The Fantastic Life

What is on your Desk?


Richard Jenrette passed away last year after a massively successful career on Wall Street that spanned four decades.  On his desk he had his handwritten 24 Rules for Success.  At the bottom of the article below is a copy of those rules — he was still adding to and editing this list when he passed at age 89.

The rules were part of his memorial services where they were shared for the first time. I think these are a true treasure and worth spending time reviewing.  Of course, I highlighted my favorites below.

What is on your desk?  I have my tracking sheet I mark up each and every morning, showing my progress towards my goals.  I have my LIFEies rules as well.

Rule #2 from my book The Fantastic Life: Be Crystal Clear on What You Want

It’s one thing to know what you want, it’s another to constantly keep it at the forefront of your thoughts in actions. Keep your goals where you can see them so you can constantly chase your Fantastic Life.


The 24 Rules for Success Left Behind by a Legendary Wall Street Banker

By Katia Porzecanski

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Richard Jenrette, who co-founded the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 1959, spent four decades on Wall Street. When he died last week from complications of cancer at the age of 89, he left behind on his desk 24 rules to succeed — in finance, and in life. The list, titled “What I Learned,” was shared Sunday at an intimate memorial service for family and local friends in Charleston, South Carolina. Here’s what it said:

What I Learned (How to Succeed) (and have a Long and Happy Life)

1. Stay in the game. That’s often all you need to do – don’t quit. Stick around! Don’t be a quitter!
2. Don’t burn bridges (behind you)
3. Remember – Life has no blessing like a good friend! You can’t get enough of them. Don’t leave old friends behind – you may need them
4. Try to be nice and say “thank you” a lot!
5. Stay informed/KEEP LEARNING!
6. Study — Stay Educated. Do Your Home Work!! Keep learning!
7. Cultivate friends of all ages – especially younger
8. Run Scared — over-prepare
9. Be proud — no Uriah Heep for you! But not conceited. Know your own worth.
10. Plan ahead but be prepared to allow when opportunity presents itself.
11. Turn Problems into Opportunities. Very often it can be done. Problems create opportunities for change — people willing to consider change when there are problems.
12. Present yourself well. Clean, clean-shaven, dress “classically” to age. Beware style, trends. Look for charm. Good grammar. Don’t swear so much — it’s not cute.
13. But be open to change — don’t be stuck in mud. Be willing to consider what’s new but don’t blindly follow it. USE YOUR HEAD – COMMON SENSE.
14. Have some fun – but not all the time!
15. Be on the side of the Angels. Wear the White Hat.
16. Have a fall-back position. Heir and the spare. Don’t leave all your money in one place.
17. Learn a foreign language.
18. Travel a lot — around the world, if possible.
19. Don’t criticize someone in front of others.
20. Don’t forget to praise a job well done (but don’t praise a poor job)
21. I don’t like to lose — but don’t be a poor loser if you do.
22. It helps to have someone to love who loves you (not just sex).
23. Keep your standards high in all you do.
24. Look for the big picture but don’t forget the small details.

Richard Jenrette’s handwritten note titled ‘What I Learned (How to Succeed)’ Classical American Homes Preservation Trust

—This story originally appeared on Bloomberg. Reported with assistance from Laurence Arnold.

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