Have You Called Your Folks to Thank Them?

Posted on July 24, 2010

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I’ve started reading The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley, the author of The Millionaire Next Door (which I recommend if you want to know how millionaires really think and live).  In one of the early anecdotes, Stanley describes one of the first questions that Paul “Bear” Bryant (football coach at the University of Alabama) asked of his brand new freshman football players after they arrived on campus:

Have you called your folks yet to thank them?

The point of Bryant’s question was that “No one ever got to [the elite level of playing college football] without the help of others.  Call your folks.  Thank them.”  And, as Stanley says, “Extraordinary natural . . . talent does not fully account for success . . . Without [the] nurturing, protecting, and sacrific[e] [the players] would not have had the opportunity to play.”

As with young and successful football players, so with all of us.  Succeeding in this world often requires talent but also requires support from someone else:

  1. Parents, who paid bills, fed and sheltered us while we went to school
  2. Teachers, who taught us new things – or who helped us gain confidence in ourselves
  3. Friends, who supported our efforts and encouraged us to take risks
  4. Mentors, who shared inside secrets of success
  5. Customers and clients, who paid us and helped us make a living
  6. You get the idea.

Knowing that we have relied on others for our past success, we can cultivate that support to ensure future success.  We can:

  • Call our parents, friends, mentors, teachers and other benefactors to thank them
  • Remember – we are not alone.  So we can reach out to our supporters the next time we face what seems to be an insurmountable challenge – and ask for help
  • Share the wealth – help someone else along the way

So – go call your folks, your teachers, your friends, whoever has helped you get to where you are.  [Or send them a note]  Thank them.  Then look for opportunities to help others out.  And share – do you have a particular memory of getting help from someone that made a difference to you?  I am always amazed at how far people have gone to help me out, whether in my career, in my personal life, in my spiritual development or elsewhere.  I owe a lot of my success to those helpers, starting with my parents, which makes me want to help others out when I can.  How about you?

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