I was at the shopping mall one day running errands and during my shopping I came across this quote on a shopping bag:
How that motivational quote happened to be printed on a shopping bag was beyond me, but it was striking enough to get me thinking of my own life. Looking back, I realized how fortunate I truly was—I have a great family, was able to attend Boston University and received a good education, and I now run a my own financial investments firm. One would imagine me being married to my job and not having a life outside of my career, but on the contrary, I made an effort to find the time to enjoy some of life’s simplest pleasures: traveling and sharing special moments with my loved ones, playing golf with friends, reading a good book, exercising, and participating in charity events. I then realized that I was able to do all these things, and more, because I did what Mr. Churchill said… stop dreaming and start acting.
It does not end there, life always goes up and down, but if we learn from our mistakes the “ups” should climb higher each time and the “downs” not as low as the previous one. Critical improvement of oneself is very important and pride is a waste of time because it prevents you from learning. Like many other children, I’ve always been a dreamer, but somewhere along the way I’ve stopped wishing and started working hard towards my dream. One of my co-workers happened to bump into me during coffee break and asked me for advice on success. I told him one way to achieve it was to follow the words and wisdom from the people who’ve already obtained greatness in one form or another. Read about them and stick with their basic ingredients and add a little something special of your own.
There are guards and janitors, and there are presidents of multi-national companies. There are students from public schools, and there are students from Ivy-league schools. There are bankers, financial managers, and politicians, and there are social workers, doctors, and athletes. No matter what you are, and where you are in life, whatever you are tasked to do, do it with excellence. Your work is your signature, and you will be remembered not by what you do but how well you actually do it. Trust me, it is better to be remembered for the great products and service you deliver to your clients, than the positions and offices you hold.
Failure is as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun. Every well-known person who has achieved great heights in their career had, at some point in their lives, failed miserably. J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers. Walt Disney was told that he had no imagination. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. What made these people succeed is their tenacity to keep trying and moving forward towards their purpose and their goal despite the set-backs. Decide now whether your goal is worth every failure, heartbreak, and backbreaking work that it’s going to take. Remember that the road to success is constantly under construction, as are you. You are a work in progress, and you learn as you live.
On that note, allow me to end with a famous Japanese proverb, and congratulate you in advance for staying on the right path, not allowing disappointment to sway you and continually refining your skills and intellect. Remember…always be sharpening your mind.
Jeffrey Arsenault is the Founder and Principal Partner of a New York-based financial investments management firm, Old Greenwich Capital Partners. When he is not running the company with his best of breed fund managers, he is enjoying life’s simplest pleasures by cherishing his wife and guiding his family of 5, playing golf, traveling, and reading.