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 March 2, 2010

Today: Today a remarkable man will share a valuable lesson in life’s priorities. The story you are about to read is real.

“Hi! I’m Bob and I recently died at the age of 85. Few people thought I’d live that long because I faced the dangers of World War ll and shortly afterward, contracted polio.

“At that time, most people with polio either died or were paralyzed for life. For years, I fought for my life and my body and eventually won. But in the process my heart was damaged, from which I couldn’t recover. As a result, I lived life to the fullest, knowing each day could be my last.

“Even late in life, I still played beach volleyball, surfed the ocean waves and drove ATV’s [off road vehicles] and celebrated all of life’s little moments as well.

“I also worked hard and built a successful insurance business which I ran until I was 80. Now one of my sons runs it. But I wasn’t a workaholic. My customers became friends and the business did so well, it afforded me my dream home on the ocean front in Manhattan Beach [CA].

“The other day for 1 hour and 15 minutes, 150 people attended my memorial service on the sand in front of my home and they told funny or compelling stories about my life.

“As part of that valuable lesson, I’ll share two of those stories with you.

“As a boy I dreamed of playing football for the University of Southern California [USC]. But when I grew up, like many young dreamers, I wasn’t a good enough player. After the War, I used the G.I. Bill so I could afford to go there, graduating in 1948.

“But I still loved the game and I sure loved people. Many years later, Gary, who was a friend of mine and I would bet on which team would win the annual UCLA – USC football game.

“Our bet was simple. The loser would take a giant whip cream covered blueberry or blackberry pie smack in the face. Each year, we’d settle the bet at his business in a big open room; roughly 2/3’s the size of a basketball court with people all around us.

“I’d arrive with a camera and a group of my other friends. All his co-workers and clients stopped what they were doing and watched as the room would fall silent. Unfortunately for me, USC hit a big losing streak so for several years in a row, I left covered in pie as we all laughed and cheered.

“The last time we settled this bet, just to add a little color, I arrived in a red and white candy striper uniform, skirt and all. It too got splattered in pie. I finally learned my lesson and ended this bet but ironically, USC won the next several games, probably just to spite me.

“As I look back, Gary escaped the cream pies he so richly deserved yet as I think about our bets, even now it makes me laugh and I know he’s still chuckling as well.

“The other story is about when I married for the second time 25 years ago. My bride brought her children into the marriage and I brought mine and together we had one big happy family for it was always ‘our children,’ not hers or mine.

“Many people at my service thought this was the biggest reason why I lived so long. They’re right of course and I must say, she is a wise and wonderful woman who brought direction and maybe a little sanity to my life and a great deal of happiness.

“But you’ve been waiting to learn a valuable lesson in life’s priorities and it is this: The 150 people at my service included long time business associates, clients and employees of my company yet of all the stories that were told, NOT ONE talked about my business. NOT ONE.

“Instead, they remembered the laughs we had together.

“That’s because the people who care about you know that beyond meeting your basic needs, life is not about money, it is about joy. And joy includes the happiness you bring to others as well as to yourself.

“Just remember, happiness is a state of mind and life is a precious gift. Don’t waste it! Instead of working more hours, have some laughs and share some love and like me, you too will have a life well lived.”

Success Tip of the Week: This week, do something fun, something frivolous and do it with others.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to my friend Mike Fischvogt for telling me about Bob’s life and sharing several stories about him.

In the next KazanToday: A man of vision and courage who led the 20th century resurrection of the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Tribe.

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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!
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