spoils. Participants included Russia, England, Prussia, Austria and — drum roll — the France now ruled again by its Bourbon dynasty and represented by the Prince de Talleyrand. One day Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who always made such a bad impression as he rattled on about God and morality, was being particularly insufferable on the matter of how to divide the Kingdom of Saxony, which had, in his imperial view, stayed loyal to Napoleon a little too long. Its king, he insisted, should be losing half his country, or more.

Talleyrand, polished, aristocratic to his manicured fingertips, the ultimate cynic and realist, scanned his colleagues, each of whom (but the English) had made deals with Bonaparte, and renigged on them, snapped out that toxic phrase, “That, sire, is a question of dates.”

And so it is with our Scrooges, our Grinches.

The person who wants no Christmas festivities at all, just strict, gloomy adherence to what they suppose has been ordained and sanctified…. are Scrooges to the people who want the Christmas season to exist for a day or two, but not more. These, in turn, get dubbed as Grinches by those who want more… and there are always those who do. And so it goes…

… merchants trying (especially nowadays) to make up for one punk month after another, delving deeper into the calendar….

… thereby fueling yelps of outrage and righteousness from folks who raise the cry of too much self-seeking commercialism too early…

… thereby forcing those who might even agree in theory, to push the adamant seasonal marketing forward and forward again, as an act of mercantile preservation and profit.

Each says, “Enough is enough”; each points fingers and mouths frantic imprecations; each postures, preens, pouts, and always acts and speaks as if truth lived in their house and only their house. So there!

Whoa! The baby at the center of Christmas has indeed been thrown out with the bath water, and this will never do. Thus some thoughts of reconciliation, offered humbly and with trepidation.

Christmas has had a significant commercial aspect since the three wise men of the Orient, who came so far and at such inconvenience, approached the manger and offered their expensive presents. Did they just happen to find such offerings — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — in their saddlebags? Doubtful. More likely, they had gone shopping at one of the great bazaars along the way; such bazaars, blazing with the riches of the rich lands of the East, were the malls of their times… even unto parking their camels, always malodorous and mean spirited. In such a place, even the most fastidious desires of the most demanding could be met, including those who shopped for the King of Kings, for whom they employed their most discriminating tastes and ample means, never rushed. Thus, commercialism and Christmas go hand in hand… as they always have.

These suggestions will help you cope with and better enjoy this best of all holidays:

1) Let every man set his own acceptable level for just the amount of Christmas he desires. A laissez faire attitude is not just useful, but mandatory. Stop worrying about whether the man next door is asking too much or too little from the holiday and instead concentrate on making yours the best ever.

2) Leave the merchants alone. They have had a bad year; even if we think they are going over board, let them get on with it without our jeremiads, lamentations and snide remarks. Where would we be at Christmas, after all, without them?

3) Remember Henry Ford II’s celebrated line, “Never complain, never explain”. Since the very inception of Christmas the Thought Police have attempted to coerce uniformity. Mr. Ford was right… you owe it to no one and nobody to adhere; simply believe in your own way and style. As the song says, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas…”

4) Select a few of your favorite Christmas carols and seasonal preferences and load them into your audio player. You’ll be a lot happier when you enter some establishment with music you detest, no matter how venerable, if you can hear the tunes you particularly like.

And one more thing, whether the Christmas you celebrate is long or short, the single day itself, or the 12 days with five gold rings and lords a-leaping, or something else altogether, remember this: the gift you should most give and be most fortunate to receive is love… it is the only true and essential element. All else pales beside it.

One of the proudest days of my life… the day I give you Internet success through a unique gift you can only get from me!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Today is a red-letter day for me… one of the most important days of my life. For such a day nothing short of one of our weary world’s greatest masterpieces, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” (1824), will do . Please play it before you read this article. You cannot but feel the thrill and exultation. If a human being can do this, human beings can do anything. Find it in any search engine and turn up the volume. Then you’ll know how I am feeling now as I prepare to give you a gift only I can give and which has taken me a lifetime to perfect.

Deaf… sublime.

