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Gov. Jeb Bush
"My definition of success has kind of evolved over the years. When I was younger, much younger, I would say success was accumulating wealth. The pursuit of that for some reason gave me a sense that I would be successful if I made money because I would be providing for my family. I got married really young and I had three kids, all of whom are adults thank goodness, but when I was young it was really related to making money. It seems so important to provide for your family, but it doesn't seem like that's a very good measurement of success anymore. And I don't measure it in victories because in my world right now it's very transactional. I got a series of things, you know a list of things to do that is about 8 pages long. I keep it in my computer and there's lots of wins and loses and so winning isn't the measurement of success anymore either, although I am very competitive and I like to win. When I win it doesn't add value to my life. I guess now in my life it's giving back, is the measurement of success. Having the ability to give back and sustain it over a long period of time and do it in a way that doesn't necessarily draw attention to yourself. It's an evolutionary thing, it changes as your life changes. "

How much of his success does Jeb Bush, attribute to goal setting?
"A lot. A whole lot. I think it's important, it's important to create your own agenda whether it's public realm or private realm and pursue it, and so you have to have a goal and you have to measure how you are doing on that goal. If you try to be all things to all people and please people, if you always want to respond to other folks' agenda, you'd be overwhelmed, particularly in the job I have now. It would be impossible. So, when I ran in '98 I had a real clear agenda and I said what I was going to do. So it was totally transparent and some people liked it and some people didn't. But then I did or I tried to do what I said I was going to do, which is a novel idea in politics. If I hadn't set the goals and I hadn't articulated what those goals were and how to achieve them, the agenda wouldn't have passed. Now we are kind of at another stage of this. Those goals have changed. You accomplish some things, you have to build on those and then new things come up. In our State right now you have the Medicaid budget which grows about 5 times faster than the rest of government and it's just eating away at the ability to fund higher education or community colleges or other needed services. So we have to radically alter our Medicaid program. The last 6 months I have been working on this quietly first and we will establish an aspirational goal of where we need to be and will lay out the plan on how to achieve that goal. I'll try to neutralize the likely opponents and draw people that maybe passive on Medicaid but understand the importance of it because of things that are going in their own life, how it would benefit them; turn passive people into activists and so every time every one of these things is. . . there is a process that you go through and without the goal, how do you know if you achieve success? You've got to have something to measure what your pursuit is."

How much agonizing did Jeb Bush give to his goal to become Governor, once he had set that goal? Not very much:
"I didn't think about it too hard. I'm not big on sitting on a couch and reflecting. I think a lot of times people stumble over their doubts. It's not appropriate to be rash, but it's equally not appropriate to fret. It feels right and its right. Get comfortable with the decision; you have to pull the trigger and move on. "

On the Path of Life:
I think God has a plan for all of us. I don't think it's preordained, I don't think it is. I think we have a say in our destiny, but it's God's hands on all of us and my faith really gives me serenity more than anything else. A clearer head. It's a way to filter out a lot of the things that make life much more complicated than it needs to be. Which is why I am thankful to God to have a love for him and a relationship, but I don't think we're plankton, you know. I think we're just not here to respond to heat and light. I do think we have the ability to shape our future. It can be guided by different things. It can be guided by. . . your faith guides you hopefully with primary religions and at least not the ones on the margins. It will guide you to be more humble and selfless and have courage, and it will guide you to adhere to basic virtues. If you don't have it, you can still achieve that. I'm not saying that people without faith can't adhere to a virtuous life. It can be good, different, and I don't how they do it, but I know they don't have a relationship with God and they look like they are doing pretty good.


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Copyright © 2006, Alan S. Becker