Inspiration from J.P. Morgan
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
J.P Morgan (1837-1913) was one of the world’s foremost financial figures during the two pre-World War I decades.
Success is making introductions. J.P. began his career as an accountant for Duncan, Sherman & Co. in New York City, which provided a good base for J.P. Morgan’s introduction into the world of banking and finance, especially because of its ties to the powerful London firm of George Peabody & Co.
Success is supporting good ideas in which you believe. J.P. funded Thomas Edison throughout the 1870s and 1880s, and laid the financial foundation for Edison Electric Company.
Success is seeking and finding opportunity. When many small companies and railroads ran into tough times after the Civil War, Morgan saw opportunities and acquired those with potential.
Success is diversification. Morgan acquired and/or financed shipping interests, coal mines, insurance and communications industries, and he provided financial backing for the U.S. government itself.
Success is using power, not abusing it. Morgan saw himself as a positive force. His banks, he believed, had helped to transform America into the world’s most powerful nation, while privately he gave money to the urban poor.
Success is problem-solving. “No problem can be solved until it is reduced to some simple form. The changing of a vague difficulty into a specific, concrete form is a very essential element in thinking.”
Success is recognizing the power of synergy. In 1891, Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thompson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric, which then became the country’s main electrical equipment manufacturing company.
Success is sharing. In 1912, J.P. Morgan gave to the Library of Congress a complete set of autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as giving away numerous other priceless works of art to several museums.
Success is setting goals and following them through. “The wise man bridges the gap by laying out the path by means of which he can get from where he is to where he wants to go.”
[Sources: http://www.biography.com, http://www.pbs.org, http://www.netstate.com]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)