Beattie: More than one path to success

Geoff Beattie, chairman and chief executive officer of Generation Capital, a Toronto investment company, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) at the Wednesday morning session of Western’s 311th Convocation.

Beattie spoke to graduates from the Faculty of Social Science, asking them to consider the privileges and advantages they have in life, and to define how they will measure success.

“People who are successful in school or their careers are not assured success in life,” said Beattie, who graduated with a law degree from Western in 1984.

Society teaches us to measure and quantify success, first with grades, then with salaries, he added. We are not taught to measure success with moments of quiet happiness or the obstacles and challenges we have to overcome.

“There isn’t one right answer; there isn’t one truth. There are many paths and you won’t necessarily know if you’re on the right one, until you get out there and are prepared to fail,” Beattie noted.

As a guide to success, he offered four pieces of advice to the graduating class.

“Trust yourself and doubt yourself; the most successful people trust who they are and what they believe but are constantly questioning themselves. Make sure your plans don’t get in the way of what you really want; not having a rigid plan has led to my best successes. Resilience is mandatory. Be a learner and a listener,” he continued.

“If it’s worth a damn, it might be hard. But the best things in life are hard. They are hard to get, hard to keep and hard to grow.”

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