When great Beethoven sat down to compose his 9th Symphony, of which the “Ode to Joy” is perhaps the most celebrated part, he was stone deaf. Yet in his capacious, extraordinary brain the music rang out to thrill the world. He could have said, “a deaf person cannot compose,” everyone would have understood such a conclusion and offered the usual words of sympathy… but that is not the way of people with a mission to improve the world. They recognize no obstacle! Do not give way to defeatism! And reach deep into themselves to find what they alone can give the world and its people who rely upon such genius for relief! Instruction! And improvement! For you see those who have such a gift must give such a gift… and today I give such a gift, the greatest I have ever given, to each of you.

The struggling world… and the profound promise of the Internet.

I have now been on the Internet over 18 years, about a third of my life. During these years I have witnessed humanity’s struggle to make sense of this monumental invention which has the undoubted power and demonstrated potential to connect people everywhere and enable them to say what they want to say without shackle or inhibition.

Now think a moment: for the first time, the very first time, in the long cycles of humanity each person can, with the simple expedient of an Internet connection, present himself, in all his wonderful uniqueness, to others who have the ardent desire to do the same, without the pernicious intrusion of any of the world’s Thought Police who have intervened with impunity and malice in all previous epochs.

The Internet brooks no interference… no one telling you what you can do…when you can do it. Yes, for the first time in human history each person has a voice that can be heard… that must be heard…. and so transform the world — for good and ill.

Is it any wonder then that I have selected “Ode to Joy” and recommended that you play it now… for on our troubled planet we need all the help we can get and the Internet is here to provide it.

Commerce…

From the very first minute far sighted folk saw that such a means of connection could prove to be a superb means of commerce. But how? Most didn’t know and so, without guidance, commenced a struggle which left them frustrated, confounded, angry and, too often, embittered. How, they wondered, could this astonishing invention produce a golden outcome for them? It was a question that millions asked — and continue to ask — but which only a comparative handful have ever answered successfully. With the almost daily assistance of my cherished partners George Kosch and Sandi Hunter, I have found such success… and been given the opportunity to give it to others. Today we celebrate that opportunity and its ability to uplift! Enrich! And empower people worldwide.

It all started with a blank sheet of paper.

I am not just a writer, but a published writer, which is a very different thing. To write to connect should be every writer’s objective… and it has certainly been my objective since my first article appeared in print 59 years ago, when I was 5 years old. You may well imagine what a heady thing it must be for that child, any child to experience such excitement. Once you’ve had it, you spend the rest of your life wanting more and doing what is necessary to get it. In this regard I have been most fortunate… having written thousands of articles and 18 books, mostly on business themes. My word has been carried — and frequently, too — on radio, television and on the lecture circuit. But my connection with the Internet has radically transformed the entire matter of content and given me the means to give you substantial advantage every single day.

How?

As I have often said and frequently written and emphasized, “the list is the business, the business is the list.” Thus each person desiring to succeed in business must spend a significant amount of time building a list, and this activity must be a part of each and every day that you desire to remain in business and increase your profit.

But maintaining your list, growing your list cannot, on the Internet, be your sole objective; that would be protecting your list and ensuring that you can use it daily to email ad copy to your subscribers. The problem is, if you only email ads day after day to these subscribers, they will quickly become disenchanted, even disgusted, with you… and manifest their displeasure by unsubscribing your list, thereby depriving them of all benefits you offer and yourself of their golden custom.

This is the exact situation in which most Web marketers find themselves… and why so many of these people are killing their lists, thereby killing their profits.

Here’s where I — and Bill Gates — enter the scene and why you need to pay attention to our message. Gates has famously and enigmatically said of the Internet, “Content is king.” What does he mean? Just that people will not put up with an unceasing avalanche of ad copy; they need more, much more. They need content… and if you create a blog and give them this content you can accompany it — every day — with the ad copy that generates the revenue. Problem is, most people cannot write engaging, meaningful copy and cannot afford the cost of hiring the people who could create such copy for them; it’s just too expensive.

