Outcome Obsession

Outcome Obsession


Recently, Success Magazine culled through 500 newly published books touting the keys to business success, and came up with its list of the top 25 titles. Their criteria? Those most likely to make you rich in dollars and status the fastest. Every day we hear: if we can reach this or that outcome, everything will be ours, with “everything” defined clearly as higher pay, a better title, and a higher-spending lifestyle. We set lofty achievement landmarks on high pinnacles, then we grit our teeth and make the attainment of these goals a driving reason for working each day. That misstep almost invariably leads to a career filled with compounding frustration.

There is no positive proof that a relentless focus on outcomes in any way brings fulfillment to you faster or that it reduces the amount of stress in your life.

Well, you might argue, all of us have seen others succeed who do have such a relentless focus on outcomes, and on the surface it can appear that it was the focus that drove the success. But is that really always the case? And what of examples of where success did not follow such a focus?

I remember in 1997 when Tiger Woods served notice on the golfing world as the record-setting 21-year-old winner of the Masters. At the time much of the talk was about how Tiger’s father Earl famously laid a golf club in his crib and how at age three (three!) Tiger was on the Mike Douglas Show hitting a ball with a perfect swing. Thousands of fathers (and some mothers) across the world began training their sons and daughters in the Earl Woods method of total golf absorption, which included aspects that could be most politely defined as unpleasant, such as Earl shouting derogatory things at Tiger while he was putting in order to teach him to concentrate and ignore all distractions.

Now here we are seventeen years later, and while there are some exceptional teenage golfing talents in the world, there are no obvious Tiger equivalents. And of those thousands of sons and daughters, how many of them had their upbringings damaged by their overzealous parents, or were pushed into living a sport for which perhaps they had little aptitude? How many were confused and kept away from discovering their true best talents and attributes? The fact is we really do not know for sure if Tiger Woods would have become the greatest golfer of his era regardless of his father’s role. Maybe he would have discovered the game on his own; maybe a coach or teacher would have introduced him to it or maybe a friend.

Outcome obsession is in many ways the safe route; no one can say you are not trying to succeed if you strive toward specific goals that represent having “arrived” to the rest of the world. But any belief that achieving success and fulfillment requires a specific focus on outcomes that represent success or a fulfilled life cannot be true.

So if we do not focus on outcomes, then what? I invite you to proceed toward career fulfillment beginning with the joy found within each day’s efforts. Business, in the end, is all about building: yourself, your company, and the useful entities that result from both.

Part two of “Outcome Obsession” coming soon.

The Road Part II: Be Your Own Artisan

The Road Part II: Be Your Own Artisan

Be Your Own ArtisanTo achieve the greatest results from the cultivation of your positive attributes, commit your best ability. Think of yourself as a worker “employed” by yourself to benefit your career, and then imagine that worker as a craftsman or an artisan, old-fashioned terms that predate our rapid-production, cloud computing age. Craftsmen and artisans are special people who blend art with the practical, and through excellence and care create wonderful things that enrich our lives. Think of potters, carpenters, masons, smiths, all cultivating their abilities through the everyday items they make.

The artisan model for attribute cultivation came to me while watching the renovation of an old house I had purchased years ago. The house was over 90 years old, and the renovation called for extensive expertise, including the services of many specialized craftsmen to restore its former glory. Two that fascinated me were the plasterers and the masons. The plasterers handled their trowels like surgeons with their scalpels, using their hand and eye to create classic wave patterns on the walls. When they did the ceilings it was the same, except that they performed their magic while walking on two-foot stilts, bending their heads back to look upward. The masons were equally mesmerizing. Among their tasks was the restructuring of several archways and the laying of a patio of old bluestone. They used precise calculations to a point, but when the actual bricks were placed in the arch and the stones lain in the patio, it was their hands and eyes that finished the job. There was no repair or short-term fix on these artisans’ minds. Their work was done to last a lifetime, and they created real beauty. Part of my fascination was that none of these fellows was likely ever to see their work on my house again. Nonetheless each one of them manifested an artist-like mindset, dynamically striving for a personal masterpiece.

Envision them doing their careful and deliberate work as you contemplate how to best cultivate your positive attributes. Become the craftsman or artisan of your own career.

