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4 Lessons You Can Learn From the Founder of Walmart, Sam Walton

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Image Credit: Sam Walton

One day in the early 1960s, 44-year old Sam Walton founded his first department store in Bentonville, Arkansas a few years after being forced to let go of his first successful store for contract problems. Since this day, July 2nd, 1962, Walmart has grown to be the most successful retailer in the world (now is second to Amazon) with over ten thousand stores and more than $200 billion in market value. All that because of one dedicated and hard-working man who lived by his principles and gave many ambitious people, including me, the inspiration to do and grow more.

I have read Walton`s autobiography, ‘Sam Walton: Made In America’ and these are my top four lessons for you:

1. Understand the value of the dollar

Walton never believed in a having a flashy lifestyle and was capable of balancing the love of life with keeping expenses at bay. He had seen people selling their companies for little to enjoy the rich experience, then suffer later when it all goes down the drain. He also believed that to provide value to his customers he had to cut his expenses and be wise with spending money.

So he built a philosophy that every penny he saves, is a penny saved for his customers and created the famous Walmart motto: Save money. Live better. Walton dined at family restaurants, slept two to a room when traveling with his executives and among all of the eighteen airplanes he bought in his lifetime, none of them were brand new.

”Every time Wal-Mart spends one dollar foolishly, it comes right out of our customers’ pockets. Every time we save them a dollar, that puts us one more step ahead of the competition” – Sam Walton

2. Protect your success and learn from every mistake

After five years of hard work in Arkansas, Walton eventually managed to outperform his competitors and build the largest and most profitable variety store in the whole region. Unfortunately, he lost everything over a contract mistake. His landlord got greedy and wanted to give Walton’s store to his son, so he refused to renew his lease at any price.

To be honest, the man did offer Walton a fair price in exchange of his franchise name and inventory but this wasn’t what Walton wanted, and he had to leave behind all the success he’d just built and go.

But because of his positive mindset, Walton blamed nobody but himself for that mistake and vowed to learn from that mistake and spend double the time reading any future lease. He also realized his family needed someone with law experience who can also hold their best interest so, he encouraged his oldest son, Rob, to become a lawyer.

3. Learn everything you can about your business

Be desperate to learn everything about business and hang around those who know better than you. Wal-Mart stores have dominated the retail industry for years but did you know who made Walton interested in such business? His barber. The first rules Walton ever learned about retail work came from his barber and his brothers who had later grown their variety store into a sixty-store chain.

Walton also spent most of his Sundays at his manager`s house learning the business and talking about retailing. Even when he later left JCPenney and moved to Arkansas, he had to find someone experienced to learn from so he spent his lunch breaks at his competitor`s store and copied his best practices.

“Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.” – Sam Walton

4. Be competitive

The best word to describe Walton is competitive. He got that from his mother who taught him to take life seriously and try to be the best at everything he did. He worked as a lifeguard, waited tables in exchange for meals and stopped getting allowance as soon as high school began.  He also made a considerable sum of money during college despite living through the most prolonged, and most prevalent depression of the 20th century.

Walton was so competitive that he played baseball, football, and basketball all at the same time and won the state championship in two different sports. Not mentioning climbing up the Boy Scout ranks at a very young age and being elected president of the town’s Bible Class.

This intense experience helped Walton set his mindset towards success and understand the importance of teamwork. He realized that publicly exercising his ego wasn’t the right way to build a strong business, so he invested much in attracting the best, most talented, and most loyal people to his team.

What do you think of the entrepreneur who built one of the largest retail empires in the world? Comment below!

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While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader. Many revere him for the change he brought forth so it’s no wonder that he was heavily influenced by the man who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. He embodied that statement on the deepest level and lead people through one of the most challenging yet historic times in our nation. 

But what was it that made Dr. King’s movement so different than the rest? A quality that transcends ego and unites a people so divided? 

My greatest and most moving discovery while studying the life of Dr. King was the very answer to our question. 

Yes, he had the personality to be a leader, yes he had the bravery to use his voice, yes he evoked REAL change in government and policies, but the manifestation of all those comes from his willingness to lead a movement truly rooted in consciousness. 

A peaceful approach

Dr. King was continuously met with frustration, hate, and even violence by both law enforcement and those who wanted to fight for equality through violence. But the more violent things became, the more he dug his heels into a peaceful approach. Dr. King’s unwavering faith in the power to lead with peace and not violence is undoubtedly why his legacy is such a pillar of our nation still to this day. It is easier to fight.

Hate, anger and separateness from one another are primitive emotions on the emotional scale of well being but It takes awareness, understanding and elevated consciousness to move from a place of peace and understanding. Dr. King knew that we all have access to these states of higher consciousness and that our true power lies in a peaceful approach.

He is an example of the truest essence of our consciousness in this human experience. How to truly love your neighbor as yourself. 

Conscious compassion

Even the strongest opponents are human. Meet hate with love + compassion for the enemy” he said. It wasn’t his resistance to violence that made him a peacemaker, but rather his commitment to keeping compassion and connection to all humanity at the forefront of his movement. A profound understanding that underneath all the hate, violence and discrimination, we are all one. We all come from the same source and we are all human.

A conscious king

A man of his position, his power, his following could have been easily swayed by the human temptations of the ego. But he remained steadfast in his cause to bring forth real change. He understood on the deepest level that we are truly a stronger force in the universe when we move as one unit, with one mind, and one goal. That the separation from one another is the weakness of humanity. That our strength is in those things that unite us all, the qualities that give us life.

His success was in uniting not just the people of America but the consciousness of America.

No matter our gender, or our social class or our color, we all love, and we all seek peace. We all feel joy and happiness, we all want to be met with compassion and understanding. 

His cause went far beyond the need for physical freedom and equal rights. His cause was for freedom of mind, freedom of heart, freedom to be one. 

Lead with love

In his last speech he said, “I may not get there with you, but we AS A PEOPLE will get to the promise land”. And we will. At some point, we will inevitably come back to this oneness that we all come from.

The truth is? We don’t know when our last day is. Our last march. Our last speech. So this Martin Luther King Jr. Day I ask you, what will your legacy be? Are you leading a life founded in the principles of Dr. King’s movement, founded in the higher consciousness of humanity? Every moment is an opportunity to love, to show compassion, to bring forth peace and in the words of Dr. King “The time is always right to do what is right”.

Dr. King said, “I’m here to remind you, we’ve come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done”. 

And I’m here to remind you this Martin Luther King Jr. day in 2024 that we HAVE come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done. 

His fight is our fight. His mind is our mind. His spirit is our spirit. Rooted in the consciousness of all humanity. We are all one. And when we embrace the understanding of that, we will truly say

“Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free at Last”.

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