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June 30, 2014 Humble Beginnings

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In his book, “David and Goliath,” Malcolm Gladwell highlights a story about how difficult it is raising a kid in a wealthy environment. While parenting in a poverty stricken environment is remarkably challenging, the perceived advantage of raising a kid in a wealthy environment may not be completely accurate. Specifically, when a kid is raised in a world where they get everything they want and material things come easy, certain values don’t get instilled.Gladwell used the example of a man who grew up in modest beginnings in Minnesota. His father was a blue collar guy who worked hard and held his kid accountable for making his own way in life. In turn, the boy worked tirelessly toward his goals and developed a differentiated work ethic. Now, as one of the more powerful people in Hollywood, he can look back with great pride. He realizes that his father provided him with an understanding of money and a high degree of motivation.He now owns a mansion that you could land a plane in and his kids have anything they could ever want. And while his success story is a true “rags to riches” tale, one must wonder what kind of values his kids will carry with them. Will they have the kind of drive and ambition that will further the cause of others, or will they focus more on their own selfish entertainment and desires? There are a couple of morals to this story. First, any perceived advantages that you or your competitors may have only exist on the surface. Consider the idea that Goliath may have been perceived to be big and strong, but was not nimble enough to keep up with David. In turn, those advantages that you think your competitor may not have can be turned into weaknesses you can exploit. Secondly, we must be careful not to fall in love with our paycheck or get complacent with our efforts. Success is wonderful, but pushing forward when you have more than you need takes a deeper commitment. In other words, finding that chip on your shoulder that motivates you to be better each and every day is more difficult in a material world. Rediscovering the values of hard work, ambition and accountability is critical. These are the values that endure and result in real progress. Success never sleeps. It doesn’t sit around counting its money, buying new things and sipping cocktails by the pool. Success comes from a drive inside of us that will never waver. In turn, the greatest marketers not only subscribe to a relentless commitment to others, they embody the values of that young boy in Minnesota. Warmest regards,

Quote

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.”

– Ray Bradbury

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