Or think of yourself as Michael Jordan. Not Jordan playing in front of thousands in the stands and millions watching on television, but Jordan shooting shot after shot, alone in a gym except for a teenager retrieving each shot and passing the ball quickly back to him. Or Derek Jeter, who had his own cultivation challenge.

When Jeter was signed by the Yankees, much of his attraction was the leadership qualities he exuded. As Yankee scout Dick Groch advised, “Sign him. You can build a team around him.” However, Jeter was signed to play shortstop, the most demanding and important defensive position. During his first season in the minor leagues he made an astounding 56 errors. Like Jordan he had to draw upon his innate abilities and cultivate them into a valuable skill, and after two years of hard work fielding ball after ball, practicing proper footwork and throwing, he was ready to take the field as shortstop for the Yankees.

The Jeter example brings up another aspect of cultivation. In certain instances the act of cultivation itself may advance your career prospects before you even begin to share your cultivated skills. That Jeter was willing to work so hard on mastering the intricacies of fielding a difficult position caught the attention of Yankee management. It enhanced their view of him as a leader and solidified their decision to invest in him as the future Yankee shortstop.

So choose your artisan or craftsman model: the athlete cultivating a skill to be displayed in front of the full public glare, or the mason perfecting an archway that he will never see again, and where those who do will not know the name of the person who built it. Or draw from your own internal reserves of motivation. Find whatever approach works for you. The cultivation of your best attributes establishes you to be a full participant for the rest of your career, with much to share.

The Road

The Road


Michael Jordan in the late 1980s seemingly had every basketball skill imaginable. The NBA’s leading scorer, the game’s most exciting player, able to drive with lightning-like speed to the basket and soar above the rim for easy scores, he controlled entire games against the world’s best players. He received immense recognition in the form of his massive salary and in the number of Air Jordan sneakers bought by his fans, who made them the highest-selling athletic shoe of all time. However, in his view Jordan still lacked one crucial skill that he believed he needed to develop in order to reach his full basketball potential. As his coach Phil Jackson stated, “Michael was primarily a penetrator. His outside shooting wasn’t up to professional standards.”

In response, Jordan identified and assessed his own raw material. He had the ball handling touch, the rapid reflexes, the body-eye coordination, and the requisite elevation (Jordan could lift his 216-pound frame 42 inches off the ground in a standing jump.) These attributes were the clay which he would sculpt. He hired a coach for education on technique and began an intense practice schedule, shooting up to 2,000 outside jump shots a day in addition to his normal rigorous workout. Within two years he became one of the better shooters in the league, and by the time he retired he had become the one person, if you needed someone to make an outside shot to save your life, that you would choose.

So, if you drill down and identify and cultivate your personal strengths with Jordan-like diligence, will you become famed as one of the all-time greats in your field? Will coworkers refer to you as “God disguised as (insert your name here)”? Will a new style of business footwear bear your name and shower you with millions in royalties? As much as we can all relate to that fantasy, probably not. However, positive and wonderful things do develop for any individual who begins the strength-cultivation process. For a start, you will find yourself improving almost immediately. In addition the very action of committing to cultivation of one or more of your positive attributes is in itself a re-affirming endeavor. And that re-affirmation will carry over when you begin to widely share your cultivated attributes.

Cultivation is where raw material meets energy. Be prepared to work hard. As Jordan himself said, “I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The willingness to work trumps any belief that your attributes are not exceptional. Strong effort will raise their status and by itself will make them meaningful. Derek Jeter, a favorite reference of mine, explained succinctly why you should not worry if your attributes are not Jordanesqe, “It takes no talent to play hard.”

Cultivating your best traits with your full effort becomes a form of salvation that emanates from striving at your utmost best. The ancient Greeks called it arête – that unimaginable happiness that comes from pouring your whole soul, sweat, and courage into achieving, or striving to achieve, a worthy goal. The joy lies in the process, or as better put by Cervantes, “The road is better than the inn.” Cultivation and the effort it entails may appear challenging at first, but the longer you dedicate yourself the easier it becomes and the greater the indirect benefits.

Different Strokes

Different Strokes

Unknown-3I believed it remained a great opportunity and I wanted to continue pursuing it.

It was early 1988, and eight months before I had been sent to London by Goldman Sachs to build an international asset-backed securities business. My co-captain in this endeavor was Tom, a top young sales specialist. Tom, however, no longer saw this as a substantial opportunity the way I did, and was having second thoughts about whether he wanted to stick with it.

