LESSONS IN LIFE GAINED FROM BUSINESS
(Part 2 of 2)
I am a “trench worker”, having been “in the trenches” owning, growing, and successfully selling 15 businesses over 40 years. I have learned valuable lessons during this “in the trenches” work which can be directly applied to life. These lessons came directly from my business experiences. Here are some of them.
Economics is a very powerful force. Countries have gone to war over economic issues. I learned the power of economics, and to respect basic economic principles. If we violate the basic principles of economics in our life, we are destined to have perpetual turmoil. This turmoil will manifest itself in a variety of ways such as divorce, bankruptcy, and even suicide. All of these terrible life consequences can be avoided by learning and applying the basic laws of economics in our personal and business lives.
Over time, business will make one humble, it did me. I began my business career by thinking I was “invincible”, and could not fail. I thought that all success was related to my great expertise, talents and wisdom. Business taught me that I was not the center of all things, and that sometimes forces beyond my control will affect my destiny. It taught me that failure is not fatal, but is for learning. I learned the real virtue in life is to make significant contributions to the lives of others, and this can only be done by being humbly in the service of others.
I learned to be accountable for what I do and say. When we are accountable for our actions, we gain certain strength. This strength provides the power to effectively deal with the issues of life. Being accountable allows us to develop self respect, and the respect of others who interface with us. This respect, like a magnet, draws people to us, which provides additional opportunities for personal growth and development.
Often in business there is the temptation to sometimes be less than ‘completely’ honest to expedite a situation or our agenda. This may not mean being overtly dishonest, but just not completely honest in our dealing with others. I learned that ultimately, one has to live with themselves and their actions, and knowing that one has dealt with everyone in every situation honestly is a great comfort, and a true builder of character.
If one is to stay in business, one has to operate their business in a fiscally responsible manner. This is also true in our personal life. The true lesson is to live within “our means”. The “having” of things just for the sake of having them, or because others have them, is foolish. It is much more valuable to have sound financial security than to “have things”. Someone else will always have more, bigger, or better “things”. Having the “inner peace of mind” that sound financial responsibility brings is invaluable.
It is obvious that all of these “lessons” in business are interrelated. Not one of them is mutually exclusive, but they all are applicable to our personal life. Taken together, if learned well, and practiced, they will lead to the ultimate goal in our life, which I believe is Happiness and Fulfillment.