Sam Walton

The Man Who Changed My Life

I was at a retreat the year I became president of the Business Students Society at the University of Regina.  It was in a remote campground/hotel in the mountains just passed Rocky Mountain house.

The guest speaker was Irfhan Rawji.  He was a professor  at UBC, had a Harvard MBA, and he liked to party.  Needless to say, we got along quite well.

He told us to be unreasonable.

Reasonable people conformed to the world, unreasonable people conformed the world around them. He told us to never give in if you believe in something.  He told us successful people were regular people who were unreasonable, they knew what they wanted and they didn’t give in until they got it.  That made a whole lot of sense to me at that time.

At another conference in Victoria I ended up in one of Irfan’s sessions.  It was about life and what you want to get out of it.  He first showed a picture of Sam Walton without his name.

He asked “who knows who this person is?”.  Silence around the room.  Then he’d show a slide of Mother Teresa

and ask again, “who knows who this person is?” obviously everyone answered.

Next a picture of Carlos Slim Helu,

one of the richest people in the world today. He asked again, “who knows who this person is?”  Silence.  Then a this picture:

Again, everyone knew who Martin Luther King Jr. was. This went on for a while.

The point of his presentation was to show you that if your goal is to be rich, even if you were one of the richest people in the world, people won’t remember you.  On the other hand, if your goal is to make a difference, your legacy will live on forever.

This was a very powerful realization in my life when all I wanted was to be rich.  I changed my life goals that day.

I will forever be in debt to Irfhan for teaching some of the most valuable lessons that I have ever learned.

2 replies
  1. Ryan Dejaegher
    Ryan Dejaegher says:

    This is probably the most simple and effective way I’ve ever seen someone demonstrate that money cannot be the end goal, it has to be more.

    If you have role models or famous people that you aspire to be like, take a closer look at what it is that you like about them. Is it that they make a ton of money or do they do something more important than that.


  2. Jeph Maystruck
    Jeph Maystruck says:

    Thanks for the comment Ryan, I agree completely. It’s not what people make that makes them special, it’s the people they impact. It’s a shame our society usually uses financial wealth as a measurement stick of your social status.

    Thanks for reading,


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