Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on February 19, 2008

Today: A valuable marital lesson that began with Ray, a man with 7-divorces.

Dear Reader: What follows was inspired by a real story and it comes from a suggestion from my friend, author Mary Ellen “Angel Scribe,” of

Please note: I’m not critical of anyone else’s relationships including the necessity for a divorce. I was not privy to Ray’s marriages nor would I be judgmental of him. I offer observations from failed marriages I’ve seen up close including that of my parents many years ago. The name Ray is used consistently for ease of readability.

Ray was a successful businessman whose colorful personality and creative approach to sales led him to become a wealthy and famous man. With money and fame many people were attracted to him and women vied for his attention.

Ray had grown up poor and now had everything he ever dreamed: beautiful women, big houses, fancy cars and expensive jewelry. He had a wide circle of people he thought were his friends and “important” people returned his calls.

Ray wanted people to love him but he didn’t offer women love, he “conquered” them, each time seeking to reinforce his manhood.

When he’d get serious about a woman, he’d wine and dine her in a grand manner and overwhelm her with his charms. But once they were married, she’d find herself neglected and abused, as he was soon in pursuit of the next attractive woman and a fantasy life with her.

For Ray didn’t like a real life of dealing with problems and taking responsibility for others including his children. He really didn’t want to get involved with family, school activities or his community.

Ray was too busy, and each of his wives didn’t “understand” him and each “ungrateful” wife only caused him stress. Soon an expensive divorce would follow, which in most instances could have been avoided if only he had taken the time to listen and to sincerely care.

It was not they who didn’t understand him; it was he who didn’t understand women. As each of us is a work in progress, I don’t mean to pick on Ray. I’m sorry he and none of his wives were happy together and that their children suffered as a result.

Anne and I have been married for 42-years and we have our problems with each other because neither of us is perfect, and like Ray, I can be a pain in the touché. But I’d like to share with you why this marriage works for us, which may help your marriage work for you.

We met as teenagers, and got married when I was 20 and she was 19. We had the first of our 3-sons about 2-years later and life was a struggle for us as I lost various full-time jobs as I went to college full-time, flunking out and returning.

Over the years, we’ve shared many memories together, including the joys our children brought us and now with their families, they bring us even more joy.

It seems like yesterday not the 1970’s, I’d sit with all 3-little boys on Christmas Eve and we’d turn the globe slowly, trying to guess where Santa was delivering presents at that moment. Their little eyes sparkled with wonder and excitement filled their hearts as I’d hug each of them and assure them toys would be waiting for them in the morning. And dear reader, I’m Jewish!

Looking back, it’s astonishing how fast time goes by and children grow up so quickly.

Wasn’t it just yesterday our oldest son Kyle as a boy played basketball for the pint-sized Trojans wearing a jersey far too big for him. Many years later we watched him play basketball in front of thousands of people for the University of Southern California Trojans. We proudly attended his graduation as well, and today he is a successful real estate investor and property manager.

It seems like just a short time ago, our middle son Kevin who as a boy had a wild streak in him, we watched graduate from the police academy with the highest test scores in that academy’s 30-year history. Again, our hearts filled with pride, and he’s now an outstanding police officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

I can still hear the little-bitty voice of our youngest son Clayton when he was pre-school age and I can still see him walk around with two toy medical bags at his side, one in each hand. Many years later we proudly attended his Medical School graduation. He’s now a top emergency room doctor at St. Francis Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Then there was the time in the mid-70’s when I did something crazy. I put all our money at risk for I’d quit my job, and used our life savings to start a computer leasing firm. I worked long hours but nobody did business with me and it was a scary time.

In the wee-hours one morning, I sat alone in the dark living room, worried sick. Anne came in and sat down with me, asking what was wrong. When I told her, she smiled and said, “Everything will be fine. I’m not worried, I believe in you.” We talked for awhile and then we went back to bed.

It wasn’t long before the firm began to write a lot of business and grew into an industry giant, with offices eventually coast to coast and in Japan. How fortunate I was to have someone as caring as Anne to help me through that night. But this happens if you have someone who understands you, trusts you, loves you … and you love them.

But new memories come every day. At 62, Anne just went back to college after being away from school for over 30-years, and she’s studying Latin American history.

Recently, we had a wonderful night out and then all of a sudden, just before we went to bed, she began to cry. As men, it’s easy for us to be critical of women’s emotions, but instead she and I sat down and with assurance from me, she discussed what upset her.

She was having a crisis in confidence about college, fearful she’d fail. I took her hand, listened to her and then I recalled aloud how she had been a gifted student many years earlier and that what she was doing today was new, but she’d soon adapt and find her comfort zone.

As we spoke, I calmed and encouraged Anne and she felt much better. And that encouragement came as well from Kyle, our oldest son, who persuaded her to enroll and from many other family members and friends. She’s now doing fine in college and enjoying herself.

I’m an early riser and this morning I came back into our bedroom and I watched her sleep. As she lay there, I looked at her blond hair and her beautiful face resting on her pillow and this gentle and kind soul touched my heart as she has so many times before.

I call her my “Sweetie” and I would marry my Sweetie again in a heartbeat.

Success Tip of the Week: What is the valuable lesson from Ray’s failed marriages? That the real riches in life are in having people who love you and who are there for you in good times and bad. This is something money can never buy. But there is a necessary price to be paid. You must care enough to devote yourself to others and be there with a loving heart when they need you.

In the next KazanToday: An important life lesson from a 15-year-old boy.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!