That’s where I come in… I can and will produce such copy — for free. And today we recognize and celebrate the completion of the first 365 articles, one for every day of the year. These articles, all about 1500 words in length, are timely, intelligent, often provocative, always informative and, my signature and pride, beautifully written. Let me explain the importance of these articles and why you are fortunate to have them: they save your all-important lists from being destroyed by your subscribers, people who want more than a steady diet of ads and as such are invaluable.

Let us be very clear with each other: if you email nothing but ads, you will kill your list and thus obliterate your business. Thus, you have these options. Email the ads anyway and test my thesis (suicidal); try to write such copy every single day yourself (highly unlikely given your writing skills). Or you could hire the necessary talent to do the work, thereby breaking the bank. Or…

You could use the copy I have created for you… and which I give to you, thereby enabling your list and with it your business to grow and flourish while I provide the necessary (and always beautifully written) copy. And that is why we are celebrating today… not just for what I have written… or how well I have written — but because with these often lyric articles I am keeping your online business on the profit path.

“You millions I embrace you,” and give you the best of which I am capable for our mutual joy — freude! So now finish as we began… with Beethoven and his “Ode to Joy”. For we, now working together, have everything to be joyful about! Let the celestial sound soar… as we do — together! Freude!

Of polar bears. As the water rises, their prospects fall.

y Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. What music is appropriate for the undoubted decline and possible demise of one of the grandest creatures on earth — Ursus maritimus — the polar bear? I have selected Edvard Grieg’s 1867 masterpiece “From the hall of the mountain king”, for this is the story of a race of kings, sovereigns all, ruling over a land of snow and ice… a land now melting, imperiling these princes of the North… whose prospects for survival wane as the sea waters around them rise, a rise which threatens human kind, too. This is their story… and we must heed it for they are not threatened alone. You’ll find Grieg’s suite in any search engine. Find it now… and listen to its evocative, enigmatic sound. This sound will endure…. but will the polar bears whose tale I tell this day?

The seas at the top of the world are rising, rising…

While politicians argue about cause and effect, the undeniable fact of global warming and rising seas is beyond cavil and dispute. Sea level has been rising significantly over the past century, according to a newly released study that offers the most detailed look yet at the changes in ocean levels during the past 2,100 years.

Researcher Benjamin Horton, director of the Sea Level Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, found that since the late 19th century — as the world’s industrialization intensified — sea level has risen more than 2 millimeters per year on average. That’s a bit less than one-tenth of an inch… a small amount that signals death for polar bears… and chaos for seaside humans, drip by inexorable drip. It’s all about rising temperatures.

Rising sea levels are among the hazards that rightly concern environmentalists and progressive governments with increasing global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil over the last century or so.

The heat generated works to steadily melt some of the millions of tons of ice piled up on land in Greenland, Antarctica, and elsewhere. Such melting raises ocean levels and this, in turn, raises the possibility of major flooding in highly populated coastal cities and greater storm damage in oceanfront communities.

Polar bears must swim further and further for food…

Researcher Anthony Pagano, a US Geological Survey biologist, at the International Bear Association Conference, has, in his newly released study, made it clear what happens to polar bears as the snow melts and the seas rise. He identified and studied 50 long- distance swims by adult female polar bears between 2004 and 2009 in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

“Climate change is pulling the sea ice out from under polar bears’ feet, forcing some to swim longer distances to find food and habitat,” said Geoff York, a polar bear expert at the World Wildlife Fund who coauthored the study.

And the cubs simply fall off…

York said polar bears, tracked by satellite devices, routinely swim 10 miles or more for food, principally the seals they dote on and devour. But as the seas rise, these distances increase. Twenty bears in the survey swam more than 30 miles at a time. The longest-distance swim was 426 miles; the longest-lasting swim was 12.7 days, with a few brief breaks on drift ice. All this is bad enough, but here’s the tragic element: eleven of the bears that swam long distances had young cubs when researchers attached the tracking collars. Five of those mothers lost their cubs while swimming… and thus the breed and its prospects are diminished…

Facts about the threatened polar bears, majestic, now vulnerable.

The polar bear, universally admired, is the world’s largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak bear, which is approximately the same size. An adult male weighs around 350-680 kg (770-1,500 lb), while an adult female is about half the size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals, which make up most of its diet.

