By Dr. Josephine Gross
If you’ve read Dr. Viktor E. Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning*, you may remember it explains and illustrates how most atrocities, wars, and tragedies happen because people are too focused on their rights, while forgetting about the responsibilities that come with those rights.
Dr. Viktor E. Frankl felt many of us are guilty of this, without thought of how it might affect other people or nations. By adding responsibility to the equation, he said, we get true freedom. This idea prompted him to start a movement that would inspire people’s hearts and minds to focus equally on our responsibilities as we do on our rights, if we are to create lasting happiness and peace.
One man who caught this vision was Dr. Stephen R. Covey. He and Dr. Viktor E. Frankl became fast friends. Stephen Covey wanted to put this idea in motion, not just talk about it. Every movement has a symbol. The symbol for our rights here in America is the Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor. It’s a giant visual reminder to the world that America values human liberty.
Dr. Viktor E. Frankl suggested that we also need a symbol that represents responsibility. Today the Responsibility Foundation is in the process of creating a statue the same size as the Statue of Liberty. More than a monument, it’s a movement to remind people of all ages that rights come with responsibilities. The Statue of Responsibility will be placed on the Pacific coast to bookend the Statue of Liberty on the Atlantic coast.
To create the statue, Steven Covey commissioned a world-renowned sculptor from Utah, Gary Lee Price. We recently sat down with Gary and his wife Leesa as they told the story of how the piece came to life, how the movement took off “like a tsunami,” and why they believe it is the perfect cause for network marketers to rally behind.—J. G.
*Published in 1946, Man’s Search for Meaning ranks among the 10 most influential books in the United States based on a survey conducted by the Library of Congress. At the time of the author’s death in 1997, the book had sold over 10 million copies and had been translated into 24 languages.
—Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, MD. PhD.
“Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the Atlantic coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the Pacific coast.”
So Gary, how did it all begin?
Gary: It originated with the life experiences of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl. What started with tragedy is ending in triumph. Dr. Viktor E. Frankl lived through some of the most horrific manifestations of mankind. He survived three years of concentration camps, saw hundreds of his campmates perish, endured the loss of his parents, as well as the loss of his wife and unborn child. When he was liberated at the end of WWII, within nine days he drafted Man’s Search for Meaning.
Talk about a victor. I love how his name reflects who he is and what his entire life’s work was about. I also love the fact that Dr. Viktor E. Frankl had vision. As an artist, I admire how he was able to look at the United States as a continent and think, “We have a sculpture at one end of it, let’s stick another sculpture on the other end.” His vision was all encompassing, and when I first heard of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl I did not realize he loved art and how influential it was in his life.
He also loved nature; he was a mountain climber. Enjoying the outdoors was one of things he did to ground himself. Visiting Mrs. Frankl and being able to see his study and all of his books, being surrounded by what Dr. Viktor E. Frankl was about, I felt an instant connection. It confirmed to me that somehow across the distance of time and space, Viktor and I have this incredible connection. And isn’t it fascinating that what emerged from it ends up being two hands clasped?
What year did you go to Vienna?
Gary: That was in November 2004. I had been contacted by a representative of Dr. Stephen R. Covey, who was highly influenced by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, including in the writing of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Steve knew Viktor personally, and when Viktor was on his deathbed in 1997, they were in close contact. Stephen Covey said, “You know, Viktor, you have this amazing vision of a Statue of Responsibility. I would like to help that come to pass. I would like to seek out a sculptor who could create this statue for you.”
This was his personal commitment to Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, and I was sought out and asked if I would like to put my design to it. I did, and nothing really happened with it, until we realized that the next step was to present it to Dr. Elly Frankl, his second wife and surviving widow.
Stephen Covey was on a world tour at the time, so he couldn’t come to Vienna with us, but he prepared a message for Mrs. Frankl to introduce me. It said, “Mrs. Frankl, this is the artist I’ve chosen, I approve of his design, I love what he created, but we offer it to you for your input.”
I took along a 17-inch copy of my design, and after seeing the statue, Mrs. Frankl invited our small entourage of five people up to her flat where she and Viktor had spent their entire lives after the holocaust. She was holding the statue, looking at it, and for me as a sculptor I can’t tell you how tense this moment was. For me the two hands clasped represented responsibility, but I had no idea how it would be received.
