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Don't Just Show Up. Be Great: Beck Delivers Oval Office Speech on American 'Excellence


When one asks where our leaders are "go and get a mirror and hold it up."

Those who watch The Glenn Beck Program will have likely seen GBTV's reproduction of the Oval Office in its new home at the American Dream Lab studio. Glenn Beck delivered his first, poignant address from that very office last week and followed up the occasion with yet another speech this Wednesday.

Centered on American "excellence," Beck explored the virtues of the true American way -- one that rewards a job well done rather than for simply "showing up." While society has gone down a path where "participation trophies" form an integral part of daily life, Beck insisted that America deserves better. The turmoil of life, be it "injustice," "pain," or "poverty" can be remedied, he promised, if one takes the initiative to do so.

The message was a plea to Americans to return to the values of accountability, self-sufficiency, and a proactive mindset.

When looking for tomorrow's leaders, Beck asked Americans to pick up a mirror and gaze at their own reflection. "There’s your leader."

Watch Beck's moving Oval Office speech on excellence and stay tuned to GBTV as the weeks progress for more from the most revered office in the land.

Below is a partial transcript. To read the transcript in its entirety, please visit

We have raised successive generations of Americans to believe that it is enough to merely show up, and all of life's rewards will be owed to them.

It is what I call our "sticker" culture. Everyone gets a sticker for showing up. They tell is that's good for self-confidence.

I say it's good for false confidence.

We give out stickers and trophies for participating in life. Not for excellence. Not for winning. Just for showing up.

So why are we surprised when our young adults arrive to the workforce unprepared for criticism? Unprepared for challenge. Unprepared to learn from failures. Why are we shocked when they flee from commitment at work, at home, in life… at the first sign of trouble?

I believe all of us -- all Americans know this to be true because we see it every day. It's frustrating and it is tragic. A generation lost to self-indulgence. 

But I believe Americans still appreciate true excellence - and that they want to reward it. In music. In sport. In technology. The best and the brightest and the hardest-working still reap the largest rewards.

And that's how it should be.

That's how America wants it.

That is what has made us, dare I say it, exceptional. That's the way it should be in every part of our lives. 


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