From the Desk of Juan Diaz

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. There have been many influential people in my life that I want to show my gratitude to as we head into the weekend. I strive to be grateful everyday. As Emerson said “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

When I was 14, I tried to go to college to study business and the guy was like “you have to be out of high school son first before you can consider college” I said, but I am an entrepreneur. He said “well that is ambitious and I am impressed. I have an idea for you to start your study into business. Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill?” I hadn’t read anything. I essentially stopped school in the third grade, mentally at least. They held me back and I checked out. If I could pinpoint a moment that changed my life, it was that man turning me onto this book. I read the book countless times. The 13 principles constructed my plan for who I want to be. I started visualizing success, starting my days with a mantra. I am forever grateful for this faceless stranger who changed my life by simply suggesting I read “Think and Grow Rich,” First page, “…the money making secret that has made fortunes for more than 500 exceedingly wealthy people…” and I was hooked.

I found a new thirst for knowledge. I was no longer threatened by the challenge but embraced it. At our company, we began an erudition program. Each employee has a designated hour a week that they devote to learning and growing as an individual. We hold biweekly meetings where we share the ideas and things we have read that excite us. We have read collectively countless books; everything from Malcolm Gladwell to Adam Grant. Our staff was especially enthralled with The Checklist Manifesto. I always thought you had to learn from school but you don’t need to go to college. As long as you have a library card and the will the world is yours. Continuous learning is a requirement for our staff. I am forever grateful for that man who turned me on to the gift of knowledge.