As she took me into Viktor’s study, she said, “Gary, see that bookshelf right there?” This bookshelf was right next to his desk. She said, “Notice the white leather-clad niche in the middle? That housed one of the most important pieces of art Viktor owned in his entire life. He saw it in a market right after he got out of the prison camps.”
It was a wood carving, about 15 inches tall.
“He didn’t have money to purchase it at the time, but it meant so much to him he put it on layaway, went back a few months later, bought the sculpture, and had it put on this little two-inch wooden base. He built this niche in his bookshelf and stuck it right there, front and center. Ever since, he used that sculpture as a metaphor for what responsibility is all about.”
I said, “How so?”
The sculpture depicts a man reaching up to heaven with both hands, as if he were pleading to God or to mankind—with his hands outstretched.
She continued, “Viktor would ask the question, ‘Where is the hand reaching down?’ You, my American friend, you handed me a sculpture that answers my husband’s question.”
I’m reliving it right now in my mind as if it was yesterday. Elly Frankl is this vivacious, spunky little gal, but she’s also very private, never looking for attention. When she told me this, essentially giving me her stamp of approval on behalf of Viktor, it was amazing. I felt it was meant to be.
In 1865, a society of French intellectuals and artists were enjoying conversation one night over dinner in Paris. Frustrated by the oppressive regime of Napoleon III, they reveled in their admiration for America’s success in establishing a democratic government and abolishing slavery at the end of the Civil War. They reminisced over the close historic ties and love of liberty that existed between France and America, calling them “the two sisters.”
The host of the party was an attorney by the name of Edouard de Laboulaye. He loved and respected America, and more than anything, he loved freedom. He had tried hard to recognize America. He’d even been the person behind creating a silver coin, hoping to secretly gift it to America, but Napoleon had confiscated the coin, so Edouard had unable to achieve his goal. That night after dinner, he stood up and said to his guests, “Look at what America has done. We must come up with some glorious way to recognize her.”
One of the guests was a famous sculptor at the time. His name was Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. He rose from his seat and said, “I have an idea. I have just came up with the most amazing concept for a colossal statue. I created it for the Suez Canal, but they rejected it. Perhaps we could turn this into as a lasting memorial to independence, thereby showing how the people of France are just as committed to the idea of human liberty. The statue represents a woman carrying a torch lighting the way to liberty. We could call her Liberty Enlightening the World!”
That night, at that dinner party, the Statue of Liberty was born. Aguste Bartholdi took his idea and with the help of many school children in France, they made the statue. When it was finished, they shipped it, but when Lady Liberty arrived in America, she stayed in crates for a long time, because there was no money for a pedestal to put her on. The sculptor finally traveled to America and went across the country doing his dog-and-pony show, selling miniatures as a way to raise money and awareness.
At every train stop he’d roll out the big scrolls and show people what Lady Liberty might look like, igniting a conversation about liberty. But it just didn’t happen, and it didn’t happen… Until pretty soon a businessman who had some serious influence all over the country decided to step in and help. That businessman was Mr. Pulitzer, who owned the largest newspaper on the planet at the time.
He said, “I am a man of influence. I can make a difference. I will print the names of anyone who donates a dime or more in my newspaper.”
Before anyone knew it, the Statue of Liberty had a pedestal. Most of that money was raised by two groups of people: veterans and children. The children of the day helped raise the money for erecting the Statue of Liberty, in what’s now being referred to as the first crowd-funding campaign in history.
The Statue of Liberty happened just as the Statue of Responsibility is happening today. You can be part of history by donating “a dime or more,” by using your influence, and by sharing this message with the world.—J.G.
What happened upon your return from Vienna?
Gary: At first, not much happened. There were attempts to organize the next steps, to bring people together, but nothing really took off. I believe it was a question of timing. I love the quote by Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
You can get everything lined up, but if the time is not right, things just don’t happen. Then in 2008, I was in my studio showing some clients a 13-foot clay version of that first little statue I showed Mrs. Frankl. I knew since Dr. Elly Frankl had given me the green light that the Statue of Responsibility would become a reality, so I had a couple of assistants help me in my studio point it up to a 13-foot version.
