The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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May 16, 2014

Resort owner shares keys to success

Jim Justice is guest speaker at BAF dinner

BECKLEY — When it comes to succeeding, the owner of The Greenbrier says he has a few ideas about how it’s done. Jim Justice was the guest speaker at the 28th annual Beckley Area Foundation celebration dinner where they celebrated all the good of the year.

“We are a community foundation,” out-going BAF President Mike Cavendish said. “Ten residents of Beckley started the foundation around 1986. They got a million dollars from the Thomas Walker Foundation. The idea was to support local economic development, arts, healthcare, human services, recreation and such.

“Each year we try to have some program or speaker. Jim has done a lot for the state and community. We wanted to hear what he’s working on these days.”

Cavendish said the dinner was happening at the Black Knight because Justice had helped get the building back up and running again.

Justice told everyone that he was proud of them for all that they do, but they can always do more.

“Aren’t you tired of us being 50th in too many things? When I was a little kid, we were 50th. When my dad was a kid, we were 50th. What’s the problem? What’s the disconnect?

“Think about our state. We have a faith-based community. We know the difference between right and wrong. We have decent infrastructure and low crime ratings. We have good medical schools. We in West Virginia are a loving people. We appreciate what we have.”

Justice said saving the state and its communities isn’t just about the success of the group.

“A strong tide raises all ships, but sometimes it’s difficult to get a group to move,” he said. “Sometimes committees can be collections of individuals that just might decide that nothing can be done.

“I think it’s great that groups help pull the ropes with you, but you still have to have individuals who step up and stand up for what’s right.

“The first step to success is believing that you’re more than an Average Joe or Average Jane,” Justice said.

“You have to psych yourself up to know that you don’t have to change the world with any one thing,” he said. “You can cook a hot meal for someone who is suffering or take someone to the hospital that needs a ride. It all starts with an act of kindness.

“As we do better, we get so wrapped up in the business. Be common as an old shoe. That’s where it all starts. I can’t give you a magic potion to make things miraculously better. We’re so quick to say there’s nothing we can do. You just don’t quit trying. West Virginians have been beat down some. We can’t accept that.

“We can’t quit trying, but we also have to get rid of negative things in our life,” Justice said.

“In your life, in what you do, get away from people who are sticks in the mud,” he said. “Sticks in the mud get in the way. They’re just holding you back. If today we had the invention of electricity, what would Dan Rather say? ‘Terrible news today for America’s candle-makers.’ I believe the glass is half-full.

“The Lord gave you the ability to smile and that alone alleviates so much stress. You say you can’t see miracles but other people can? They’re around you. Look for them.”

Justice said the number one thing that you can do to make yourself better is admit that you’re doing something wrong.

“Admit you don’t know something and really believe it,” he said. “I think the worst thing that we have going for us in our state is that too many of us like to see people lose or fail. We need to celebrate success.

“I’m not saying other states aren’t envious or jealous, but we just have too much of that here. We need to celebrate the good that people do. God would say ‘Don’t let someone steal your joy.’ I think He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be happy for others.

“We don’t have to have millions of dollars or achievements like that. You going next door and cooking for a needy lady, I need to be happy for you and for you doing that. I’d say that’s what really holds us back. Lots of business leaders I talk to, they won’t come because we’re stuck in a rut,” Justice concluded.

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