At the age of 63, 45 years after I hitchhiked out of Battle Creek, Tennessee to seek my fame and fortune, I have been urged by the younger people around me to share my experiences to help others climb the ladder that I am still upon. I have agreed in the hope that it inspires, encourages and challenges our young people to not give in to all the negativity and hopelessness they see and hear on a daily basis from the barrage of media sources so readily available today. I often hear how hard it is now to get ahead, how the future is so bleak and that people will never be as successful as we “baby boomers” have been, because “things are different now in the new normal…”
Let’s just pause for a few moments to say a few words as we bury the myth of “the good old days”…they weren’t so good except for maybe the privileged few who came from families with a lot of capital, or those whose parents became the “Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer” that the Pre-Depression Era parents preached and prayed for their children to become.
Take the time to ask one of these people who endured the Depression and WWII about how hard it was to obtain even the simplest of items during that period - it took a government-issued coupon to get tires, gasoline, appliances and most other wartime material items. Mother passed away in 1999 and we found aluminum foil in the oven to dry after she washed and pressed it out to use again, because she could recall: “how it was before”, plus, she believed it would happen again. Don’t ever complain to those who had no TV, only a six-family “party line” dial telephone, no air conditioning, a wringer washing machine and a clothesline, chickens, gardens, no health insurance or retirement other than Social Security.
Things are really good today and I wish I could start over in this, the greatest time ever to make a place at the economic table! If you don’t believe me, ask the kids who formed Facebook, Google and all the other new billionaires who had just an “idea”!
This is the first period in the history of mankind where capital formation is secondary to a good idea, vision and execution of intellectual property. Our wealthy ancestors had to first control land and serf labor, then financial and distribution assets, then around the 1890’s, the mass manufacturing processes… in the 21st Century, we have finally begun to democratize capitalism to allow the poorest of people to rise through education, training and relentless entrepreneurial spirit.
Each of us is born with our very own brain to use…or not to use. The information to fill it is now free for all, but no else can or should do it for you. If an adult is not educated today, it is most likely because they quit trying.
As with all people, I have my share of mistakes, failures and shortcomings in both life and business that I accept full responsibility for and I always seek forgiveness from those whom I have failed and hope to learn how to be a better person the next time I face such a challenge. The best we can do is to strive to improve a little each day in life, then, leave the world a little better off than we found it, for those who follow us.
Future articles will offer some guidance, mixed with a spoonful of good humor, so take them for what they are worth and I hope you find your own truths among the stories about the extraordinary life of a happy warrior. The goal is to make my experiences help our young people take heart and find a pathway to personal fulfillment and financial success by making life a sporting event that is fun! Embrace the challenges – enjoy the journey!
Take a chance today…eat dessert first. See, change didn’t hurt that much, did it?
Next week’s topic: “You can’t go back somewhere you ain’t never been “ – Unknown
Please send topics or questions for future discussion. Conversations lead to understanding; understanding leads to vision, vision leads to wherever your hard work will take you.
Email Bill Hewgley at
(About the Author: Bill Hewgley is president, Metalworking Solutions, LLC. Bill grew up near South Pittsburg, the youngest son of good parents of humble means. He married the girl of his dreams at a young age and worked his way through college at the University of Tennessee.
He is currently reaping the true rewards of a faithful hard working life with his bride of 40+ years in being able to enjoy their four wonderful grandchildren. Bill is having the time of his career heading up the team at Metalworking Solutions, a company he founded after retiring as President of American Manufacturing Company. One of his chief priorities now is to mentor this upcoming millennial generation, while honoring those who helped him find his own way in life, by passing it on.)