That day Leesa walked in, and after she heard me tell the story of meeting Mrs. Frankl, she said, “Gary, it’s time. We have to make this happen.”
I said, “Yeah, I know, but I don’t know how… I have certain skills and love marketing, but I can’t do it alone.”
Leesa instantly took the project, realized what we needed to do, asked the proper questions, got the right people involved. We did the research, set up a 501-C(3), and from that point forward, it soared.
Leesa coined the phrase, “More than a monument, it’s a movement.” I call it the tip of the iceberg. It’s that little piece that’s sticking out that has this thousand times bigger meaning and impact below it. I just watched everything happen, and I see how from the get-go it’s been in higher hands, literally waiting for the proper timing.
I believe we first had to see the economy crash in 2008 and the global rise of entrepreneurship that ensued. In the mid-2000s, we were all feeling invincible, as the markets were all just roaring, but we had this huge shadow over us. By 2007 and 2008, things started crashing—not just in the US; it was a global phenomenon. People realized, “We can never let anything like this happen again.”
One of the visions I had was to put satellite statues around the globe—one in Israel, one in Palestine, one in India, and so on—especially in troubled places, to show that this is about coming together and connecting as one human family.
I did the research on large structures that still stand. They’re usually very simple. Take the pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, even Lady Liberty. I wanted something tall, something that would make people look up. The minute we look up, we engage our imaginations. Then we have that vision of the two hands coming together, one from above, one from below. It doesn’t necessarily symbolize God or humans—it’s all inclusive. It symbolizes all of it.
A word that comes to mind is archetype. It immediately takes root in people’s imagination and hearts.
Gary: So true, anybody who looks at it instantly gets the message. In terms of the architecture, I have emphasized the crescent, so that when you follow that arch on both sides, it goes to the center of the earth below, and out into the universe above. It truly is a message for all of humanity and every living thing.
From there, an advisory board gathered from all around the country, with people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, who brought different skill sets that complement each other. It really resonated with extraordinarily talented and successful people, servant leaders who want to leave the world a better place, especially for our children and grandchildren.
I love the question Leesa often asks when we’re speaking to large groups. She says, “Is there anybody in this audience who was not affected by the irresponsibility of the recent past?” We have all dramatically been affected—every business owner, every family, everybody.
Once we had our board in place, we asked different artists to create architectural renderings, showing the placement of this statue, which could end up in San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle.
For us artists, imagination is everything, so we take it for granted, but a lot of time people cannot foresee or imagine the effect something will have or what it will look like.
A team came together and we created synergy, meaning we are all very gifted, but when we hook up with others who are talented in different areas, there is nothing we can’t do. Artists gathered to create visuals while wordsmiths and speakers told the story. To me, it’s emblematic of what the whole sculpture is about: coming together. We can’t do this alone. This is about connecting every human, every nation, every religion, every faith. On the arch you see in the rendering, we’re going to have stained glass, which to me represents the flora and fauna of the earth.
It’s not just about humanity, it’s about all of life.
Leesa: Yes, it’s about sustainability and our responsibility to our planet. We plan to power the entire campus with renewable energy—solar, wind, and water. We also hope to build the statue out of recycled aluminum, offering an opportunity for children across the nation, or anyone, to gather cans and send them in. Everybody can contribute, just as people donated their dimes and pennies back in the days of the Statue of Liberty before she was dedicated in 1886.
There are many parallels between the Statue of Liberty and the Statue of Responsibility. Joseph Pulitzer who owned the world’s largest newspaper said, “For everyone how donates a dime or more, I’ll put your name in the newspaper.” I love how that story of Pulitzer getting involved and the children collecting pennies and dimes to build the pedestal is now widely recognized by business schools as the very first crowd-funding.
Today we are recreating that with the fundraising campaigns we’re setting up in schools, in conjunction with Studies Weekly, America’s leading print newspaper for elementary school children. We are giving every kid in America a chance to be a part of a crowd-funding to build the Statue of Responsibility.