When the previous year we had each agreed to leave our positions in the US and move to London, the prospects appeared unlimited. A whole continent of European investors who had little experience with US securitizations, and no indigenous securitized markets of their own, would be ours for the taking! It did not take much arm twisting for us to each agree to go.

As we got down to work, we found some truly exceptional people in Goldman’s London office and many impressive investors, from among whom we forged several strong relationships. Yet it soon became all too evident that we were facing a hard road ahead, not made any easier by the 1987 stock market crash that occurred during our fourth month there. New investors were not beating down our doors to invest in our securities, deals were not being closed, and revenue numbers were disappointing. In February the partners in the New York head office reviewed our progress and asked for our assessment. Tom had identified his strengths as being well-organized, a deal closer who succeeded best within an established framework. He had worked on his skills and established himself in the US with significant management potential there. In London, he foresaw a long, uphill struggle within an evolving and uncertain environment that was not going to play to his strengths. He asked to be returned to New York to resume the career path he had left there.

For my part, I saw the same uphill haul, but I welcomed the challenge. I maintained that although we had not yet realized much success, the same great opportunity lay before us as had existed eight months before. I felt we had a chance to break through soon. Unlike Tom I thought my strength was operating in an uncertain environment with a degree of independence from New York; thus the London opportunity suited me well. I expressed my strong desire to stay and continue. The partners granted both of our requests, and within a few weeks Tom was back in New York.

Both choices proved correct. Tom moved back to the states and stepped into a sales management role which proved a good move for both himself and the firm. I remained in London, and within a year the London business was thriving. I was able to help create several innovative transactions that brought Goldman a leadership position in the market. Furthermore, I was also able to support an effort in Asia, closing innovative transactions there as well. In the end both Tom and I had been true to ourselves and properly identified the positive attributes that we believed we could cultivate. The result was that we both prospered and found fulfillment on differing paths, each uniquely his own.

The lesson is straightforward: focus on your strengths and how to use them as your foundation. Neither Tom nor I dwelt at all on our weaknesses. We each saw the traits we could cultivate into something greater, and we were honest with ourselves and our colleagues. I learned a second lesson here: your positive attributes are unique to you. Do not concern yourself with the attributes of others. Tom did not analyze himself in the context of what I thought about myself, and I did not evaluate my situation in terms of his context. Consequently, neither of us was unnecessarily distracted. We both came to correct, but opposite, conclusions.

The Answer Starts Within

The Answer Starts Within


There are constant calls from many self-help career advisors for a more assertive and aggressive attitude at work in the advancement of one’s career. The idea is that, especially for women and for those who are members of minority ethnic or racial groups such behavior is essential to getting ahead. But is this really a smart path to follow? Accepting such a belief couples the myth of confrontational necessity with the myth of an ambition gap. Those who support this argument continually point to statistics such as the low percentages of women and members of various minority groups in high leadership positions. However, the seeds for that imbalance were planted forty or fifty years ago; today an observer of current young people entering the business world can see that there is little such directed imbalance, and that in the US and other democracies of the West, opportunities based on merit are truly the norm. Competition in business today, heightened by the interdependency of our global economy, make active discrimination a very expensive proposition. Nowadays those who perform are rewarded, and those who do not are neither promoted nor well-paid.

If anything the human crisis in business today when it comes to personnel is what role the below-average employee will play. Years ago under-performing but well-meaning people could often remain gainfully employed, as companies felt some duty to provide a livelihood, especially as less competitive environments permitted them to control price levels and protect profit margins. Lack of technology then also allowed for a multitude of menial, easily-supervised tasks which could be performed by the less capable but which are now done by machines or software. Today, the idea that businesses can afford to allow attitudes toward work from decades ago to hold sway is not realistic; a business that did so with any consistency would risk becoming uncompetitive and be likely to falter.

The unfortunate part of the females/minorities statistical imbalance message is that it plays to people’s stereotypes and prejudices and thereby gains popularity. It breeds a lonely separatism. Coworkers can be transformed into suspicious factions, rather than potential allies. It ignores the real and most hopeful truth of business: that more people have an incentive to help your career than to harm it.

