Lewis is one of those rare, lucky people who attained a successful life without striving. This is not to say that my friend is lazy or passive. Lewis was granted an harmonious opportunity when he was young and merged with it.
Generally speaking, most self-help and motivational sources recommend that we persistently strive towards our goal and we will eventually achieve our dream. In other words, to try hard, to exert ourselves with single-minded strenuous effort towards your goal or dream will ultimately yield fulfillment. This formula is excellent and one that I have personally discovered to be true. However, like all rules, there seems to be exceptions. Lewis just happens to be one of them.
Lewis was born 58 years ago in Merrillville, Indiana, at the time a city of under 30,000 residents. His father was a moderately wealthy automobile salesman and part owner of one of the independent used car dealerships. As it turned out, Lewis was the only child in the family and was allowed many freedoms; or as Lewis admits, he was a spoiled kid.
Possibly due to the fact that Lewis grew up in the car culture of his family background, he developed a deep, abiding enjoyment of automobiles and everything associated with motor vehicles. When he reached his early teens, Lewis enjoyed washing and detailing his parents’ cars to perfection. This work was not something that his father requested nor expected Lewis to do. It was just something that he wanted to do.
When Lewis was old enough to have a part-time job, he was hired as one of the teens who washed and polished cars that were displayed for sale on the dealer’s lot. Eventually, Lewis advanced to become the sales manager of the dealership.
As Lewis’ father approached the age of retirement, Lewis was offered the opportunity to become a business partner with his father’s partner in the dealership. Lewis requested an hiatus from the dealership for a couple of years before making a final decision. The owners agreed that Lewis’ request was a smart idea.
It was at this chapter of Lewis’ life that he and I became acquainted. He had been hired as a part-time broadcasting intern at the radio station where I worked. I was to be his mentor for the first couple of months during his probationary period. Lewis was a fast learner and got along famously with everyone at the station. He and I became easy friends.
After about a year-and-a-half with our company, Lewis submitted his two-week notice of intention to resign from the job. He admitted that he liked working in radio and that he would miss working with us. Lewis realized he greatly missed working around cars. He had decided to return to Indiana to pick up where he left off at the dealership.
This spring, Lewis took a highway vacation to Yellowstone with his wife and two children. They stopped here in Norfolk, Nebraska to touch base with me. He explained that he felt like the luckiest man in the world. He met a woman when he closed the deal on her car. They began dating and “all the important things clicked”. After a couple of years they “tied the knot”. Lewis did obtain part ownership of the used car lot. The dealership continues to thrive.
Lewis said that while he is thankful for his material comforts and continued good fortune, he has his own definition of success. He does not feel that success is possessing a lot of nice things. He says that doing what he loves with people he gets along with is important. Selling transportation to his customers is “the icing on the cake”. Lewis realizes that he is one of the fortunate few who was granted a great opportunity and accepted it.
It occurred to me that Lewis’ success is genuine in that he understands how fortunate he is. He carries his success gracefully with no sense of entitlement and no arrogance. Lewis has just the right amount of humility because that is also a part of his familial inheritance. He is also generous, but does not feel the need to boast about it.
It is good to know that people like Lewis exist.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes television personality Kyle Hill. “It’s okay to take that reservoir of passion that you have and let it flow into whatever you love. Experiment, question, replicate, be critical, be nerdy, be yourself.”