Just as the Statue of Liberty was built by the entrepreneurs of the time, this new statue will be the result of a series of entrepreneurs coming together. The first one was Dr. Viktor E. Frankl himself, who wrote and sold many books after Man’s Search for Meaning. The second entrepreneur was Dr. Steven R. Covey, who built Franklin Covey around the mission “To Enable Greatness in People and Organizations Everywhere.” Third is Gary, who is an artist-entrepreneur. All these people have their own businesses, and now we’re talking to Networking Times readers, the home-based entrepreneurs I call the heartbeat of America. Network marketers offer a limitless opportunity and a level playing field for everyone.
Looking at the rendering of the two clasped hands, I couldn’t think of a better symbol for networking.
Gary: When I think of network marketers, I see entrepreneurs who have built success not only for themselves, but for an entire group. To me, nothing is more responsible. Absolutely nothing is more opposite of entitlement, which is so endemic today, than what’s taking place in networking marketing, where people get up every day, don’t have a boss, don’t have an office where they have to show up or a manager babysit them. They take personal responsibility. They do it themselves, and then they encourage others to do the same. That’s what we’re trying to engender here, and the statue is the perfect symbol of that.
It’s no accident that it’s a left hand and a right hand, because responsibility begins with ourselves, personal responsibility. You can make that handclasp yourself; you just grab both of your hands—right and left.
Leesa: When shaking hands with someone, we grab right hand to right hand, but this is a left hand and a right hand, which signifies a circle or a connection, where you’re grabbing each other. It’s important that we recognize it begins within, and also remember that symbol of a hand reaching down and a hand reaching up. In network marketing, you are only as successful as the person who leads you; and as the person you are reaching down to in order to help them. It’s a bilateral agreement where neither one succeeds without the other. We’ve all been that hand that needed a little bit of help reaching up at one point or another. How wonderful when we can be that other hand reaching down to help others.
So how can we be part of this movement?
Leesa: In the 1880s, Pulitzer stepped up as an entrepreneur and said, “I can make a difference; I’m a business man, I know advertising.” A Hungarian immigrant who came to America opened the door for that campaign to go viral, if you will, in his day. Everyone could give 10 cents, if that’s all they had, and their names got printed in the newspaper. Interestingly, a lot of the millionaires would not donate to the pedestal, or they would donate a tiny amount again and again, so that the newspaper would print their name the next day, and the next day.
Today we have a similar opportunity for network marketing organizations who want to follow the example Pulitzer and say, “We want to make a stand. We want to be on the frontline of something significant, not just for our country, but for the world; and not just for us, but for generations to come.”
This statue will outlive all of us and our children and grandchildren. It will be a reminder that in a difficult time, we had a choice; we came to a crossroad and decided to practice and teach responsibility, because we’ve seen what irresponsibility does.
We’re reigniting that conversation through our Every-Kid-Votes campaign*, which is specifically designed for this election year, but we have plans for many years to come. In essence, we’re grooming millions of future network marketers by teaching them to “market to their network” in school.
The Responsibility Foundation cosponsors several education programs, one of which is the Every Kid Votes campaign by Studies Weekly. This campaign is the nation’s largest mock presidential election for schoolchildren. It includes curriculum and service opportunities in Civic Responsibility, see EveryKidVotes.org
Educate – Our desire is to help the children of America learn how to become responsible citizens. We have different campaigns that will reach hundreds of thousands of students in the country, teaching them about financial responsibility and other entrepreneurial mindsets and skill sets.
Engage – We are creating social and mass media campaigns to share the message of responsibility, highlighting examples of individuals and organizations that embody this value. We recently recognized an organizations called O.U.R. (Operation Underground Railroad) that’s saving children around the world from being sold into slavery and prostitution. We’re working with State Attorney Generals and recognizing individuals who act responsibly in government. We’ve built a partnership with the Richards group, a national PR firm that creates award-winning Super Bowl commercials that are meaningful, powerful, and moving. In Q1 of 2017 we will have our own Super Bowl commercial.
Elevate – This starts with raising a statue to 305 feet tall that will have lasting impact and meaning, elevating the entire human race and planet Earth.
—Derrin Hill, CEO of the Responsibility Foundation
For maximum leverage, teach the youngest generation.