Of course it is possible that you may be the victim of a specific bias on a micro level. Such things do happen, and unfortunately more often than they should. Your age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, social background, looks or personal style might be held against you by another individual or a group of people within a larger business. In that event looking within yourself to identify, cultivate and share your best remains your essential task. Thinking about anything else only serves as an unnecessary distraction, and it is crucial to always remember that unnecessary distractions only slow you down. Instead of overtly or silently taking on the fear and burden of bias, manage the process. See and understand where your strengths and value-laden abilities may best be shared. If you do so relentlessly you will be noticed; many others besides those fostering the bias will observe and report on your capability.

The practice of identify/cultivate/share will lead to increased chances for success and fulfillment in your career. Promotions, raises, and new job offers come when others, and you may not even know in advance who those others will be, see and recognize the positive things you do and the best attributes you manifest. In addition, as a philosophy and belief it is re-affirming; the more you make it your primary career faith, the faster you will reap the benefits through your own productivity and sense of accomplishment.

The Perils of Confrontation

The Perils of Confrontation

push-backWe have all observed others who seem to be advancing their careers by methods of active confrontation or who continue to demand more with apparent results.  However, do not always believe what you hear or think you see. Often what is happening behind the scenes is far different. Remind yourself that it sounds much better and ego-supporting for someone to tell you that they received something by putting their foot down or showing that they would not be pushed around. To say they simply laid out accurate and well-supported reasons, and then politely asked for something they thought was fair, does not make for an exciting story.

One illustration of a misplaced understanding of confrontation is a conversation I had as I began writing my new book Within Your Grasp.  I was outlining for a high-ranking female publishing executive my belief that women in particular fall prey to the belief that confrontation is a necessary part of career advancement, and that I believe it unfortunate that women are so often counseled (and encouraged in the media and by career-advice books) to be more aggressive in this regard. She turned on me sharply. “You have no idea,” she said. “Why, when I was offered this job I thought the salary they proposed was low by $10,000. I went back to them and said I thought it should be higher by that amount. So they came up $7500. Only when I went back and this time got tough and really showed that I was not happy did they raise it, and only then to $8500. I had to get very firm with them for that extra $1000.”

As she was telling the story I was thinking that in all of the compensation or transaction negotiations in my career, I rarely received 75% of an increase I asked for. If I got 60% I felt it was a victory, and several times I split the difference at 50% and came away feeling good about it (and sometimes I accepted much less than 50%.) She had received 75% right off the bat, a sign of respect in my view from her new employer. Now she did go back and make a further demand, and was rewarded with an extra $1000. But as I left her I wondered at what cost? Did it hurt their opinion of her as a team player? If someone who seems better qualified comes along, will her superiors feel less loyalty toward her?

Reasoning and appealing to fairness are the best approach, and they do not compromise your efforts to cultivate your finest abilities and share them generously with those around you. To me the executive above had achieved an impressive 75% increase, probably by just being herself, but then created unnecessary future risk by believing she had to use the tactics or demeanor of someone she was not.

The limits of a confrontational stance are many. It retains its power only for the short-term. While it may establish you as an individual to be reckoned with, that itself becomes a problem. It shifts the logic of your case to you alone. Further, once you have laid out your string of demands, you may be stuck. You risk backing yourself into a no-retreat position, and you could end up defending things extraneous to your goals. Thinking realistically and then thoughtfully asking is a far better route for most of us to take.

Follow Her Lead

Follow Her Lead

Within Your GraspIn a hurry during a recent trip, I stopped at a Wendy’s for a quick meal. As I left the counter with my tray I looked for the condiments station where I could get some ketchup. Finding it, I walked over and waited for the person in front of me to finish. From behind she appeared to be a young girl, perhaps eleven or twelve, and she seemed to be taking a long time presumably filling up a small paper cup with ketchup.

I was in a hurry, and after all it was supposed to be fast food. I remained patient for another thirty seconds or so, and then she turned around to depart. I immediately saw the cause of the delay. Both of her hands were severely deformed, with several fingers missing and those that remained each shorter than an inch long. Neither hand was able to grip the cups of ketchup, but as she walked away she somehow balanced three cups on the tops of her wrists. How she filled them with ketchup I cannot explain: I saw the pump going up and down and her arms moving, but I could not see past her body to fully observe her technique.

