Jack and Suzy Welch’s weekly column in Businessweek is like Ann Landers meets Dr. Phill meets Adam Smith. Sometimes Neutron Jack shines through, but in this case I found his words softer and inspirational. Here’s the excerpt from his column:

AUGUST 21, 2006, By Jack and Suzy Welch

IDEAS - THE WELCH WAY
All this talk about winning makes me wonder, is there any place for losers in this world? Only a small percentage of people succeed; should all the non-winners just kill themselves? –S. Gopal, Bangalore

What a question — it has to mean you see winning in purely economic terms. That’s just not how it has to be.

We think about winning another way: as setting personal goals and achieving them, and (as importantly) enjoying the experience on the way. Winning has nothing, or everything, to do with your job. Yes, you can win as a corporate executive, but you can win just as meaningfully as a carpenter, math teacher, or singer in a wedding band. You can win raising a family, caring for your parents, or being a good friend — as long as those are the dreams you picked for yourself. Indeed, the biggest winners in the world are those who answer yes to the question, “Am I living the life I choose?”

One of the biggest winners we know is a person who by your economic definition would probably not qualify at all. Jim O’Connell graduated from Harvard Medical School. But instead of pursuing a lucrative career, he has spent the past 25 years driving a van around Boston practically every night, delivering medical care to the homeless. He lives simply; yet Jim’s life is full of joy, and he is beloved by everyone lucky enough to know him, from street people to senators.

Look, winning and losing can’t be quantified. They are states of mind, and losing only happens when you give up. Seen that way, then, the world can be filled with winners, and there is room for them all.

So, who is Jim O’Connell? Enquiring minds want to know.

Dr. James O’Connell is the President of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. You can learn more about their efforts to provide quality healthcare to the people of Boston by visiting their web site.