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 June 30, 2009

Today: If only you knew the facts, you would respond differently.

“What a jerk David is,” Bill said angrily to his wife Barbara. “For two years, when I see him at work I say “Hi,” and he usually just nods his head at me. If I ask him for a favor, he’s always too busy.

“Today I did what I should have done a long time ago. I complained to our boss about him. No-one likes David and we want the boss to fire him.”

“Why do you think David acts like that,” Barbara asked. “Who cares,” replied Bill. “He’s just a jerk.

“You don’t know the facts about David,” Barbara stated.

“Three years ago David and his wife Susan lost their only child, five year old Chloe to cancer. For two years before her death, that little girl waged a valiant fight for her life.

“David and Susan put their lives on hold and tried to get Chloe the best medical care possible and they spent their savings doing it. When that child died, a piece of them died with her.

“Since then Susan has been withdrawn to the point she can no longer hold a job. She has trouble sleeping and has become addicted to sleep aids, an addiction she denies. David is uncomfortable leaving her alone.

“David joined your firm two years ago,” Barbara continued, “for the medical benefits. He is deeply depressed and seeing a psychiatrist to help him cope. He also has serious money problems from all of Chloe’s medical bills and he and Susan may lose their home.

“What have you or any of the others at work done to be a friend to David,” she asked. “Did any of you take the time to get to know him? Did any of you even listen to him?”

“I have my own problems,” snapped Bill.

“I know,” Barbara replied. “But instead of being sensitive to David, you focus on yourself.

“Everyone has problems. But next time, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and become a positive force, a healing presence.”

Bill couldn’t sleep that night, as he absorbed Barbara’s advice. The next day, he greeted David warmly and asked him to lunch.

Later that morning, Bill spoke with the others who were ready to get David fired and calmed them. He also spoke with his boss, withdrawing his complaints.

It was over lunch that day the two men got to know each other and formed a bond of friendship. It also turned out both were avid basketball fans and had similar political views, interests they could enjoyably share and did from that point forward.

Later something happened that neither of them could have foreseen. David was promoted and he became Bill’s boss, and as David kept rising through the ranks he took his old friend with him.

I was reminded of this story when a tenant in a rental unit my wife Anne and I own did not pay her rent. It upset me and when we couldn’t reach her, I considered taking legal action.

Then I received this email, “Due to unfortunate circumstances, I was forced to vacate the property at the end of last month. I was laid off of work several months ago because of the ailing economy and have not had any success in finding work as of yet. My children and I are now living with my mother until things improve.” And she signed it.

Yes, she should have communicated with us earlier. But seeing this email, we understood what happened and forgave her. We hope she and her children get back on their feet soon.

Everyone has problems, just as you do. The nicest thing you can do is to be kind to them as you would have others be kind to you. By doing so, you may help them get through a difficult time, a courtesy someone may one day extend to you.

Success Tip of the Week: It is when you get beyond the superficial impressions and thoughts that you can really get to know people and become a positive force in their lives

Editor’s Notes: Thank you to my friends Mary Ellen of and Ariel Feir, of for ideas that helped to inspire the first story.

In the next KazanToday: After losing her job, a 45-year-old woman makes a bold career change.

Home       Archives
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!