In 1923, nine of the wealthiest people in the world met at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel. Their combined wealth, it is estimated, exceeded the wealth of the Government of the United States at that time. These men certainly knew how to make a living and accumulate wealth.
Attending the meeting were the following men:
1. The President of the largest steel company,
2. The President of the largest utility company,
3. The President of the largest gas company,
4. The President of the New York Stock Exchange,
5. The President of the Bank of International Settlements,
6. The greatest wheat speculator,
7. The greatest bear on Wall Street,
8. A member of President Harding's cabinet.
9. The head of the World's greatest monopoly
That's a pretty impressive line-up of people by anyone's yardstick.Yet, let’s examine what happened to them 25 years later:
1. The President of the then largest steel company (Bethlehem Steel Corp), Charles M Schwab, lived on borrowed capital for five years before he died bankrupt.
2. The President of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless.
3. The President of the then largest gas company, Howard Hubson, went insane.
4. The then President of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was sent to jail.
5. The President of the Bank of International Settlement, Leon Fraser, committed
6. One of the greatest commodity traders (Wheat Speculator) , Arthur Cutten, died insolvent.
7. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore committed suicide.
8. The member of the US President’s Cabinet (the member of President Harding's cabinet), Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail just to be able to go home and die in peace.
9. The President of the then world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger, committed
What they forgot was how to "make" life while they got busy making money! Money in itself is not evil. It is only a medium of exchange. We need two kinds of education.One that teaches us how to make a living and the second how to live.
Many of us get so engrossed in professional life that we neglect our family, health, social responsibilities.And when asked why we do it, we would reply "For our family".
However, our kids are sleeping when we leave home. They are sleeping when we come home, 25years later, we’ll turn back and they’ll be gone to pursue their own dreams and lives.
Lessons from a Ship
Without water, a ship cannot move. It needs water but if the water gets into the ship, it will face existential problems. What was a “means of living”becomes a “means of destruction”.
Similarly we live in time where earning is a necessity but let not the earning enter our hearts, for what was once a means of living will surely become a means of destruction for us as well!
So take a moment to ask yourself “Has the water entered my ship?”