Who am I…

Bob Dorney

When Wachi first announced the theme for the Time Society’s 15th Anniversary… I knew it would be a soul searching adventure… and I began by asking a few friends how they would answer the question. The answers were what I expected to hear… and decided the answers each person gave… were based on how they wanted the world to perceive them.

I decided to dig deeper, to discover who I am… and how I got to be the person I am today. My next step was to select books from my library, which helped me do more soul searching for the foundations that formed my value system and goal setting principles that guided my life journey.

As I digested this information for the 2nd or 3rd time… I soon realized many of the foundations for my life were based on my religious beliefs.

I decided that if my thoughts were to be of value to my Japanese friends… I needed to expand my knowledge of Buddha and the Dalai Lama. I bought and read several books、and learned what I always believed… we can learn much from each other… and in principle shared many basic beliefs.

My final step in my research to discover “Who am I” was to rethink the basis for the values and beliefs that guided my life journey until today.
I thought about events that guided my life. I thought about how my values were formed. How I set goals. How each was accomplished beyond my wildest dreams.

I thought about all the people in my life… who really deserved the credit for helping me reach my goals … and I discovered a new respect and love for all of them.

I also re-examined my basic religious beliefs that are the foundation on which most of my life has been based… and decided these mysteries need to be constantly proved, until they are truly believed and become a part of the decision making process in every thing we do.

This researching, soul searching and reviewing, has been a very rewarding experience for me… and has helped me learn who I am today. .I hope each of you will find this type of research as rewarding as I have.

I respect, appreciate, and value all the friends we have made in Japan. We are far more alike than we are different. Most of us are or were “work-a-holics…we are in search of excellence in all we do…we believe that life continues in the children that are born out of the love two people have for each other. We value our relationships with others… and want to help others achieve the success and happiness we found for ourselves.

Finally, we are never satisfied, and realize everything can be even better through study and hard work.Now, I want to share with you the heart, mind, and soul searches that I have started and want to continue. I hope each of you will join me as I review my life, to discover who I really am… and the life experiences that made me who I am today.

I share these experiences with the hope that each of you will want to relive your own life and discover what made you “Who You are Today.”

Who am I… Our ancestry… from where we come.

Every person on this earth is unique…we are born with the genes of our father and mother… and the latent genes of all the generations that preceded them. We have features and talents that are there from birth. Some are obvious… others must be developed. To understand who you are… much can be learned by reviewing the family traits of your ancestors.

For yourself and future generations, try to document all you know about your parents…grandparents…and as far back as your research can carry you. My oldest son, Craig… traced our family back to Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany and finally to the United States.

I never realized nor appreciated how much we can learn from our family history. It’s a lot of hard work… but the rewards are great for present and future generations to learn “Who am I?”

I hope each of you can find yourself as you research your past generations… and discover who your ancestors were, and what they did.

Who am I… What others want me to be.

Each of us is born into different environments…some into wealth… others into poverty. Some to parents with education… others to parents who are illiterate. Most of us fit somewhere between these two extremes. Our lives ar! e molded by others… by what they expect of us. We are influenced by the beliefs of our friends, mentors, teachers, and family.

I have learned that early Japanese training tends to mold each person into becoming a part of the group… obeying the rules of the group. There are differences in the way our early lives are formed… but the more I study and learn about these differences… the more I realize we are all a product of our early environment and training.

Many are expected to follow in the work of their parents.Teachers test us and influence our future by what the tests reveal.

Our religious beliefs are molded by the beliefs of our parents and friends. We often blindly believe what we have been taught to believe.

In my religion… parents pledge us to God and Jesus, shortly after we are born, because we are unable to make a decision for ourselves.

At about the age 14, we are confirmed after much study, and make the pledge for ourselves. However, even then we are influenced by the desires of our parents. Only when we encounter life… and put our religious training to the test… can we really make our own decision.Our beliefs grow from our experiences, and our experiences are guided by our past beliefs

Just as we base our life on our religious beliefs… we are guided and pushed in all phases of our life by what we learn in school… in the home… at work… in our environment… and by the friends we meet on our Life Journey. We are influenced by the books we read and by the TV we watch.

Who Am I… What have I learned and seen in my life journey.

We begin our life journey doing what others expect of us… doing what we have been taught.

Some of us are happy… others are trapped… into the life and circumstances into which we are born. We develop the genes and skills we have from birth… again if a person is happy and content conforming and doing what is expected … then that is the life to follow.

Others see a new life… a different role…choose different work… and choose to be a different person than the one in which they were born. They want to develop new and different skills, test all that life offers them. They have a vision for their future and what they want to be. ! They set and achieve goals. They become leaders not followers.

