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Critics, According To President Roosevelt, who lived his dreams

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

Alfred Slesinger, the founder and guiding force behind, above, and below the Alkit Camera Shops, was family photographer for President Roosevelt's cousin, FDR, for many years. At Hyde Park, NY, presidential estate, you see photos that communicate what a good photographer sees, beyond the obvious. Young, tall, skinny, energetically gifted with an honest soul, Alfred had that rarest of accents: the one that physically delights your ears. By the time FDR became President, Al's fortunes were secured. He and a close friend, Armand Hammer, made several trips per year into the center of then-communist U.S.S.R. in days of great peril to help thousands and thousands of Russia's poor. Many of them gave over to his trust lifetime accumulations of a handful of precious rubles, often kept buried underground for upwards of thirty years. He made countless trips to banks in NY, opening incredible numbers of bank accounts for children and grandchildren whom it was hoped would eventually escape Russia. For eighty years of dictatorship, emigration was difficult or forbidden to most, particularly Jewish people. His charity knew no sociological or ethnical limits. He was one of life's helpers.

As you might imagine, having presidential access did in fact help influence the growth in Alfred's income. Although providing his wife and cherished only child, Laurel, with a Sutton Place-dignified life and style, they were never spoiled. His charities and personal philanthropy quietly became legendary. When he spoke, your ears felt as they'd been fed ear candy; a musical, truly unique accent.

Service Is A Privilege and Cornerstone For Anyone Living Their Shortcut Zen of Mastery

In the course of his travels, he did countless quiet favors behind the Iron Curtain for the U.S. State Department. There were one or two other official agencies that benefited from his intimacy with back doors and his refusal to display fear to the dreaded, and rightly so, KGB.

Legend has it that his daughter Laurel, who personified the best kind of people we produce, people of rich service, could not resist the blandishments and smooth patter of Eddie Buchbinder, a slightly Jewish John Gotti-wannabe at a time when Gotti was in fifth grade.

By the time that the son-in-law had power of attorney twenty-five years later, he was allegedly blackmailing his father-in-law, who'd just been voted "Man of the Year" by his cherished comrades in the American camera industry. The son-in-law threatened to leave Alfred's daughter and grandchildren with nothing if Al didn't co-sign a one-million dollar loan for Edward to open his own set of camera shops. Never mind that Edward had gone from a Marine Corp paycheck to running his father-in-law's lucrative New York chain, and receiving a piece of every dollar coming in. He'd gone from a modest life to parking his own Rolls Royce in the driveway of his million-dollar home.

When Alfred firmly said "Sorry, no," Eddie apparently decided to use his never-suspended power of attorney, which had been necessary with the great man travelling to Eastern Europe so often. Mr. Buchbinder stocked his new Manhattan camera store with upwards of a million dollars' worth of photographic specialty items using Al Slesinger's line of credit, knowing that he, Eddie, would never repay a dime.

Motivated by instincts baser than a parent hopes for, even when his Ferrari hit a tree on Long Island's Gold Coast in the rain at high speed he gave no thought to assay his lifestyle against the cost to others. He never repented, at least outwardly, and his wife never acknowledged his profundity of anti-connubial activities. Real life can be more of a soap opera than a daytime serial tv show.

After seven decades of service, joy, and giving, it broke Alfred's heart to have been exposed to being betrayed by one he'd been so very good to. Clearly, it broke his heart, and his health, leading to a too-early demise.

Thankfully, his legendary generosity and love of his fellow man live on far past his painful end. The NY Times obituary for Al Slesinger while full of praise, could hardly have expressed how many people were positively touched and helped by the amazing "Uncle Al." the crowds who jammed Riverside Chapel in Manhattan certainly did, each with a warm story, a warmer memory.   From the arts he championed, to family he championed, he won without ever competing.

For all the challenges & obstacles that had to be overcome by that toothpick-skinny immigrant, he made good, and left behind a legacy of giving and service, which live on richly through his daughter Laurel's life, and those he touched again and again. Like his dear friend Franklin Roosevelt, he simply refused to give in to those many early critics. As a result, he lived the life of a winner, a champion, a true role model for the rest of us.

Just as his wife Kitty made the decision to continue their good works of philanthropy and cultural patronage, the wonder of men like Alfred Slesinger, role models, came through again, as at least one of Alfred's grandchildren has grown up to be an excellent human being, spouse, and parent.     The great man, and his greater wife, live on, shining.

Eight million naked faces in the city.
Every one of them with a story, a tapestry of dramatic events. How we will also applaud YOU the day, week, month and year that you, too, take the actions that provide both short-term and eternal benefit, to yourself...           ...and to those around you.

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       Every one of us has experts around us; great experts at catching people doing wrong.
For the most part, these are people who do not focus their own lives on achievement.
Stop and look at those who criticize the most; you will find they are not much on doing.
Let them flap their lips; they're not saying much of anything as long as you tune it out.
The Shortcut Zen of Mastery is about saying yes to yourself and to those around you.
The tone of your voice as well as your words has instant, powerful impact on people.
Think that's an exaggeration? Change your tone dramatically, immediately, and see.
Everyone around you will notice, right? Use this knowledge to your advantage.
Think about what it means and how it applies to you in your own life.
The best way to silence critics is to do as you see best... best.

Listen to the critics, or, as Alfred Slesinger did, listen to YOUR Shortcut Zen of Mastery.

Enrich and empower yourself, beyond the reach of critics, with 1,000,000-plus web pages - just for you. - with love from MisterShortcut


Each day, we can choose to perform with mediocrity, or we can go for more, reach for more.
This is a core reminder of the Shortcut Zen of Mastery to CHOOSE to reach for more today.

The benefits will astound and delight you, and, most likely, faster than you might've thought about.

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In Memory of the utterly inspiring Monsignor Bernie Kellogg, and a dedicated student, known to many as MrShortcut

Critics Vis-A-Vis The Shortcut Zen of Mastery

Plainly stated, critics and the comments of such critics can bounce off you, and have no viable impact,
OR, you can allow critics and their commentary to effectively paralyze you from taking your best actions.

We have all seen extreme examples of both sides of this coin... and we've also witnessed the price they exact.
The Shortcut Zen of Mastery implores you to remember that critics tend to be people who themselves do not excel.

Do you grasp this truth? Hardly one in a thousand critics can be found to be people who themselves excel.
In fact, it would be a surprise if even one in TEN thousand critics are known for excellence at something.

Saddest of all, it is not lack of capability that causes critical people to style themselves as "critics."
It is only a lack of determination to personally reach for the best within themselves, striving/thriving.

Better to set aside the words and denigrating thoughts of critics,
and focus instead on the voice within you that encourages you.

Henry Ford:
"Those people who declare that it cannot be done
should stop interrupting those who are doing it."

Stuff those critical comments into your nearest trash receptable,
leaving more room in your mind, and spirit, too, for winning.

Determining in advance that you will win... or not... speaks to this.

Whether the critic is located within you, or extrinsic to you,
push that critic to the curb, and let the cheerleader out.
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