I grew up an immigrant. I grew up believing in hustle. I grew up not having much and working for everything. I grew up with the bias that “rich kids” couldn't be as hungry as me, or more successful than me, or want it more than me.
Tonight I had dinner with an individual who I’m not going to name because I don’t want to embarrass him, and under the context of what I’m saying here, it would probably be inappropriate. Now, I've known this person for awhile, so it’s not like randomly being taken aback by who the PR version of that person is, but it was still a very real revelation to me. As you get older in life, you start realizing that even if you’re the most open minded person, (as I’d like to think I am) even if you try your hardest not to have preconceived notions, you always end up having them. Tonight, I was reminded, once again, how happy I am that everything isn't so black and white. That there are no absolutes, and that just as I can be an anomaly and break out, so, too, can people with totally opposite backgrounds. Just because you've grown up monetarily-gifted, it doesn't mean that it sucks out the ambition and the hunger and the drive that it takes to be a winner in the business world and in life in general.
Tonight I was reminded that even though my children are going to grow up with a hell of a lot more than me, they can still have that drive. That if Lizzie and I put in the work, instill them with the right values that compliment the DNA that they were born with, create the right circumstances, have the conversations, mold them, and point them in the right direction, that they, too, can have the hustle. Even with their expensive bar mitzvahs, and their friends who have everything the day it comes out, even with all that, that my kids can turn out to be just as hungry, and just as fired up (well, maybe not just as, but close) as I am.
So it gives me hope and excitement. It reminds me that I will need to replicate all the effort and all the days that I put into building businesses by instilling my children with all the things I want them to be instilled with. Tonight, this individual I shared dinner with gives me that hope, and reminds me that those are very achievable goals.
So I’m happy. I’m happy on this summer night to know that I’ll be putting in the immense and intense amount of work that’s needed to make my children hungry. Because that matters to me, and it will drive their success. And if they’re not, that’s ok, too. Because all you can really do is put in all the work to give yourself the best at-bat, and look for examples out in the world of people doing the thing that you want to happen.
So thank you, dinner-mate. Thanks for painting a very clear picture for me, not through your words, but through your examples, of what I’m looking to achieve in the next chapters of my life.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author, self-taught wine expert, and innovative entrepreneur. You can find out more at garyvaynerchuk.com and follow him on Twitter: @garyvee.