The Power of Giving

What I learned from Jack Lemmon

By Nick Bradley


One of my favorite actors of all time was Jack Lemmon. Not only did he possess one of the most energic screen presences in Hollywood movies, but he was also an amazing jazz pianist.

I have always made it a point to study the greats in life.

What is A Great?

Whether it be acting, sports, politics or music…all the GREATS transcended the actual activity that gained them their initial worldly status.

I repeat…… all the GREATS transcended the actual activity that gained them their initial worldly status.

One such person close to our hearts was Arnold Palmer. Palmer realized early on that life is a ladder; some will climb easily to the top while others, despite huge efforts, only make the second rung. Palmer was the catalyst for all PGA Tour and player charitable events and initiatives.

The law of reciprocity is a powerful force. I remember when I decided to mentor ten under privileged children from the First Tee Charity for free for a year, I had no idea at the time of the power of contribution. Here is a clip:



Five of those kids gained college scholarships.

Over the winter period of 2015/2016 I conducted high end golf sessions on the most eastern Caribbean Island, Barbados. A malady, mainly attributed to diet, affects over 45% of the population (Bajans) is type two diabetics. It would have been ridiculously easy to think I’d get caught up among the lifestyle of the expats living on the island, but to my surprise, I didn’t. I attended charity event after charity event witnessing vast sums of money donated by the wealthy to contribute to the needs of the less fortunate. It was enlightening and spiritually rich.

So what did I learn from Jack Lemmon?

While mentoring the young, talented Kevin Spacey, Lemmon recognized that the actor was sure to be a big star. Lemmon would remind Spacey time and time again, then when he made it big he was to:

‘Send the Elevator back Down’

Sometimes we forget the power of the right word at the right time. We can skirt over the unselfish words of encouragement when recognizing a person is low. We can ignorantly turn a blind eye in not showing genuine personal interest in another.

Let me tell you, it can be transforming, if you make the effort.

There is an old saying: ‘If you feel the need to write to someone, then you should, you never know the difference it could make’.

In the context of this piece: ‘Don’t wait for someone to unwittingly miss that first rung of the ladder. Be big, contribute and send the elevator back down with genuine assistance’.


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