To greatly enhance the odds of enjoying a career which is both fulfilling and successful, one must find an endeavor, a subject, métier, process, environment for which one has a passion. This could be aviation, geology, medical science, investing, writing fiction, etc.
In my case, it was a love of markets and investing that my father inculcated in me very early on. This passion has led me to often declare, “I have never worked a day in my life.”
Financial wealth is only one yardstick of success. There are many others — among the greatest are respect and admiration from one’s peers and family, and few, if any, regrets about roads not taken or opportunities lost.
One turning point occurred quite early, when I decided to compete for a naval ROTC scholarship at Stanford. Upon graduation I found myself, at age 21, onboard ship and responsible for 35 men, many nearly twice my age. Over the ensuing three years, I discovered that I had both a desire and some aptitude for molding, leading, and inspiring others. This, together with a strong love for investing, caused me, upon leaving the Navy, to opt for business school and ultimately a career in finance.
My naval experience led me to the firm belief that most young men, if presented with the opportunity of military service — preferably in peacetime and as an officer — should grab the opportunity to gain leadership experience early in life.