The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the 19 polar bear subpopulations in decline. Researchers estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide; they are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.

“Nanook of the North.”

Over the course of uncounted centuries, the intricate, necessary symbiosis between the polar elements, the polar bear, and Inuit and other indigenous peoples of the North has slowly, carefully evolved. The Northern people revered the bear whose flesh they enjoyed… they called the polar bear “nanook”… and took the name proudly for themselves.

In 1922, Robert J. Flaherty made one of the most celebrated documentaries of the silent film era, “Nanook of the North”, calling it “A Story of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic.” In the tradition of what would later be called “salvage ethnography”, Flaherty captured (and some critics said staged) the struggles of the Inuk Nanook and his family in the Canadian arctic. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films selected for preservation in the United States Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

But the human Nanook, though most assuredly a predator of the ursine Nanook, was never a problem, for he took only what he needed… and was never wanton. He never forgot he needed nanook. No, he is not the problem, though human kind as a whole most assuredly is. For we as a genus are thoughtless, careless always anxious to shift the guilt, the burden, the responsibility to others for what we have done.

And what’s terrible about this so sad situation is this: we know what to do and when and how to do it. We don’t need more learned studies; for studies about the future of the polar bear and its irrevocably changing environment are frequent, thorough, detailed, and unanswerable. We need action… before this matter becomes, like the histories of so many other species, academic.

But, for now, let us end as we began, with Edvard Grieg, master of unsurpassed, haunting melody. A creature of the North, knowing Winter well, he cherished the fleeting glories of Spring. In this spirit, he composed something so beautiful it is painful to listen to. He called it “Last Spring”, and you must go to any search engine now to play it. Let it fill your heart with compassion for the great creatures now completely at the mercy of their greatest predators, us. Let us pray that this song of soul by Grieg remains great music only and that there is no “Last Spring” for Ursus maritimus, beloved of man, dying through the works of man.

For where shall we find your like again; You who thrilled us so?

Where shall we look when you are gone you who have been made by God?

When you are gone who will care for why when your great heart beats no more?

God will know… … but He will not say for we who were bade to cherish failed you.

So now we lament… too late Now we shall know you not and nevermore.

Never to play again under the great northern lights once your heaven.

Where then have you gone? You whom we loved, and failed…

On croquet, a game of strategy, grace, humiliation and malice. Mere football cannot compare.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Friend, I suspect you are not up on the all-important words and necessary phrases from the world of croquet. That is scandalous, of course, and you should be ashamed of yourself for the dereliction. Fortunately it can be remedied at once by going to the always helpful Wikipedia, where you’ll find an admirable glossary. Go now… and while you’re there be sure to find the original score for the quirky film “Heathers.” (1989). Why?

Because those ever inventive jeunes femmes fatales invent a game (so clever, don’t you know) called “strip croquet”. You won’t play it in your neighborhood; your crusty neighbors would be scandalized… but I can play it in mine, because I live in Cambridge… where beautiful young people abound, glorious to look at but without the sense they were born with. They’d love the inspired innovation. Play the theme music right away. It will put you in just the right frame of mind for this scrutiny of one of the most conspiratorial and vengeful games on earth and where (on the pretext of helping another player with her grip) you can snuggle up without demur…

Lord Reggie learns the power of croquet…

Lord Reggie Pasworthy was in despair. This 7th impecunious son of the impecunious 17th marquess of Unworthington had heard, always on the very best authority, that Lady Pamela Noacres had cast sheep eyes at…… but that couldn’t possibly be… for she was… his… and had once nearly said so. She couldn’t…… she wouldn’t. But it appears she might.

What could he do?

He applied at once to Basil Uppercrust, who knew all but said nothing, so admirably discrete, so clever Basil. “Freddie, old chum, you need to do only one thing to be right as rain with the gel… ” Then he whispered just one word……

“Croquet”…. and immediately wrote his cousin the duchess to arrange a week-end where Lord Freddie might shine amongst the wickets, his admirable figure displayed to best advantage.

