LIFE LESSONS

The One Who Gets Things Done

Insights from an old Western.

By the looks of things it’s going to be a long, dry haul over sand. Photo by Pablò on Unsplash

When I was a kid Westerns were a big part of the television landscape. Roy Rogers, Sky King, Maverick, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Hopalong Cassidy, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Lone Ranger… there were a bunch of them. The silver screen had ample Western fare as well, the finest of these being The Magnificent Seven, because these guys were just so bad. Shane, too. And, well, Gregory Peck was just so cool in The Gunfighter. High Noon? Sure we’ll put it on the list. OK, so we’ll add Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns. You like the Duke. Fine, pick a favorite.

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Public domain.

All this came to mind because I’d been thinking about Have Gun — Will Travel, starring Richard Boone. What an interesting name for a show.

Its origin came from real life newspaper advertisements. You got a problem? The ad catches your eye: “Have Gun — Will Travel.”

So exquisitely simple, so direct. When you have a problem, you want the one who gets things done. The one who is not afraid. The one who is willing to go out of his way. The one who will stay on the trail till it reaches an end.

This is what’s needed in business today, people who are committed, people willing to go the extra mile, two miles, two thousand miles. People who also have the tools, and who know how to use them. People willing to take risks, people with courage.

Have Gun — Will Travel.

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Public domain.

The lead character’s name was Paladin, played by Richard Boone. You look at his face here and you know he’s a serious man. The name Paladin was a nod to the foremost knight warriors in Charlemagne’s court.

In the show Paladin was a top tier mercenary gunfighter whose services didn’t come cheap, but he also did pro bono work for poor folk who couldn’t afford him.

Paladin was not just a common gunslinger out for blood. Whenever possible he preferred to settle grievances without resorting to violence. Fists when necessary, before bullets. He was also skilled in martial arts as well as being an excellent swordsman. And yes, he was a fine chess player, as the emblem on his card might suggest. Hunting down outlaws would undoubtedly require a certain amount of calculation, anticipation and measured action, as in chess.

Today we no longer solve our problems with guns. But we still need people we can rely on to get things done, people not afraid to shoulder responsibility and follow through.

At the end of the day, who are the ones who get things done in your organization? Who are the ones you can rely on in your circle of friends?

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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