On His Birthday: Five Secrets Of Reagan’s Success

Cross-Posted from DanCirucci.com

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Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 and served as President from 1981 till 1989. His presidency dominated the 1980s. And those of us who lived through that time remember it as a glorious era for America.

When I was a child people who are the same age that I am now vividly recalled FDR and referred to him in reverential terms. Now, my generation reveres Reagan in the same way. We look upon him as someone who saved our nation — who took us from a period of gloom and defeat and presided over a new era of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

How did Reagan do it? What made him so successful? Many books have addressed these questions, but I think it comes down to these five things:

1) Politics is a performance.
If you can’t perform, you can’t inspire people, you can’t uplift them and you can’t get the job done. Reagan knew this. His lifetime in the public eye as a radio announcer, actor and spokesperson made him a consummate performer and that made a world of difference. He was comfortable performing and made it seem effortless, natural.

2) Charisma requires detachment.
Few presidents have been more charismatic than Reagan. And charisma is a potent force — a force that eases the way to greatness. But charisma demands an element of mystery and that requires discipline and, ultimately, detachment. Even Nancy Reagan admitted that sometimes she felt she never knew the man very well. The mystery was part of the magic.

3) Words matter — and the fewer, the better.
Reagan was not only an accomplished wordsmith but he was also a superb editor. Since he began his career writing radio pitches he learned how to compress a message into a short amount of time, choosing effective words carefully and using them sparingly. Of course, it helped that Reagan’s delivery was always heartfelt, as if he were speaking to just one person. That’s something he also learned from radio.

4) You CAN walk away.
His experience as a union leader (he headed the Screen Actors Guild, SAG) and Governor of California made him a shrewd negotiator and proven dealmaker. Remember when he walked away from Gorbachev at their vaulted summit? Reagan proved his point and won a better deal from the Soviets later. He also laid the groundwork for the end of the Soviet Union. He was resolute.

5) Life has more than one chapter.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that there are no second acts in American life. Ronald Reagan proved him wrong several times over. And Reagan eventually succeeded in each chapter: radio announcer; Hollywood actor and star; TV personality; corporate spokesperson; governor and president. He didn’t always get the job on the first try but he kept coming back. Regan was determined. He believed in himself as well as the rightness of his pursuit and his cause.

These are five lessons from the life and times of Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America. Do yourself a favor, wrap your heart and mind around them.

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Dan Cirucci, the founder and editor-in chief of the Dan Cirucci Blog (dancirucci.blogspot.com), is one of the most widely honored public relations professionals in his field and a public relations consultant to numerous organizations and individuals. 

Dan Cirucci
About Dan Cirucci 388 Articles
Dan Cirucci, the founder and editor-in chief of the Dan Cirucci Blog (http://dancirucci.blogspot.com/), is one of the most widely honored public relations professionals in his field and a public relations consultant to numerous organizations and individuals.