During the conversation, I mentioned that I tell my kids not to trust anyone. My friends reacted strongly saying that this goes against the principles of humanity.
Trust is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
I have been involved in many business ventures, some were successful and others were failures due to timing, planning, wrong partners and so on.
As a young entrepreneur, I wanted to open a restaurant/nightclub. I lacked capital and credibility because of my age. I approached a friend who was older and successful in the restaurant business. He agreed, since I worked as a promoter in one of his establishments and he knew that I could produce. He was someone I admired and trusted.
The deal was that he would own the majority of the business until the earnings of the club paid off the investment and then we would become 50/50 partners. I created the name, concept, and oversaw marketing and operations. No problem!
We opened the business during a terrible winter season. I had to work very hard the first few months just to keep the business afloat. A few months later our nightclub/restaurant became extremely successful. People waited in long lines just to get in! It had become the hottest club in Washington, DC. The business did so well that it was able to pay off the total investment within the first year.
Upon completing my goal, I approached my angel investor and requested to change the percentage of equity in the business. He smiled and looked straight into my eyes and said NO, and there is nothing that you can do about it!
I was very disappointed! I trusted this man and now that I am making him a lot of money he decided he wanted it all for himself. His word meant nothing but his greed was his passion!
I had just gotten married and Nesrin, my wife said to me “you made it once, you will make it again…” I sold my partnership for peanuts and moved along.
Moving along resulted in me opening 15 more restaurant /lounges and creating a name for myself! I had fun and was able to build a strong company.
In 2008 when the recession hit the USA, I had stretched my investments and businesses too much. Our company received a good hit and we lost various businesses. We were able to regroup, survive and able to thrive again.
We decide to take a break from DC and move to Ecuador. Unfortunately history repeated itself in Ecuador. I committed the same mistake and blindly trusted a childhood friend of mine.
I opened a business, made lots of mistakes which I take full responsibility and it failed. But the saddest lesson is to see a childhood friend that you trusted at face value and laughed together, made decisions together, and at the end his word was worth zero!
Again another person whose greed is his passion!
Like I told him during our last discussion “You are an adult and you should act like one. It is time for you to stop making excuses, take full responsibility of your actions and make your word count… How can anyone trust you?”
Both business ventures were my failures but also great lessons of life! I made the wrong decisions and because it is too easy to trust people, I unintelligently believed the words of my mentor and childhood friend.
During our conversation with my friends I realized that they were right, I shouldn't tell my kids "you do not trust anyone," I have to rephrase it:
“You do not trust anyone, until they prove you wrong” - Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld.
Here are quotes from two great authors:
“Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.” - Santosh Kalwar
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” - George MacDonald
At the end of the day, you want to be remembered as a trustworthy person! And that is worth millions!!!