Can You Live an Extraordinary Life?
Published on September 2, 2010
Author and Social Entrepreneur Peter Thomas Visits UH Bauer College
On “Be Great America” Book Tour to Benefit Student Scholarships
Peter H. Thomas has seen and experienced it all, from accruing millions to near bankruptcy, from personal tragedy to triumph, and today, he lives an extraordinary life.
Thomas will visit the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business from Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 to share his story with business students and the local community, as part of his Be Great America Book Tour. Proceeds from his book sales will benefit student scholarships.
The “Be Great” book tour in Houston is being presented by the Bauer College of Business and the Bauer Leadership Consortium Advisory Group. Thomas’ visit will be highlighted by a large classroom visit at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 in Cullen Performance Hall, along with a book signing that day at 4 p.m. in Melcher Hall under the ticker.
Thomas will also visit the LifePilot workshop scheduled for Nov. 12. Founded by Thomas, LifePilot is designed to promote positive personal change and growth. (For more information or to RSVP for the UH Bauer LifePilot workshop, click here).
“Teaching students about values-based leadership is the foundation of our curriculum at UH Bauer,” said Dean Arthur D. Warga. “Bringing in real-world business leaders — especially those as accomplished as Peter Thomas — helps our students to make the connection between living their personal lives and professional careers with integrity, and ultimately, finding success and happiness.”
Thomas describes his own “operator’s manual” that guided and inspired him through the tough times in his new book, Be Great – The Five Foundations of an Extraordinary Life. Thomas says he believes anyone can experience inner “greatification” — the process of becoming great by following the five foundations and living in alignment with them.
“I do not consider myself exceptional or more capable than anyone else,” Thomas says. “I do know my mother told me there is no excuse for what she called bad behavior, no matter the circumstance. It was her way of teaching and instilling in me a strong foundation of ethics and values.”
“Today, we have decided that due to a bad economy, personal setback or sudden tragedy, that it is okay to ‘proceed at all costs,’ ‘throw caution to the wind,’ or ‘do what it takes to succeed.’ That couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Thomas’ personal story is a powerful one that will motivate students to emulate his leadership style, says UH Bauer Department of Management Chair Leanne Atwater, who had a hand in bringing the book tour to Houston.
“Peter is an inspiration to me and to others because he’s overcome so much in his life and done so keeping his values intact,” Atwater said. “Having him speak to our undergraduate and graduate students about values-based leadership complements so well what our faculty are teaching in the classroom about the importance of leading with integrity.”
Thomas explains his story with a passion and commitment from one who has lived and continues to live an extraordinary life, into his seventies.
His setback came from the first real estate crash in 1982, going from millions to near financial ruin. Later, his life was shattered when his 32-year-old son, Todd, committed suicide. The revered words of his “mentor,” Dr. Martin Luther King — “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy” — moved him to do what he had been taught by his mother. Thomas clarified his personal values, what was important to him, and aligned them with his goals and priorities.
Thomas acknowledges that his “operator’s manual” is what has kept him on track, even in times of crisis, and remains an integral part of every decision, choice or opportunity he encounters. In his guide, he identifies five foundations that he considers pillars, like a support system for his life that help him stand tall, inspire him to make good decisions and make his dreams a realization. This allows him to live an extraordinary life.
In a society where Ponzi schemes, cheating in school and doing whatever it takes to get ahead has come to the forefront, Thomas shows us that you can succeed and live a fulfilling life without compromising what you stand for.
In the book he describes his “AMC” — attitude, motivation and commitment — which are the factors that distinguish the successful from those less successful. He shares his own experience with “FUD” – fear, uncertainty and doubt. He tells us how he got King Arthur’s disease and shows the consequences. He describes his foundations through storytelling, by giving examples of how following his core values helped him unlock his greatest potential and how those same foundations have worked just as well for others.
Today there is a new term called “conscious capitalism”, the practice of businesses being increasingly aware of their responsibility and obligations to society. Whatever you want to call it, Thomas has chosen to conduct himself in a “conscious” manner by abiding by and following his five foundations, to which he credits his success and his personal greatification.
Be Great will encourage and inspire you to do what is right by first learning and then knowing what is best, and works for you. After that, according to Peter, an internal optimist, “Success and personal fulfillment is only limited by how big you can dream!”