Drawing line through a maze

The Australian Financial Review has a new podcast series called How I made it and it features successful business people, one’s on Australia’s rich list.

I am passionate about social justice and a lot of my research looks at diversity and equality. Not being very business-minded, I was still quite interested to listen to some of the stories of these billionaires and see how they define and describe success.

The first episode interviewed Jack Cowin, who brought us KFC and founded Hungry Jacks. He is now 79, has made $5 billion and has no plans to retire. The episode asked him what his top lessons in life are. He spoke about 13 lessons that he learned throughout building his business but these are the top three ones I took away from that episode.

If you lose your integrity, no amount of success will be meaningful. He said, “success will produce a hollow feeling when you look in the mirror.” For someone so rich and successful, this lesson he shared was very thought-provoking. It almost felt like a disclaimer or a cautionary note.

If you lose your health, nothing else matters. I was really happy to hear him speak about the importance of good physical health but was very impressed at how he also mentioned the significance of looking after our mental health too.

Find a tolerant partner. In addition to having someone to support you, having close, authentic and meaningful relationships allows you to keep grounded on your values and the things that matter. He said, “Be good to your kids as they will be the ones checking you into the nursing home. It can be very unfulfilling trying to enjoy yourself when nobody else likes your company.”

Success means different things to different people. What does it mean to you?

Success is measured financially, but it is also measured in other ways. Our personal assessment of career satisfaction often lies in whether or not we have contributed to a better understanding of a problem, a better workplace, a better society. Professor Marcia Langton


Tagged in What messes with your head, podcast, Student life, career