Roy H. Williams' MMM for Monday February 7, 2005
You had friends and laughter, adventure and romance. Remember the halcyon days of your youth? But then the friends went away, the laughter faded, the adventure ended and the romance was over.
It was time to go to work.
Do you ever feel like you're wearing ankle irons, condemned to row forever with the other galley slaves in the dim life below ship's deck? "I too have had my dreams: ay, known indeed the crowded visions of a fiery youth which haunt me still." - Oscar Wilde
One of the happy accidents of Wizard Academy...
is that students often rediscover who they were when they were young. They come to the academy to become better salespeople and scientists, journalists and educators, authors and ministers, business people and bar bouncers, ad writers and artists and we certainly make them those things. But somewhere along the way, students remember how to love their lives again and the dream-seed that fell into the ground during the dark days of winter breaks through the warm soil of spring to shout its message to the sky.
"Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying." - Studs Terkel
I want you to come to Austin on April 23. It's a Saturday. Tuscan Hall, our auditorium, is now complete except for the flagstone plaza and water features that will surround it and we'll certainly have those done before you get here. Likewise, construction is ahead of schedule for the April 23 opening of Chapel Dulcinea, the small, cliff's-edge structure that symbolizes the academy's heart and provides the fuel for its dreams.
What are the dreams of Wizard Academy? To build a school of discovery in the arts and sciences: in short, the Harvard of a brighter tomorrow. Our students, partners, and adjunct faculty are already changing the world of business through more persuasive ad writing, ‘New School' sales training, and revolutionary internet solutions. Additionally, my partner Sonja Howle will soon be taking the reigns of our Art Marketing Workshop to help artists in every discipline – all over the world – make a better living from their work because we are convinced their work is essential. We'll soon be adding a new course in visionary architecture taught by one of America's greatest living architects who, miraculously, has agreed to participate in our April 23 event to explain in detail all the symbolism and feeling that is woven into the very architecture of the school. Prepare to be amazed.
Now I need you to take a slow breath and sit down, okay? Because I'm getting ready to share with you a part of the dream that could easily sound delusional: It is our conviction that this school will exist and thrive for at least 500 years. That's why we've been careful to use only such construction materials and techniques that will withstand the wear of centuries.
Every organization closely tied to the identity of its founder dies shortly after its founder's passing. We don't want that to happen. That's why the academy is now a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors beyond my control. It must become independent of me long before I'm gone. I will not build a monument to myself. Look closely at any of my bestselling Wizard of Ads books and you'll see that my name isn't on the cover of any of them. This was my choice. My plan from the beginning has been only to kick open closed doors and point toward the horizon for an army of world-changers who will follow. Will you be counted among them?
The Academy's students, faculty and directors want the school's powerful, inside-out way of thinking to be passed like a torch from generation to generation, providing the fuel, the research and the inspiration to create constant improvement forever in every field of endeavor. And they're doing everything it takes to make sure it happens.
Are we crazy? Maybe.
Come be crazy with us.
Roy H. Williams
PS - An unrelated note for future discussion when next we're together around the campfire: I spent some time last week with Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina. I knew nothing about the man before we sat down together, but having gotten to know him, I've found myself hoping that he someday runs for president