Celebrate your success and find humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing silly song.”
I can certainly relate to the above quote. When I find myself wallowing in self pity I tend to take myself too seriously. I may get stressed over an upcoming project or feel inadequate to get the job done to fruition. Most folks have a little of that within them, but if we learn to have fun in what we do, we can overcome those feelings. The little saying that went under my high school graduation read, “Keen sense, common sense and always room for nonsense.” I guess my classmates had my nature nailed. I tend to be somewhat analytical, but have a very silly side too. Apparently Sam Walton did too.
I am a frequent shopper at Walmart. I shop there because I feel I can get the most bang for my buck, but often wind up spending more than I intended, in spite of it. Most of the world’s inhabitants have heard of Walmart or Sam’s Club, but few know about the man who started the worldwide box store.
Sam Walton was born on this day in 1918 in Kingfisher, OK. His father was a banker – which I imagine came in handy later in Sam’s life. He was the quarterback of his high school football team and was an Eagle Scout. He was name the “most versatile boy” in the high school yearbook. I wonder what he was versatile with. Maybe it was enough to stir some entrepreneurial skills for his future. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in economics in 1940.
Growing up in the depression Sam’s father often had to foreclose on family farms. Their own farm business quickly gave way to searching for more steady employment. During those depression years, Sam worked at various jobs – selling newspapers and magazine subscriptions. He also milked the family cow and would sell the surplus to their neighbors. He learned many valuable lessons during that time, which he would use later in business.
After graduating from college he worked in retail for J.C. Penney in Iowa. There he gleaned facts about retail work and a good work ethic evolved. He joined the military in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps and finished with the rank of Captain. Upon his return to civilian life, he bought a franchised Ben Franklin store. There he learned about keeping shelves stocked, merchandise availability and marketing skills.
He married Helen Robson in 1943 and they had 4 children. They were active members of the First Presbyterian Church and major contributors to the work of the church.
The first Walmart store opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Walton was proud of the fact that he used only goods manufactured in the United States. He also built most of his stores in rural communities so that the farmers could do all their necessary shopping at one store. Upon his death, caused by multiple Myeloma in 1992, he had established 1960
Walmart stores. He was named one of the most wealthy Americans by Forbes magazine from 1982-1988.
I wonder if he ever took his own advice to put on a costume and sing a silly song. In any event, he was one of those fellows who achieved success yet kept everything in perspective.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAM WALTON.