A Reflection on Mark My Words: Letters of a Businessman to his Son by G Kingsley Ward

A Reflection on Mark My Words: Letters of a Businessman to his Son by G Kingsley Ward

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A Reflection on Mark My Words: Letters of a Businessman to his Son by G Kingsley Ward
Common sense is a disappearing art form not only from business but also from society. It used to be that students seeking a higher education would go to school to build around their common sense. Today students go to school in the hopes of attaining common sense. I'm afraid our society has become so emotionally driven that decisions are made on emotion rather than common sense. Certainly emotions are not bad and at times emotional decisions are warranted; but never are they warranted in complete detachment form common sense. Mark My Words: Letters of a Businessman to his Son is an ultimate glorification of common sense, hard work, and priceless business principles that work and guarantee every person a chance to succeed in the high stakes game of business.

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The principle that struck me the most from the book came from the book was that of perseverance. In the third letter, "On Success", Mr. Ward writes, "If you think all my endeavors have always been successful, then you are unaware of details concerning a large part of my life. Successful people appear to be traveling along one continually, successful road. What is not apparent is the perseverance it takes following each defeat to keep you on that road. No one I know has ever experienced one success after another without defeats, failures, disappointments, and frustrations galore along the way." Success is something all human beings want yet only a few can attain. In some cases around the world the style of government may stifle success; however no such case exists today in America. The cup of success is one that all can taste from, one that never runs dry. Yet a large portion of the population in an affluent, opportunity laden country such as America will never taste success. Not because there lacks opportunity but because within each person there is a lack of perseverance.
My taste of America's opportunity has been a memorable one. Our first home in America was not a home at all. My father was not able to afford to pay rent anywhere so he moved our family into a one room bus. The bus was old and rusty, smelly, and rodent infested but it was much better than the home we had in Nicaragua. At that time I was too young to understand what kind of perseverance it would take from my father and mother to pull our family through the hard times. Someone today may look at our family and notice that my father now owns his own home, is a pastor and has a budding and growing business. He (my father) has come a long way from the old, rusty, rodent infested bus we first lived in. Unfortunately in our society people only see the present and rarely do they ever inquire, much less wonder where a person came from. Although Ward is making this point in light of a son being able to live up to his father, I believe the greater point that can be made here is that success is not determined by the good things that happen to us in life. Instead success is determined by how we respond to the disappointments, failures, and defeats that we WILL have to face.
Perseverance, to me, is not just working hard. I believe wisdom is a huge part of persevering. The idea behind that is that when problems, failures, and disappointments come our way certain things must change in order for our persevering spirit to prevail. One must use wisdom in dealing with people, dealing with money and in making business decisions. Problems, failures, and disappointments bring about humility and I believe humility helps us prevail. Throughout my short life, some of the best decisions I have made have come after being humbled by something or someone. Ward speaks about money in his 15th letter to his son telling his son to be humble about the usage of money, never using it to show off. I count it a privilege that I come from a poor family who has literally had to scrape the bottom of the barrel. I still remember going with my dad to deliver dirt or gravel to construction sites or getting up at four in the morning to go pick and sort cherries, pick apples, cut asparagus, or pick the ryegrass. Now as an adult getting ready to be married I hope to be able to use the humility I received from arriving to school smelling like the asparagus fields, dirty and tired, into good money decisions. When it comes to money I hope to never forget where I once was because I know that I never want to go there again.
Much of what I learned from this book was either known by me or imparted to me by someone. However I know that failures await me on the other side of college, cars must be pushed uphill, and many hurtles must be jumped and no doubt there will be times when common sense will not be used. That is why it is a pleasure to see that someone took the time not only to write to his son but to impart common sense on all who read these letters.
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