December 23, 2019
I am a big fan of lists: the top 5, the top 20, those kinds of things. I think it’s fantastic when someone takes time to think about a subject in depth and goes through the trouble of ranking what they felt was most important. I recently met with a long-time thoughtful client, with whom I’ve had many discussions about a variety of topics over the course of our relationship. His training was in engineering, where I began my studies as well, and perhaps is why we have always connected well. He asked me if I had seen the list of the 20 life lessons from 86-year-old investor Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisors. I thought Mr. Wein’s simple life lessons were so astute that I wanted to share my favorites with all of you this holiday week.
- Network intensely. Luck plays a big role in life, and there is no better way to increase your luck than by knowing as many people as possible.
- When you meet someone new, treat that person as a friend. Assume he or she is a winner and will become a positive force in your life. Most people wait for others to prove their value.
- Read all the time. Don’t just do it because you’re curious about something, read actively. Have a point of view before you start a book or article and see if what you think is confirmed or refuted by the author.
- Get enough sleep. Seven hours will do until you’re sixty, eight from sixty to seventy, nine thereafter, which might include eight hours at night and a one-hour afternoon nap.
- Travel extensively. Try to get everywhere before you wear out.
- On philanthropy my approach is to try to relieve pain rather than spread joy. Social service, hospitals and educational institutions can make the world a better place and help the disadvantaged make their way toward the American dream.
- Most people don’t become comfortable with who they are until they’re in their 40’s. Try to get to that point as soon as you can.
- Take the time to give those who work for you a pat on the back when they do good work. It motivates and inspires people and encourages them to perform at a higher level.
- When someone extends a kindness to you write them a handwritten note, not an e-mail. Handwritten notes make an impact and are not quickly forgotten.
- The hard way is always the right way. Never take shortcuts.
- When your children are grown or if you have no children, always find someone younger to mentor. It is very satisfying to help someone steer through life’s obstacles, and you’ll be surprised at how much you will learn in the process.
Thank you to all of you, our families, for your continued support and trust as we close out a successful decade. We sincerely hope that you enjoy this special time with your friends and family.