Last weekend, me and my brother went through all of the stuff my grandfather, Louie, left behind. It was amazing. He was amazing.
We went through 70 years of clothes and belongings, not to mention documents, pictures, and letters. He wasn’t the type to always clean out his closet, and was sort of a pack rat. That gave us a lot of stuff to go through.
That also shared with me a lot of memories and history of the life of a millionaire, who bought and sold businesses, and earned his fortune from the ground, up.
What were the lessons that he shared with me that day?
The Heart of Selling
One thing I noticed, as I was going through all the pictures, was the various places and people he met, and all the smiles they shared.
The people he was with in the picture, were his partners, business associates, suppliers, and customers.
He also considered them his dear friends.
There would be a picture of him with these people at a table, in suits, then another picture of them again, in suits, at a friend’s wedding. Then another one of them golfing.
He was a salesman. And he was very good at it. Louie took chances, and found out what people wanted after world war 2, and found it for them.
His cabinet was full of samples of products. There were ties, shaving sets, shirts, bags, powder, ointment, from the United States, Japan, and China.
He also had a cabinet full of letters from his friends from all the different places.
What that told me, is that sales is relationship building. If you want to make a sale, you have to sell yourself first, and build a relationship with people.
Trust is the foundation for all business, for all relationships, for that matter. And if there’s something I knew about Louie, it was that he was a man of his word, and a very trustworthy gentleman.
Without knowing it, and just being his usual comedian self, he was already selling himself, and the relationship.
If people trust and like you, then the sales of actual products will follow.
Louie never gave up, as evidenced by the many follow up letters he sent and received from his associates and partners-to-be.
Also, he wasn’t afraid to take risks and take action. I can imagine, after world war 2, the hustle and vision he had to have to be able to talk to people, and seek out opportunities and chances.
He didn’t just gamble. In fact, I don’t think he ever did.
Louie kept on asking and chasing opportunities, until one day he found himself at the right time, at the right place, with the right people.
Then, BOOM! He was never poor after that moment.
He kept on going and never gave up, and because of his diligence, and actions, luck in the form of opportunities and chances came.
He brought in a lot of new and useful products to the Philippines back in the 50’s and 60’s. He had a lot of opportunities.
Which led me to the second part of the lesson on opportunity luck – that Louie focused on what he wanted, and on what was working for him.
Harness your sex drive.
This was a big surprise to me and my brother. That Louie, our stoic, gentle, creative, and humorous grandfather, had such a strong sex drive.
Then again, he did have six children, so go figure.
Hidden amongst the piles and piles of samples, half-empty powder tins and menthol ointment tubes, were classic Playboy and Hustler magazines.
Who would’ve thought? I certainly wouldn’t. It didn’t fit the image I had of Louie.
But it all made sense.
He had such energy, that kept him going until he was 92 years old. He accomplished a lot in his lifetime, built so many relationships, had six children, and so may creative ideas.
You’ve got to wonder where the energy came from?
A lot of people waste the sexual energy given to us, that is inside of us, by finding physical, and unproductive avenues for it.
The most successful people, find a way to harness it, and use that energy productively. It then enables a person an extra resource to do more, be more creative, and stay in the fight, so to speak.
Maybe this is why there’s a rumor that boxers don’t have sex before a fight, so that they have more energy to pummel the opponent into submission with.
This maybe the reason, when I was still in high school, and I’d accompany him on his trips, he’d always notice when I was looking at a girl.
Probably because he was looking at them too.
Louie had a lot of trinkets left over, and I felt that he would’ve given them off as gifts, if he had remembered them, and if not for the sickness and difficulties he encountered late in life.
I remember he always wanted the whole family together during the weekends, and would find a way to pay for the dinner.
He gave a lot of gifts to people, and would, at the very least, give cards and samples to friends and family as well.
Me and my brother were surprised to find a bag with sealed whiskey bottles in them. Not because Louie was a heavy drinker, but because he stocked up on alcohol to give away as gifts to friends.
That, or he was offered a really good, discounted deal. He always found cheap deals, and bought lots of extras of whatever it was that he was buying.
He was also generous with his time, and active with several groups, all close to his heart.
Not surprisingly, because he was so giving, he got paid back in massive ways, and opportunities, later on.
Like attracts like.
Engage in Hobbies.
While going through all of Louie’s belongings, one thing was clear – that he loved his hobbies and he engaged in them.
Louie loved his golf, and he had a lot of golf balls, golfing aids, tees, and accessories lying around. He had a lot of pictures with friends on the golf course, and we even found a certificate to attest to his having a hole in one!
What I learned from that, was that Louie worked hard, and gave it his all in the boardroom and in meeting people. He also played hard, and gave it his all when resting and enjoying himself.
That’s one thing I remember from Louie. His timeliness at the office, and his Saturday morning golf session with his friends. That schedule was nigh unbreakable.
He also had a lot of cameras, and was into photography. There were several manuals lying around, and he had a lot of pictures of family and friends, something that others of his generation might not have.
Allow yourself rest, and take a break. Engage in hobbies and activities that you find relaxing and renewing.
The other face of the coin of this lesson? In anything that you do, go all out.
Legacy – and the lessons continue
Louie’s still leaving lessons for people to find, even after he’s gone.
It would’ve been nice for us to have asked about all of these, but that’s an opportunity that’s rare, few and far between.
But it doesn’t have to be.
For now, I’m going back to the pictures, which I haven’t seen all of it yet, to catch more glimpses of how Louie lived his life, and how he continues to inspire me to live mine.
How would you leave a legacy? Please share in the comments below!