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Solving the biggest problems can be as easy as 1 - 2 - 3 plus a lot of hard work
By John Tassone, President of Associated General Insurance Agency of Illinois

I'm just a regular straight-talking guy who worked hard, took risks, and built a Chicago insurance business from nothing into a huge success. It didn't happen overnight and I came close to failure many times. I achieved success by doing certain things I learned on the streets of Chicago, and I'd like to share a few of those ideas. Some of these little nuggets may hold the key to solving problems small and large all across the nation. Here are just some of the little gems I discovered along the way.

Believe in yourself, since if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will either.

Your life is an epic story in itself, whether you want to believe it or not. Know your path, and know where you are going. Don't stop and look around because you think the grass is greener somewhere else. It probably isn't. Instead of worrying whether the grass is greener somewhere else, devote all your efforts to improving your life and making it the best it can be for yourself and your family.

Yes you must have goals, but take the accidental goals that fall in your lap along the way.

Christopher Columbus set out to find a faster route to the rich trade goods of the Indies by sailing westward with the intent of making it around the world. Oh well, he just discovered America.

Alexander Graham Bell was trying to invent a hearing aid to help his deaf mother. Oh well, he invented the telephone.

About 12 years ago, a friend lost a job at the hardware store and joined the ranks of the unemployed. John suggested he create a menu of all the things he was capable of doing as a handy man and plastering the neighborhood with photocopies. The response was so astounding he created his own successful painting business.

Decide what you are going to do and do it, do it do it. You can't sit back and say "I'd really like to do that" or "I Hope I can do it," or "That's my goal and I want to achieve it". You have to say "I'm going to do it," and that no other option, outcomes, or excuses are acceptable.

In 1937, America's military was ranked 19th in the world behind Poland. The Life magazine photo from 1938 showed an aerial view of what was described as half of the nation's entire mechanized military. You can count 146 trucks, tanks, jeeps and about a dozen motorcycles. We won World War II. We decided to win.

I believe that we can still do that today. All we really need to do to lick the problems before us is to believe in ourselves, have goals, and decide what we are going to do. Then we must do it.

About the Author:
John Tassone is the author of the book Go For It! He was born and raised in Chicago. As a child, he had a newspaper route, shined shoes, and made deliveries for a meat market. Throughout high school he worked in his father's hardware store. He earned a bachelor's degree in Education at Chicago Teachers College (now Chicago State University), and then taught drafting in the Chicago public school system. He later became a draftsman for U.S. Steel. While working there, John started selling life insurance part-time. After a year, he quit U.S. Steel and went to full-time insurance sales. He moved quickly through the insurance-company ranks, and became regional VP of the Chicago area. In 1976 he opened his own agency, Associated General Insurance Agency of Illinois. John and his wife, Catherine, live near Chicago. For more information visit

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