As I thought about my life journey… I soon realized that I have lived 6 lives to date.It was interesting for me to realize how different each of these lives has been… and yet how much each has been shaped by past values, beliefs, and goals.

I will try to summarize the circumstances that influenced and shaped my life until now… my only purpose in sharing my experiences with you is to help you identify and document those circumstances that shaped your life, so you too can discover what made you who you are today.

Who am I… My youth and early lessons.

I am the oldest of 6 children. I was born in1925 .My parents were hard working lower middle class. My dad had a business school education and his ancestors were entrepreneurs.

My mother’s parents and ancestors were originally from Germany and were successful farmers. I was a good student… but at the age of 14, my father brought home a printing press along with type and other machinery. My brothers and I soon got printer’s ink in our blood and decided this would be our life’s work.

My high school printing teacher taught me to read and understand a book a week, and I became self-taught. I was drafted the day after graduating from high school. The books I had read, got me into an Air Force printing unit, where I perfected my trade.

All my future success can be credited with this early advice from Bob Melman, my high school printing teacher and first mentor:

“You can learn all you need to know from books…
if you can learn to understand what you read and how to apply it.”

Who am I… marriage and Dorney Printing

My second life began when I met my late wife, Audrey.I was a real nerd… never dated, and my only interest was printing.I was an introvert, with no social life.

Until I began my search for “Who am I”, I didn’t realize she was not only my love and trusted companion… but my second mentor who would help shape my life.

We were both 25 when we were married, and had 42 very happy years together. We had 3 great children who have given us 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren… with many more to come.

Audrey gave me a new perspective on life. Early in our marriage, I wrote my first value, which became the cornerstone of all my future relations and successes:

“Look for the God in every person you meet… and nurture it.”

Much of who I am is the result of the love we shared… and the knowledge and social graces I learned during our early years together.

I began to read different books… on motivation, management, business finance, marriage relations, getting along with people and all the skills needed to run a successful business. The early habit of reading a book a week expanded my horizons. With my mother, brothers, and sisters, working together, our business grew and life was good.

Who Am I… Day-Timers and more growth.

My third life began when a young lawyer, Morris Perkins, asked us to print an idea he called “Lawyer’s Day.”

Our first printing was for only 700 copies… we grew to print millions of time planning diaries every year for all professions and appointment-driven executives. Eventually… all were combined into a diary called “Day-Timers”

Perk became my 3rd mentor, who taught me dictating skills, as well as an expanded interest in compassion and helping the less fortunate.

Our business grew very rapidly and I became general manager of the Day-Timer Companies in addition to my role in Dorney Printing. I wrote my second value as we hired more people, and my responsibilities grew:

“A good manager is like a chemist … and will bring people with different talents together …so the team is stronger than the individual.”

My life took on new meaning… my love for Audrey grew… our business was successful beyond my wildest dreams… I was able to further develop and grow my faith.

I found a new interest… Time Management, my early reading and training helped me quickly become recognized in the field of time management and motivation.

I had my life together… and believed anything was possible… many people made it all possible… and if I had my life to live over again, I would change very little.

“Who am I:… Beatrice foods and more growth.

My next life began when we decided to sell our business and diversify our investments by merging Day-Timers with Beatrice Foods, a large conglomerate, who wanted our mail order skills to help some of their companies grow. At the time Beatrice had over 450 different profit centers.

I soon became a group manager responsible for several companies, president of the Day-Timer companies, and a mail order consultant to our group. Jim Weiss, president of our division, became my third mentor, who introduced me into big business.

Before I realized what was happening… I was elected to numerous boards… in business… our trade association… my church, seminary, and other affiliates of our church. I enjoyed my role as more and more people sought my advice.

It was a thrill to work with all those knowledgeable, successful, and important people.
We had over 3000 Time and Life management seminar leaders recommend our product.

The need to learn new skills never ends. In my new positions, I had to learn how to read balance sheets, find where companies made and lost money, and how to develop and implement long range plans.

It was during this period that I met my friend Wachi, and began my experience with the Japanese people. We formed the Time Society… and met many new friends… and learned much from our new association.

Who am I…my most difficult lesson

My next lifetime was relatively short… and for the first time in my life, I was not in control. Beatrice was taken private, and the various companies were sold.On the stock market, the pieces were worth more than the whole.

I had numerous opportunities to grow and prosper… but decided to retire at age 62 to spend more time with Audrey, who wanted and deserved more of me.

Most of my life was devoted to business and I achieved everything I set out to accomplish. I envisioned doing consulting work and developing an electronic Day-Timer with friends in Japan、The new organization was only interested in short-term profits… and was not as people orientated, as I liked. For the first time in my life… I found myself in a position, where I was not in complete control… and did not look forward to the challenge of each new day. It was time to retire and begin a new life. 

