I just watched the movie The Founder. It was a very good movie, I highly recommend you see it. It’s the story of how McDonalds was created, and more specifically the story of Ray Kroc and how he took one great hamburger stand and turned it into a billion dollar empire. I was very inspired by the story. Ray’s perseverance, vision, work ethic, and drive was all very inspiring. It’s the American dream. The movie also left me with a feeling of disgust. Disgust with some of the things Ray did to achieve that dream. To sum it up, he screwed over the McDonald brothers, broke a contract and didn’t treat them with honesty.
Some people might say that’s the cost of a cut throat business. I’m all for competition, and fierce competition. When you step across the ping pong table from me, you are now my enemy. I will play as hard as I can to beat you, and do anything to achieve that. Anything except being unethical and breaking the rules of the game (trash talking is still ok right?). That’s also how I live life, I play hard, and I play to win. Winning by breaking the rules would never satisfy me. I would always know I cheated. In 4th grade I remember cheating on a math test. It was multiplication tables, they were hard! I also didn’t know them. So I cheated. I got a good grade and my teacher was proud of me. I immediately broke down crying and confessed. I couldn’t take it. I didn’t want the accolades if they weren’t real. I want to know I went toe to toe with whatever problem or opponent I’m up against and won fair and square. If I don’t win, then I don’t deserve it because I’m not good enough… yet.
There seems to be a common thread with a lot of tv shows and movies lately (maybe it’s always been there but I’m noticing it more now). What are you willing to do to get what you want? Are you willing to break the law to catch a criminal? Are you willing to lie if it get’s you ahead in business? Are you willing to kill if it means you get to live? These questions are all very interesting to me, and apparently to a lot of people since it’s such a popular thread in entertainment.
The thing I love about movies, books and stories is that I get to put myself in the characters shoes. I get to experiment with their feelings, and their decisions. I get to ask myself if I were in their shoes would I make the same decisions? I put myself in Ray Kroc’s shoes and a lot of it was very familiar. Being self employed you need a lot of the traits Ray had: perseverance, vision, work ethic, drive, and thick skin so that when the world seems like it’s against you, you can stay focused and move forward. He also had (to me)some undesirable traits which were his willingness to lie and brake a contract to gain control over the company. The stakes were huge, billions of dollars. What would I do if I were in his situation? I hope I wouldn’t make the same decision, if I did it would haunt me for the rest of my life. I truly believe you don’t need to be dishonest to be successful. I think Ray still would have been a huge success if he treated the McDonald brothers with honesty and integrity. I guess we’ll never know. So now let me ask you, what would you do?