I first worked in the property business selling villa plots on the island of Menorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands. I was eighteen years old then and full of teenage enthusiasm. It didn’t work out. The company went bust and I lost my job. I was devastated. I had worked so hard.
Not long after I met the owner of a big real estate agency in England and he said “Come and join us.” He gave me a one-way airline ticket from Menorca to London to start my new employment. They collapsed within a year and I lost my job again.
When I was twenty years old I got another job with a firm of Chartered Surveyors in London and they wanted to start a business in Madrid in Spain. It was a very cold winter that year in England and I spoke Spanish so I grabbed it. The year was 1974 and General Franco was still the Dictator in those days.
The Australian Embassy in Madrid needed a new residence and they engaged me to find one for them. I became great friends with the Ambassador and his wife (and very pretty daughter). The company went bust too in Spain; so I joined the British Army, did my bit and left for the lucky country in 1981.
In the mid 80’s I was Sales Manager at Andrew Gibbons Real Estate in Sydney’s Double Bay. Our crowning glory in those days was the sale of the famous Point Piper waterfront home Paradis Sur Mer (also known as Toison d’Or) for $19.2m. That was in 1987. Years later I worked in Dubai as Sales Director of a well-known property development company. What happened? They went bust after the bubble burst there in 2008.
I have failed many times in my life but I am not a failure. We all fail at one time or another along our path in life. We all make mistakes and that is part of being human. My own failures are where I went wrong in life . . . like stepping stones along the way. You can fail on your own, or you can fail with the help of others when you go through life.
If you are blessed by having a family; a wife and children that you love and they love you, hold onto them forever. You can go bankrupt; you can nearly starve to death and live on cold and windy streets under lamp-lights. Even then you can retain your dignity. But no man is an island.
Life is not all about money. It is about your kindness to others without judgement. It is about words of encouragement to keep them going. It is about holding another person’s hand in yours, and a hug or a kiss that makes you feel that special bond that holds us all together.
At the end of the day who can judge better if I failed or not? Those that helped or those that put me down along the way? It is only me who can be the final Judge. I am the one who knows the real things that I did to help others in life and never said . . .
There are five things you can do – nothing else really matters:
- Help others every day
- Live every moment of your life
- Believe in yourself
- Never give up on your dreams
- Don’t let people put you down
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