Leesa: School children can participate in three different ways. Number one, they learn about voting and become more responsible citizens. Number two, they can raise money for their school while helping to build the statue of responsibility. Their name will be on a kiosk at the statue where, when they grow up, they can take their children and grandchildren to see how as first-graders they helped make this happen. Number three, they have an opportunity to enter a scholarship program. For every $25 they raise, they can put their name in a drawing to receive up to a $5,000 scholarship. We plan on giving away hundreds of those.
Here is how the matrix works. Each child will be asked to raise what is called a 10-by-10 challenge. Similar to a walk-a-thon, each child will pledge to learn ten lessons about responsibility found in the Studies Weekly publication. Next, they are encouraged to ask 10 people to sponsor them by pledging $10. (Personally, I’d much rather sponsor a child to learn about responsibility than buying candy bars of gift wrap from them!) Each child can raise $100. If they do, their name will be entered four times in the scholarship drawing. Of course, they can do that more or less, whatever they are capable of doing.
Studies Weekly is currently in front of about 5 million schoolchildren every day. Let’s do the math: if we had 5 million school children raising $100, that’s $500 million. Even with a 10% participation rate, that’s $50 million if 5 million kids participate, but we think we’ll have more like 10 million. Those students can raise $100 million with nearly half available to stay with the local sponsoring group and the other half going to the construction of the Statue of Responsibility.
Right now, the opportunity is open to any school across America. We anticipate we’ll have donors partner with us to make that opportunity available to every child in America.
Who’s doing the work of spreading the news in schools?
Leesa: That’s a huge part of it, and we have a multipronged approach. The first is through our partnership with Studies Weekly, as outlined above.
The second way is we’re building partnerships with PTAs at the national and state levels, which will filter through to local levels. We also have an outreach to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. We’re partnering with the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the National School Board Association, all of whom will provide incredible networks for us to plug into that will help spread the word and share the news.
In addition, we have all kinds of different media outlets interested in being a part of this. Anderson Cooper from CNN was prepared to cover this mock election, the Every-Kid-Votes campaign, three and a half years ago. He was on site in the Northeast, ready to do this in New York, when Hurricane Sandy hit, and all the schools shut down for that day. So they didn’t get to do the vote in the Northeast, but they did in the rest of the country. They had 1.2 million students participate in 2012. Anderson Cooper and his executive producer are interested in doing it again this time, and obviously, we count on Networking Times to spread the news in the network marketing space.
Count us in! We already saw your impact and the enthusiasm this movement is rousing among network marketers at the ANMP International Convention this past June.
Leesa: We see this as an opportunity that’s similar to what network marketing offers. It’s a chance to take charge of our future. Network marketers could be a phenomenal street army for EveryKidVotes.org. Ultimately, we intend to have not only the funds the kids raise, but we’re also seeking corporate partners to help match some of those funds, if not all of them. The cost for an average size elementary school to receive the materials is only $50. It’s a tiny investment with a huge impact, because that $50 enables the children to participate in the fundraiser and raise several thousand dollars. A good chunk of that stays at the local school, and another chunk goes to the Statue of Responsibility.
Rarely does something come along in life that’s bigger than you are, and that you have a chance to be a part of. We feel it’s a privilege, so we’re grateful for that chance, and I know you are as well.
Gary: We believe it’s entirely possible for us to raise the money for the statue in the coming 12 months. Between the Every-Kid-Votes campaign and the other initiatives outlined above, we think we have the ability to raise approximately $80 to $100 million. To build the statue and the surrounding grounds will cost between $80 and $140 million dollars.
One more action we have lined up is we’re going to have a state-of-the-art Super Bowl commercial which will air in the first quarter of 2017 to inform and educate people, and there will be a call to action to send a donation. We think that will get us the rest of the way there.
We believe we’ll break ground sometime in the first quarter of 2017. The construction will take less than two years, so our vision is to have Dr. Elly Frankl, who is 90 years old right now, be at the ground breaking early next year, and then again at the dedication some time before 2020. We hope to see you all there!
JOIN THE MOVEMENT!
Every network marketing team and company needs a bigger cause they can get behind and gather around. If you resonate with Dr. Viktor E. Frankl’s vision of bringing back the concept of responsibility to our children and people around the world, visit ResponsibilityFoundation.org or email Info@ResponsibilityFoundation.org to see how you and your team can get involved.