I just returned from taking my oldest son to Yale University for the start of his freshman year. At the opening assembly as I looked around at the assembled students and their parents I was struck by something.

“Everyone here looks remarkably normal!”

In a large room at the center of one of the world’s top ten universities I was struck that these students, and their families, weren’t noticeably different than any you might see anywhere in America. There were both sexes, all races and many different nationalities present. The rich were there of course but most were from a broad spectrum of society. In fact 14% of students were the first in their family to attend college. 57% where from public high schools. Far more than that were on some form of scholarship.

These students, the best and brightest their nations have produced, ready to cooperate and compete with each other in the marketplace of ideas where to all appearances unremarkable. But that is only the superficial.

These young men and women are already among the most successful of their generation. Undoubtedly after 4 years of education most of them will go on to positions of leadership and material success in their later lives. Why are these normal looking kids the inheritors of such opportunity?

Because they earned it!

You get to Yale University, and the other handful of elite schools in the world, by working your ass off. Night and day. You get there by sacrificing pleasure, idle time and lots of other opportunities. Yes it is easier for some, and harder for others but even those with some sort of preference still had to toil for years to get to this place.

What does this have to do with building a successful business you ask? I hope the answer is obvious! You get in business what you put into it. Yes luck helps but the biggest reason for success, whether educational or business, is unending hard work!

Here’s to all those new Yalies and to all business owners climbing the steep hill of commercial success! And here’s a special wish, if you will allow me, to William Tyler Caldwell, Yale Class of 2018, may you always prosper and succeed as you make the most of the opportunities you search for and strive to do your best to master!

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