Though it has been many years now since that week-end at Castle Allworthy not a thing about it has been forgotten. How Lord Freddie confounded Lady Pamela’s advance with a ball-in-hand.

How Lady Pamela distracted him by proposing a double-bank with her grace. (He won that, too.)

How it all came down to the final hoop… and that unforgettable moment when Lord Freddie took control, determined, insistent, a gentleman no longer but a beast, my dear, I tell you a beast…. Lady Pamela’s temperature rose from tepid to scalding… from polite interest to… riveted… while Freddie ran the hoops until he completed that glorious sextuple peel to roquet her ball spinning down the verdant acres… and when the gallant victor offered his lavendered handkerchief, her fate was sealed…

The engagement was announced in the “Morning Post” just today.

The plight of the World Croquet Association.

Pity the situation and plight of these admirable folks and their invaluable efforts on behalf of croquet. They want us to see croquet in the benign light of demos and beer…. when most of us enjoy the game because of its unabashed elitist, aristocratic nuances played out with insouciance and fine champagne on the most perfect grass we have ever seen, the result of hundreds of years of arrogance and care.

A brief history of croquet.

Ask anyone (anyone, that is, of any intelligence and discernment whatsoever) just where croquet was invented… and, without missing a beat — they’d tell you “Why, old man, in Jolly Old England, what.” And, of course, they’d be wrong… and, such are the ways of croquet, they’d also be right.

Croquet scholars (fastidious and accurate) will tell you the rules of the modern game arrived from Ireland during the 1850s, perhaps coming from Brittany, where a similar game was played on the beaches. A game called “crookey” was played at Castlebellingham in 1834 and, in 1835 was played in the bishop’s palace garden; later that year it was played in the genteel Dublin suburb then called Kingstowne (now Dun Laoghaire) where it was first spelled as “croquet.” There is, however, no pre-1858 Irish document that describes the way the game was played… but the Irish don’t care about such details. They claim croquet and that is that…

…but, of course, that most assuredly is not that, especially if you are of the English ilk, and damn their cheeky assertion.

In the book “Queen of Games: The History of Croquet,” author Nicky Smith offers another hypothesis. Smith says that the game was introduced to Britain from France during the reign of Charles II of England, and was played under the name of paille maille or pall mall, derived ultimately from the Latin words for “ball and mallet.” This is what the “Encyclopedia Britannica” wrote in 1877. But of course the xenophobic Britannica would say so, wouldn’t they?

But at last there is documentary evidence that confirms English inventiveness and croquet paternity. Isaac Spratt is the champion. He created the oldest document known to bear the word “croquet”. He wrote a description of the modern game of croquet and the first set of rules and regulations of a game which became ever more esoteric, obscure, arcane. Just the way the players like it!

Spratt’s contribution came in November, 1856 when he filed his document with the Stationers’ Company in London. It is now in the English Public Records Office. In 1868 the first croquet all-comers’ meeting was held at Morton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire and in the same year the All England Croquet Club was formed at Wimbleton, London. There was absolutely nothing democratic about any of it, and one would have drunk beer, instead of a stirrup cup, at one’s considerable peril.

This result, however, was unacceptable to Ellery McClatchy, dead at 86, in September, 2011 at his home in Pope Valley, California.

If you live in Northern California and are even remotely with it, you will recognize at once the surname, for there (and amongst the politically sentient) it is a household name because of their substantial newspaper properties, not least the major paper in Sacramento, the Bee. As you may imagine, to have such a property, such a position in the largest state in the Great Republic is to have financial resources… and the time and ability to pursue your particular interests. In this case… croquet.

McClatchy was, and this is crucial to the case, an all-American boy; thus he disdained the exclusivities of old regimes everywhere. He had a “desire to make croquet available to people of all ages and to see croquet lawns in a great variety of places,” according to a profile on the US Croquet Association website. He pursued this inclusive objective over the many years he was a ranked croquet player and in 1995 when he was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.

