Own My Growth

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JP Morgan And The Formula For Success

JP Morgan

I am sure this story about JP Morgan is apocryphal, but it makes a strong point about prioritization relevant for all of us.

When JP Morgan was in his twenties, a man approached him and held up an envelope to catch his attention.

“Sir, in this envelope I am holding in my hand, there is a guaranteed formula for success, which I will be happy to sell to you for $25,000.”

JP Morgan replied- “I don’t know what is inside the envelope, and I can’t pay you without checking what it is. So, here is my counter offer. Let me see what is in the envelope and, if I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”

The man was comfortable with what was proposed and handed over the envelope. JP Morgan opened it and pulled out a small sheet of paper that was inside. He gave the paper one glance and immediately took out his checkbook and paid the stranger the agreed $25000.

The paper had the following two lines written on it:

  1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
  2. Do them.

I came across the story in Tom Peters’ collection of Top 41 Quotes (PDF), which I am sure you will enjoy reading. 

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