If I had to single out one piece of advice that’s guided me through life, most likely it would be from my grandmother, Nellie Molonson. She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail. Here’s how she put it:
“Sonny, I don’t care who you are. Some day you’re going to have to sit on your own bottom.”via T. Boone Pickens
Although, I don’t see this as advice as much as just a simple fact of life. Individuals who, eventually, sit on their “own bottom” learn to take ownership of their lives, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
There’s a part of me that never wants to grow up; it just seems like too much responsibility and I already feel like I have too much of it. But, it’s either I do it now or do it later — I can wait to try to delay the inevitable or I can decide, in the here and now, that I’m going to give it a serious go.
Oh, and if you want some advice on how to build wealth, well, he’s got that for you too:
- A good work ethic is critical.
- Don’t think competition is bad, but play by the rules. I loved to compete and win. I never wanted the other guy to do badly; I just wanted to do a little better than he did.
- Learn to analyze well. Assess the risks and the prospective rewards, and keep it simple.
- Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader: Avoid the “Ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You have to be willing to fire.
- Learn from mistakes. That’s not just a cliché. I sure made my share. Remember the doors that smashed your fingers the first time and be more careful the next trip through.
- Be humble. I always believed the higher a monkey climbs in the tree, the more people below can see his ass. You don’t have to be that monkey.
- Don’t look to government to solve problems — the strength of this country is in its people.
- Stay fit. You don’t want to get old and feel bad. You’ll also get a lot more accomplished and feel better about yourself if you stay fit. I didn’t make it to 91 by neglecting my health.
- Embrace change. Although older people are generally threatened by change, young people loved me because I embraced change rather than running from it. Change creates opportunity.
- Have faith, both in spiritual matters and in humanity, and in yourself. That faith will see you through the dark times we all navigate.
Rest in peace Mr. Pickens.