While we all think highly of his years of effort, democratic (or republican) croquet is not what any of us desires. Which is why our favorite croquet match ever is the one overseen by the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s immortal book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The balls are live hedge hogs and the mallets are opinionated flamingoes. It is curious, odd, unconventional, the best way to play this marvelous game which puts dull baseball and interminable football in their places. I say “off with their heads” to any with the reckless temerity to gainsay me.

How one man — known to history as ‘Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne’ — lost his majesty’s empire and gave victory to the rebellious Americans. An astonishing tale.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne loved the pomp and circumstance of war. That is very apparent from one of the greatest “swagger” portraits ever painted. It is the masterpiece of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who captured if not the man, then the way the man wished others to see him. To Burgoyne we may guess, even if we have no record to confirm, that that pomp and circumstance include just the right martial music. That it stir the blood, quicken the step, and motivate every heart to — victory, for King and Old England.

As the tale of the Gentleman demands, only the renowned music of the celebrated “March of the British Grenadiers” would do. Burgoyne would have known it well. Once you’ve found it in any search engine, play it… more than once. Unless there is water in your tired veins, you will instantly feel its power… and you will understand the loyal soldiers of the monarch stood tall and moved so well as they marched to their fate. And so “Gentleman Johnny” marched to his…

Find the man in the myth.

On his deathbed, August 4, 1792, I suspect the expiring Gentleman would have known (and would surely have rued) the fate and reputation impressed on him. He knew he would be, thanks in large part to the unfortunate sobriquet he once found so stylish, considered a popinjay, vainglorious, interested in the trifles of war, not its often deadly essentials. In short, the classic situation of a man fatefully over his head. It is a situation common in history, often bringing about the most serious consequences and world-changing realities. The question we must ask ourselves is this: does such an evaluation do justice to the man? For history must not be merely (as Voltaire said) a pack of tricks we living play on the dead. It must strive to be just, honest, truth-telling, not truth-manipulating.

Facts about John Burgoyne, born 24 February, 1722.

Right from the start, fate seemed to be playing games with Burgoyne. He was born in Sutton, Bedfordshire, into a county family with the required Baronet at its head. His mother was Anna Maria Burgoyne, daughter of a wealthy merchant. His father… but there’s the rub. The story line might have been taken from “The History of Tom Jones, foundling,” written by Henry Fieldilng in 1749.

Burgoyne’s father was (legally) Captain John Burgoyne; in actual fact, it may have been milord Bingley, who served as his godfather. When his lordship died in 1731, his will specified that Burgoyne was to inherit his estate if his daughters had no male issue. Thus did the young Burgoyne find himself treated like a likely lad with great expectations… but no certainties. Charles Dickens wrote a classic on this predicament which wrecked havoc in many lives.

Burgoyne, like many future officers, was sent to Westminster School. There handsome, athletic, high spirited, gifted with the ability to make friends and to lead boys, he flourished. Perhaps, like many such, he peaked there; it is a common enough tragedy. But at the time things seemed very different… and he made many friends, including Thomas Gage and Lord James Strange. What he needed was money…. a career… and more money, in just that order.

With family help, in August, 1737 he purchased a commission (the usual way of getting one) in the Horse Guards, a very fashionable and very expensive regiment composed of just the kind of people he had spent his life around. His duties were light… the life congenial, not least because it enabled him to find a rich wife, absolutely necessary to maintain the ostentatious life style he loved, pressingly necessary because of his huge gambling debts, so characteristic of the 18th century, so puzzling to us.

Such a man, of course, beautiful, charming, all genteel condescension and winning plausibility was not to be denied by mere woman, no matter how well connected. Her name was Lady Charlotte Stanley, and she was one of the great catches of her day. Her brother was Burgoyne’s school friend, Lord Strange, the heir to one of England’s grandest and most historic families. Unfortunately, the head of that family, Lord Derby, demanded more than white teeth and insinuating manners. He nixed the marriage, whereupon in 1751 Burgoyne and lady eloped, to parental fury, the end to her allowance… and (unthinkable!) a possible lifetime of just making do. But that wasn’t Burgoyne. And so he used his assets to best advantage… and in due course, the Burgoyne’s produced their only child, Charlotte Elizabeth, in 1754. She was the gambler’s lucky chip he needed to reinstate happy (and remunerative) relations with Lord Derby, who in due course, succumbed to Burgoyne’s undeniable charm. It wasn’t enough, of course, and there was absolutely no glory to be delivered from living off his wife’s rich father.

