My Uncle Jim was a welder in the R.E.M.E. He served in Korea (it was yet another war, for younger readers) and became the first self-made millionaire in our family.
He did not become rich overnight, of course. After leaving the army he did a whole host of things. First he worked as a welder in the motor trade. Then he set up a training company for wannabe welders, became a door to door salesman, ran a corner shop and eventually ended up in the wholesale greetings card business. Where he made his fortune.
Jim was only a few years my senior and we talked a lot about life, business and sundry other topics. One day when he was engaged in a ball-pen and radio marketing operation (odd combination, but that was my Uncle Jim all over) he said something that, in retrospect, was quite profound. “Keep trying.” he said, “If you just never quit and are prepared to turn your hand to anything, one day it will come together for you.”
At the time, Jim was struggling. He had four children and was barely scraping by. But he was determined and always “knew” that he was destined to succeed. I didn’t pay much attention at the time – after all, he wasn’t showing any signs of the success he would become. But when he finally hit the jackpot I began to think maybe he was on to something.
What he told me may not be 100% certain – after all, some people seem to try and try and refuse to quit all their lives and still fail. But you can’t deny you have a better chance of success if you keep trying! And if you have the kind of self-belief my Uncle Jim showed, who knows?
And, even if you never quite make it, surely travelling hopefully is better than quitting in despair?