A Message To Garcia Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: A Message To Garcia teaches you how to be the best at your job by becoming a dedicated worker with a good attitude about whatever tasks your company gives you.

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A Message To Garcia Summary

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What can a war experience teach you about how to be happier at work and life? Well, let me tell you a little story of one man who exemplified what it takes to make a difference.

It’s the year 1898 and the Spanish-American War is in full swing. The US president wants to recruit Cuban insurgents to help his cause. Obtaining this support would require a dangerous mission to deliver the message to a leader named Calixto Garcia. Stepping up to the occasion, a man by the name of Andrew Rowan used his positive attitude and work ethic to succeed in this difficult mission. 

That’s where the title of A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard comes from. This book will teach you how to utilize the same skills and attitude that Rowan had toward his cause to improve your happiness at work and in life. 

Here are the 3 greatest lessons this book taught me about having character:

  1. Be the kind of worker who can get a message to Garcia because employers value this kind of work ethic and try to weed out those who don’t have it.
  2. Have a positive attitude to build up a successful and happy culture at work and stop wasting time being negative.
  3. Happiness comes from working hard and doesn’t just make your job more enjoyable, but is the secret to success in all aspects of life.

Are you ready to learn how to impress your boss and be happier at work? Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Your employer values the kind of person who can get a message to Garcia and tries to eliminate those who are lazy and incompetent.

Entitlement and incompetence are rampant in the workplace. If you tried asking someone to find you information on the life of Italian Renaissance painter Antonio da Correggio, for example, you’d probably have your employees wondering why. 

They might ask you to determine for them where to get the information, or wonder if it’s their job to do that. Answering their queries would likely result in them only delegating it anyway. A person of true character is the kind that works hard at all tasks without question. This is the kind of person that an employer can trust

Although you might not realize it, your boss knows when you’re slacking off. In contrast, when you give it your best shot and work hard, you become a valuable asset to your company. With the grit like Rowan had to get the message to Garcia, you can survive and thrive in the business world. 

Don’t complain constantly or harbor a negative attitude, these might get you fired. Employers are constantly watching out for the weak links in the chain. They try to weed these people out to eliminate the precious time and resources they drain. Instead of being like this, build up office culture and the individual people you work with by having a positive attitude.

Lesson 2: Being positive at work is one of the best ways to make your time there more effective and enjoyable.

Do you notice the people who complain about their problems or work? The sad truth is that you’re probably thinking worse of them than they are of whatever they’re whining about!

The truth is that when we complain we’re only revealing our own bad character and harming ourselves. It does no good to be bitter because it only brings you down. One Yale student that the author knew, for example, had this kind of attitude toward the school. His focus was on blowing trivial issues out of proportion, and this got between him and a valuable education opportunity. 

Although you might enjoy gossiping about the mistakes of a bad boss, doing so only reflects poorly on you. If your job is so bad, just leave! Change your energy and focus to be on the good things about your life, work, and the world around you. Center your thoughts on trying to be the best that you can at your job. Doing so can bring energization and maybe even a promotion! 

It’s been said that attitude determines altitude, and that couldn’t be more true, especially at work. When you’re positive you create the conditions for happiness and success to come to you.

Lesson 3: Hard work leads to happiness which brings success, and makes all parts of your life better.

We’ve talked a lot about how the way you choose to look at the world affects your time at work. But what does it have to do with having a good life? Everything, as you’ll soon see. 

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor outlines his findings that success doesn’t cause happiness. This long-thought truth is actually backwards. Choosing to be happy causes us to become more successful. This is true of all aspects of life, including work. 

Too many people want to become wealthy so they don’t have to work anymore. The assumption they make is that when they don’t have to work it will make them happier. But this couldn’t be further from the truth because hard work gives us a satisfaction that few other experiences can match.

Rather than aspiring to become rich and powerful, we should try to become good people who are happy. Eliminate fear and hate, replacing them with a character that radiates joy, goodwill, courage, and health. 

Humbly admit when you don’t know the answer to something, and treat everyone equally. The best way you can help other people is by teaching them through being a good example. When you focus on having a consistent good attitude in all aspects of your life, you exemplify everything that those around you need to succeed themselves.

A Message To Garcia Review

A Message to Garcia has a timeless and powerful message that I think we all need to hear in this day of entitlement and bad attitudes. The delivery method of these ideas is as incredible and unique as the theme itself. I’m certain you’ll enjoy and benefit from this short but sweet story about how to become a person of character.

Who would I recommend the A Message To Garcia summary to?

The 34-year-old programmer who wants to perform better and improve their attitude at work, the 17-year-old McDonald’s employee who wants to be a person of character that their managers can trust, and anyone who wants to get more fulfillment out of work and life.

Last Updated on August 24, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.