He went back to the military where freedom from wives and debts was to be found and, to the lucky ones, renown and bright shining fame…

Having acquired an empire, England needed the military establishment to sustain and protect it. Wars, small, middling and international, were the order of the day, most every day. Trained officers like Burgoyne were valued… and their peccadilloes winked at. He was (in the parlance of the day), “honorable and gallant”… the more so as he was also in Parliament from 1768. He was leading the charmed life of a man who had (nearly) everything, including a string of military honors and advancements starting with the British raid on St. Malo (1758) and combating the Spanish invasion of Portugal (1762).

His tryst with America.

Like most professional soldiers of the day, Burgoyne despised the colonials and thought they’d be promptly defeated and put back in their place. Right from the start, at Concord, at Lexington, at Bunker Hill this view was challenged. But it was a prejudice that persisted and was to cost him, and his sovereign, dearly. A temper tantrum by Burgoyne in 1775, when he fulminated against the limited opportunities he felt insufficient for his genius might have saved his eternal reputation. He resigned and went home in a huff… but, fatefully, he returned. He thought he had to, since the American theatre was where glory lay… and so it was — but not for him.

And that was because of a place called Saratoga, where Burgoyne’s career of happy mobility ended in 1777 and where the United States of America as a plausible entity began.

Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, had a plan, a clever plan for dividing New England from the rest of the colonies. He would send Burgoyne down the Hudson, General Howe up the Hudson, to rendezvous at Albany and victory. Unfortunately his lordship forgot to tell General Howe, who sat and did nothing while Burgoyne walked into a trap he thought mere colonials could never execute. Too late he discovered American grit, learning to his chagrin that even rebellious Britons are Britons still and that “Britons never, never shall be slaves,” surrendering his entire army of 5000 and the fate of British North America. Lord George Germain, too powerful and well placed for blame, made sure Burgoyne was the culprit and never held another active command,, while his lordship got the chance to muddle again — this time at Yorktown in 1781 — where he got another, final chance to destroy the jewel in the crown.

Burgoyne spent the remainder of his life rethinking what had happened and in writing plays… but none of his dramatic endeavors were as compelling as the plot of his own life.

How one man’s disgust and dedication helped Ghana eradicate the guinea worm disease.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. When I did the search the other day for music with worms in the title I wasn’t terribly optimistic. But my fears were baseless. Right away I found just the perfect accompaniment to this article. It’s the music used in a popular video game called “Worms” from a company called Team17. Their theme song is a soaring, powerful piece of music juiced up for an episode called “Worms Armageddon”, and it rocks.

First, let’s start with the dictionary definition of “Armageddon”: the site or time of a final and conclusive battle between the forces of good and evil.

To confuse you, I must point out that in the game the worms are the heroes; in this article they most assuredly are not. So, “Worms Armageddon” takes on an entirely new meaning here. And when in the tune the lyrics say “the worms battled on, through hunger and pain. Living to fight just to victor again”, you will understand that for Team17 that is a good thing… but not for the sufferers of the guinea worm disease.

Now… to get started search for “Worms Armageddon”. You’ll find it in any search engine. And get ready for a story of the sustained battle and final end of this dread disease…

It all started 23 years ago, when our most useful ex-president, Jimmy Carter, saw something in Ghana which almost made him puke. There in front of him was a young woman… and from her breast one inch after another of a guinea worm was emerging. Carter was horrified! Disgusted! Without having to think twice, out of his revulsion came an immediate pledge. He promised to eradicate the disease within 10 years. And so “worms armageddon” well and truly began.

Dracunculiasis

The disease is Dracunculiasis, also known as guinea worm disease. It is a parasitic infection caused by a long and very thin nematode (roundworm). The infection begins when a person drinks stagnant water contaminated with copepods infested by the larvae of the guinea worm. Approximately one year later, the disease presents a painful, burning sensation as the worm forms a blister, usually on the lower limb.

