MAY 14, 1958
NEW YORK—Anyone reading the biographies of successful business and professional men will find that they made serious mistakes but that it was their ability to face these mistakes and use them as lessons which eventually made them wiser than other men.
And so the words of Peter Volid, chairman of the board of the King Korn Trading Stamp Company, the nation's third largest premium stamp firm, should have a special meaning for the great many young men who find themselves easily discouraged when they encounter failure.
The words are from a speech by Mr. Volid at the 11th annual presentation of awards, sponsored by the American Schools and Colleges Association, in recognition of outstanding Americans who have risen from humble beginnings to outstanding success in their respective fields.
One of these awards went to Mr. Volid. Other recepients were Benjamin Fairless, past chairman of the board of the U.S. Steel Corporation; V.H. Carmichael, chairman of the board of Capital Airlines, and T. Claude Ryan, president of the Ryan Aeronautical Corporation.
"One must also not be afraid of failure," Mr. Volid said, "for it is only through failure that one can learn and profit by his mistakes. If you refuse to 'stretch yourself' and hence run the risk of failure, you can never grow.
"The only fact that must be remembered is that after failure, you must recognize your mistakes and try again, the next time avoiding the pitfalls of the last experience."
In giving his formula for success, Mr. Volid said:
First, decide what your objectives and goals are; secondly, make a realistic study of what it takes in the way of sacrifice and real hard work to realize these goals, and, thirdly, pursue these goals with an unswerving persistence. He went on to say:
"If a youth can apply this simple formula, there is no limit to what he or she can achieve. America today is in the throes of an industrial, business and commercial, and scientific revolution that has known no equal in days gone by.
"And to the ambitious youth, who is not afraid of the time-tested technique and persistent application of effort, there is no direction to go but up—up to greater heights than was heretofore possible by ourselves and our predecessors."
Mr. Volid's formula for success may not bring to everyone the same great financial returns that have come to the men mentioned above, but it will bring satisfaction and the compensation of knowing that a job has been well done in whatever field a young man chooses to work.
I think all young men and boys should be encouraged to read biographies and autobiographies of men who have gone before them and have managed to turn failure into success. In many cases, it would encourage and guide them in their own lives.