I watched her walk to a table where her mother, father, and little brother waited. Her timing was perfect. They had all just opened up their sandwiches and fries and were ready to add ketchup. She placed the three cups in the middle of the table, sat down, and began to unwrap her own sandwich.

As I walked to my table and sat down to eat, the realization struck me. This young woman had discerned a need, identified the ability to meet it, and worked at perfecting a technique to do so. She then shared that ability with her family. In doing so she made a real contribution to the family meal. Like anyone who is significantly handicapped in some way, she had no choice but to focus on her strengths and abilities and to deal with life only from there. Her situation directed her to identify what she had, what she could do, and what positive attributes she could develop and then share. She did not have the luxury to compare herself to others. It was a waste of time for her to wonder if someone else in the family could get the ketchup faster, or with less effort, and an equal waste to examine how difficult for her was the task just completed. I looked across the room to her table and saw a content family of four, conversing back and forth between bites of their food.

Those of us who are not handicapped or severely limited in some way often concern ourselves too much with how we compare to others, how others seem to do specific things better than us, and how we may not measure up in various ways. Far better if we instead thought about the innate abilities and positive attributes we have, and worked to cultivate those into strengths and virtues as best we can.

The young woman at Wendy’s had done this without a true choice in the matter, and had cultivated a remarkable skill. We who have choice would be wise to follow her lead.

The Bus Terminal

The Bus Terminal

images-11Recently, my friend Bart arrived at the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal in the center of Manhattan as one of the city’s nearly one-quarter million daily visitors. Gliding down the escalator onto the main concourse, he noticed a uniformed man upending trash cans into a large wheeled bin with an efficiency borne of long practice. Sweeping his eyes around this bustling section of the main floor, he saw that it was virtually litter-free. Thousands of hurrying feet and no trash. A sudden curiosity struck him.

He approached the uniformed man. “Josh,” said his shirt. Bart congratulated him on keeping this massive hall so comparatively clean. Then he asked him how many of these cans he took responsibility for each day.

“There used to be four of us,” came Josh’s reply. “Now I take care of all 421 cans around the station myself.”

Stunned by the sheer enormity of the task, Bart calculated quickly in his head. “That’s impossible,” he said.

“Yes, it would be,” noted Josh, continuing to work as they talked. “But I developed a system. I keep my eyes open and figure which cans fill up the fastest, which are average, and which ones can be let go for a day or two. I do my best. But I do manage to get to each one before it fills to overflowing.”

Bart thanked him for his time, and with a soft, not overly tuneful whistle, Josh wheeled his huge gray bin down toward his next destination.

After I heard this story I found myself thinking of this gentleman who was so excellently managing his process. Not for a moment did Josh wallow in the distractions concerning the egregious amount of his work; the unrealistic expectations of a possibly uncaring management; and all the possible frustrations any judgmental thinking on his part might generate. He viewed the process that was going on around him and moved forward within it. He analyzed the situation and created a workable response, and brought his best to bear on his daily work at the bus terminal. He saw the process, envisioned a better one of his own, and proceeded accordingly. In his words, “I do my best.”

A Different Person…

A Different Person…

Within Your Grasp

Assertiveness seems to be the buzzword hanging on everyone’s lips as the solution for career advancement. The notion that unless you aggressively assert your claim to promotions, raises, perks, bonuses and the like within any business or organization, you will not receive your due, or worse, you will see someone else take it from you, has become ingrained as the go-to advice for anyone seeking to build a successful career.

Unfortunately for many who have followed this advice, being assertive is not always the right approach. Indeed, in my experience it is too often the wrong course. A better path for most people is to think realistically about what would be fair, and then thoughtfully ask for it.

Recently I worked as an advisor to a rising company that sought to hire a controller/director of operations. The position came with the promise that if the person hired took the company successfully through one annual audit cycle, a promotion to Chief Financial Officer was on the table. A young woman in her late twenties, a CPA from a good school, five years solid experience in a similar position at a larger firm, applied and lobbied enthusiastically for the job. She believed she would be ready to become a CFO soon, but at her current firm there were other competent people senior to her in the finance department and thus in the next few years promotion was highly unlikely. She made it clear that she was willing to move for the same salary and expected bonus that her current employer offered, as long as she had the assurance of the CFO position if she proved herself in the first year.