I looked forward to reading for pleasure, traveling, enjoying my wife and home… and the idea of becoming a follower rather than a leader… and I again took control of my life. I had never faced real trouble or hardship and felt nothing was out of my control for long. Then it happened.Audrey, the love of my life, was diagnosed with lung cancer… and given 3 months to 3 years to live.

She lived for six years… and we lived them to the fullest. I learned an important lesson… “it is not how long you live… it’s how well you live the years you are given. ”She died in peace, and I know she lives on in a better place… but it was impossible to imagine a life without her.

I felt alone and without a purpose in life. My children asked for some of the attention they always got from Audrey and I began to help them the best I could. I found time to organize my investments and plan my estate for future generations. The transition wasn’t easy. I never realized how much people did for me.

At times my limited knowledge became really comical.One evening, I decided to prepare garlic mashed potatoes.As usual, I relied on books and found a recipe… followed it to the letter… but the potatoes didn’t mash.I called my mother.I never knew the potatoes had to be boiled before mashing… and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t mash them.

But I learned to live alone… find peace with all the great memories I had of my life and the people who shared it with me.

I began to think of Life Management and the lessons I learned along the way. My religious beliefs helped me find peace.It was fascinating to review all the events that changed my life. The most reveling revelation was the discovery of how dependent I was on others to do my work… and make me happy.

There was a big void in my life… nothing was the same. I was lonely… but was content to develop my hobbies, learn to cook, keep house, write my own letters. And learn to live a totally different life. I was becoming the introver! t of my youth.

Who am I… My present Life

About a year after Audrey left this earth for her place in heaven, I would have bet anyone a million dollars that I would never re-marry.

I felt it was impossible for me to love again… life had been too perfect… and felt it could never be duplicated.

Friends encouraged me to at least have a dinner date… but I was content renewing friendship with my children, mother, brothers and sisters.I was fast becoming the introvert of my youth.

Then it happened again. A high school friend had dated a lady who rejected him… for 3 months he tried to get me to call her… but I was not interested and was adjusting to my new life alone.

I finally called… we met for dinner… and a new fire burned within me. We found much in common… spent most of our early dates discussing our former mates. Hazel had been widowed for nine years.

As we became closer and wanted to travel and share more of life together, we soon discovered that we both wanted to spend the rest of our life together… and we were married.

Our first two years of marriage were like a roller coaster. We never lose our past. I expected Hazel to be Audrey… she expected me to be the perfect knight in shining armor she dreamed about.

We struggled… as I got to know who she was… and I learned how to make her happy and appreciate the fine but different qualities she possessed.

Our life is now in perfect sync… we know each other’s needs… how to find happiness… how to enjoy the God-given gifts each of us has. We are busy with our children and their children… and we travel… share our thoughts, and life is good.

Who Am I…

Thank you for listening to my life history… it is who I was and who I am today. I hope each of you will try to find yourself in the lives you have lived… and will live in the future.

I have learned that a happy life is a balanced life…when you are at peace with your God…have work that is satisfying and fulfilling… and have a family that lives on and learns from your life experiences.

Let me leave you with a problem solving process I learned from my early business experience that only recently I have found to be useful in solving personal relationships, and other life problems. It appears to be time consuming… but I have found that the decisions reached and actions taken are so much better and rewarding, that it is worth the time and effort.

1.First, begin by clearly defining what you want to resolve or accomplish.

2.The second step is the most important and requires real soul-searching and honesty.

So, I suggest you document it for yourself… as you see it… not as you want others to see it… not to prove anything… simply to list the facts.

Here you will list why you believe as you do.What experience you had on the subject… the outcome…and what you would have done differently.

After you have completed your confidential analysis… re-write what you are willing to share with others、 then have them evaluate it and give you their opinions, analysis and suggestions.

Compare the opinions of others with yours. Have you been totally honest with yourself? Think about what others have to say.Document all the possible answers or actions to be taken.

3.Decide on the results you want. Think of what could prevent you from achieving the results you want…document them. Visualize what life or success will look like… write a short desc! ription of how you will feel with success.

4.Write goals to achieve the success. Write intermediate goals. Write a plan.

5. Enjoy your success and share it with others.

Early in my Time Management research I wrote Ten steps to achieve any goal… and I can truthfully say that achieving goals is who I am… and achieving them has given me rewards and happiness far beyond anything I dreamed possible. And the results of those goals is Who I am.


Good- bye, from Allen Town!
It was great talking with you. I hope each of you will have the opportunity to review your life for your own self- satisfaction.
Also learn how you can change it for the better in the future.
And keep it for future generations.
Good bye from here. And I hope you have a great day .I wish Hazel and I could be with you.