Never give up.

Time and time again, during our short stay on earth, problems beset us that seem to be insurmountable. However, through determination, lateral thinking, friendships and sometimes luck things can be resolved.

Below is a true short story:

A boy was born in India in 1902. He was from a wealthy family and at the age of 10 he was sent away to boarding school. Boarding in India in 1912 is not what it is in this country today, he had a difficult time, was bullied and after a couple of years he ran away from school. His parents were lost with what to do and sent him to work for his uncle in South Africa to learn what the world of work was like in a diamond company. He was a long way from home in a world that seemed much larger than it does today.

Having worked in South Africa for a short time, the flu epidemic of 1918 hit. Not knowing that it was worldwide, trying to escape its lethal dangers, he jumped on a boat headed for England. He arrived with virtually nothing.

To make a living he began what would now be termed marketing. He dressed up as an American Indian and stood outside the cinemas to advertise the western films that were popular. From this he managed to save his money and to start a jewellery importing and perfume company that was a success.

At this time, his brothers came over from India to try and persuade him to return but he refused. He met a young English lady and they married, which in those days was almost unheard of (her family disowned her). They had a daughter and then twin girls and all seemed good for a few years.

Then disaster struck one morning. Their eldest daughter did not return from the journey to school and she didn’t survive the busy roads of London, a bus had killed her; they were devastated.

Then as if it couldn’t get any worse, as he was boarding a the train to go home to see his twin girls, his business partner caught him and asked him to sign a piece of paper. He was reluctant but because he was in a rush to see his precious girls, he signed. He had signed away his half of the business and lost all that he had built up.

At this point in the story, I have a lump in my throat because this man was my grandfather and one of the twins was my mother. This story has had a profound influence on me and gives an insight into how I should live my life. I wish that I could go back in time, that I could pick up the phone and tell him not to give up. He had been through so much and achieved so many remarkable things for those days and yet he had been knocked too many times. I can’t say to him now not to give up but I can say it to you – no matter what – keep your passion, stick to who you are, hold your conviction and remain determined and you will succeed.

Richard Stevenson

Richard Stevenson