Along with a partner at the company’s auditors, I was asked to interview her. I met her and was as impressed as I have ever been by a young candidate. Her accounting skills were first-rate and her job experience exceptional, but most importantly she exhibited a wonderful combination of poise, confidence and modesty. Furthermore she understood and valued the career significance of becoming a CFO by age thirty and of growing with a smaller company that had a promising future. She wanted the responsibility and the prospect excited her. The partner from the audit firm met her early the following week and rated her as positively as I did. When I reflected my opinion to the company’s CEO, he informed me that her references were superb, highlighting her thoroughness and execution skills.

The company negotiated an offer with her: salary and bonus same as her current firm, promise of the CFO position after one successful annual audit, and assurance of a profit participation as CFO. No one would be hired above her and she would report directly to the CEO.

She indicated her happiness with the terms and asked if the CEO could send her a formal offer letter. The company e-mailed it to her the next morning.

She responded that afternoon, saying it all looked good but that she wanted to run it by a family friend. The next day she made a request for a guaranteed bonus that was three times the one agreed. Her stated reason was that she would have additional commuting costs with the new job. The CEO replied by saying he understood, and that the company would pay those commuting costs. However, this cost was a small fraction of the additional amount she requested. They would be unable to pay anything above that. Her response was that she believed she was worth the additional amount and she would not accept anything less.

The CEO reminded her that the company had come up to meet her original request to match her current compensation and benefits, and that in exchange she had been granted the opportunity she sought. They conversed several times more over the following week, but she was unmoved. The CEO later told me it was like speaking to a different person. Gone was the poise and modesty, the calm-but-self-assured professionalism, all the classic traits of good CFOs. An aggressiveness and firmness took its place that came across as insincere and at times rehearsed.

I asked the CEO if he was going to negotiate further. He said no. The problem now was not about money or terms. The problem was he no longer wanted to hire her. “I am uncomfortable with the idea of handing over our operations and accounting to her.”

I later heard that she regretted missing out on the opportunity. This is not an uncommon tale: someone with career-making opportunities placed before them is advised to be more assertive in their demands. They are told that unless they do so they will be taken advantage of. I have little doubt that this is what happened here. A promising young professional had a dream opportunity in front of her. Someone advised her she was being misled by the company CEO and his offer. Someone did mislead her, of course. But not the CEO.


Wisdom in the Attic

Wisdom in the Attic

Unknown-2I recently cleared out some old boxes in my attic and came across a stack of yellowed papers written some forty years ago by my father-in-law. The typewritten pages consisted of a series of observations, perhaps in preparation for a book, drawn from his life in Britain prior to World War II, his time in India and Burma during the war, and his post-war career as an advertising executive. I never met him; he passed away from cancer not long after pulling these thoughts together.

An important aspect of his life was his war experience. As a captain in Britain’s Indian forces, he was assigned to the defense of Burma against Japanese attack. The fighting in Burma was gruesome, and not just because of the tenacity and tactics of the Japanese aggressors. Poor weather, disease, and the lack of transport infrastructure were constants. These severely hampered replenishing supply lines and made any maneuvering difficult for the British troops. In their retreat they took heavy losses and many soldiers were separated from their units and forced to fend for themselves. My father-in-law was one such soldier. He survived for five months on his own, eventually found, riddled with malaria dysentery, by a Burmese family who nursed him back to health and helped him find his way to India.

Returning home after the war he embarked on a successful career, married, and raised a happy family. He rarely spoke of the war years. Doctors believed his too-early death may have been caused in some part by his exposure to the Burmese jungles during those years.

Given his rare human experience of having to survive totally on his own, no comforts, no food other than what he could find, gather or hunt, and no idea of how long he would be lost, among all of his observations I was most interested in his summary guideline to achieve success.

It was direct and simple: “Be yourself. Work on yourself. You are the best raw material you have got.”

So much career advice today urges us to change what we are, to develop a new “us”, to cure all of our weaknesses, or to be more demanding in order to receive our share of life’s rewards. In other words, to be more like what we have been taught to believe successful people are like, or more like those we are persuaded to imagine have more fulfilled lives than we do. Yet here is a man who had no option but to rely completely on himself, on his innate talents, attributes and virtues, in order to survive. He speaks to us from forty years ago. His message: identify and cultivate yourself; find your inner raw material and work it to your very best ability.