Known since the 2nd century BC. The guinea worm has been known since the 2nd century BC from Greek chronicles. It is also mentioned in the Egyptian medical Ebers Papyrus, dating back to 1550 BC. The name dracunculiasis is derived from the Latin “affliction with little dragons”, while the common name “guinea worm” appeared after Europeans saw the disease on the Guinea coast of West Africa in the 17th century.

As the worm moves downwards, usually to the lower leg, through the subcutaneous tissues it leads to immense pain localized to its path of travel. The painful, burning sensation has led to the disease being called “the fiery serpent”. Other symptoms include fever, nausea, and vomiting.

The world knew and did nothing, private citizen Jimmy Carter acted.

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States for one term (1976-1980). He left office ridiculed and reviled, an angry, bitter man. And so it might have remained… but somewhere along the line, Carter had an “aha!” moment… that he could do untold good for untold millions using his status, contacts, and brains. And thus by patient application emerge as a great humanitarian, finally securing the good opinion, perhaps even the love of the nation. The means he chose was not a presidential library; that concept he concluded is far too passive and removed from service. Instead he created an activist entity called The Carter Center.

The Carter Center.

The Carter Center is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter. In partnership with Emory University, The Carter Center works to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. The Center is governed by a Board of Trustees, consisting of many prominent business persons, educators, former government officials, and eminent philanthropists. The Atlanta-based center has helped to improve the quality of life for people in more than 70 countries. The eradication of the guinea worm in Ghana is just the latest feather in its cap.

The idea, the will, the dedication.

Every triumph of mankind has begun in the mind of a single person, a person who looked, as perhaps many people have done before, but this time not only sees but resolves to tackle the problem… and by slow and steady stages solve it.

Jimmy Carter was that person… to the consternation of the guinea worm.

Carter learned that clean, safe drinking water systems were the key to the problem’s solution. And he knew that with hard work, political commitment, and the support of the international community he could deliver that. And so, out of personal revulsion, came patient action…

The situation when Carter made his commitment.

In 1986, 20 countries, 17 in Africa alone with India, Pakistan and Yemen, reported a total of 3.5 million cases a year. 3.5 million people acting as hosts for the fast reproducing guinea worm whose female burrows into the deep connective tissue and leaves multitudes of larvae soon to start their excruciating feast on the terror stricken victims, principally women and children.

Clean water, the key.

Guinea worm disease can only be transmitted by drinking contaminated water, and can be completely prevented through relatively simple measures that could result in complete disease eradication. These measures include

1) Drinking solely water drawn from underground sources free from contamination, such as borehole or hand-dug wells.

2) Filtering drinking water, using a fine-mesh cloth filter like nylon, to remove the guinea worm crustaceans.

3) Preventing people with emerging guinea worm from entering ponds and wells used for drinking water.

4) Developing new sources of drinking water that lack the parasites or repairing dysfunctional ones.

And so Jimmy Carter, touched and outraged by what he saw on his trip to Africa in 1988 seized the initiative, creating an international network that spelled doom for the guinea worm and relief for hitherto suffering, ignored victims.

It took more than 10 years… more than twice that long. But the work, prodded by an insistent Carter, never flagged as he made it clear to dictators and insouciant presidents of ramshackle republics that enough was enough and that their afflicted people needed action… and not insufferable indifference. Thus year by year the number of reported cases dropped… until just the other day, victory was declared in Ghana where, at the start of this project, the guinea worm and its fiery pains were endemic.

A model for victory.

The guinea worm persists, of course, but in victorious Ghana, water filters, a mild pesticide that kills the carrier in water holes and a persistent education effort that keeps villagers out of infected waters has paid off and provides the world with a model. Including a model of leadership by a man whose greatness derives not from the great office he held.. but his unflagging efforts for human improvement. And let us never forget in this unremitting fight the now 86-year-old Carter has always been accompanied by his lady, Rosalynn who sustains and comforts him through this and every other battle of his life. “So fight with their honour, and fight until the end”.