At the fall Convocation last Wednesday, October 17th, Dakota State had the privilege to hear a very successful, intelligent man, named V.J. Smith speak. He has been a professional speaker for more than a decade, and it is definitely noticeable. His speech was about living life to the fullest, but living life smart. He started his speech by telling the audience to think about the number fifty-four. He went on to say that one in one hundred people will be rich by the time they are sixty-five, four will be financially well-off, and fifty-four will be broke. These numbers are astounding!
V.J. has had quite a few jobs; in one he worked as a solar collector salesman. He said that they made him listen to an hour of motivational speakers each day to get pumped up to sell something. He said they would be pumped up, and then they would go out and sell nothing. He wanted to do something with his life. He wanted to look back when he would be at the end of his life and feel like he accomplished something.
V.J. heard that Lou Holtz, now a retired American football coach, had been fired and had then written a list of 107 things he wanted to accomplish. Number 108 was added by Holtz’s wife; it said, “get a job.” V.J., who was now 40, started to think about what he had done with his life, and then thought about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, so he wrote a list of his own. His list had 57 things he wanted to accomplish. One story that made the audience chuckle was about his goal to get an 81 in golf. Now we all know this is not very good, but he was determined to reach this goal. In 2000, he accomplished this goal and spent $135 for a trophy engraved with the number 81. Goal number 11 was to help start a program for children. Today the program helps 1,500 children, ages eight to twelve.
This wonderful man has helped so many people and is an inspiration to all of us. One quote he left with the audience was, “When you die you want people to talk about the size of your heart, not the material things in life.” His speech was an eye opener for all those that heard it. It inspires us to do what we want with our lives and live life to the fullest.