We’re all going through a tough time right now. And when it comes to staying strong in the face of adversity, we went to a person who’s lived through some of life’s biggest challenges: our founder and CEO Charles Wilson.
Charles Wilson is a 95-years-young survivor of the Great Depression, a WWII hero, CEO and founder of Ernest, and an all-around great guy.
We sat down with Mr. Wilson for a Fireside Chat. Based on his unique past and wisdom, he told us ways how to persevere in spite of everything that’s going on.
We were lucky enough to gain rich insight about his time during and after the war and growing up during the Great Depression.
ENJOY THE SMALL THINGS
By talking with Mr. Wilson, we were reminded that during tough times, there can be wonderful moments to remember, no matter how small.
“Whenever we had a little time, we had a good time with ourselves,” Mr. Wilson said. He talked about spending time with his mother and brother, laughing, and taking care of one another.
Mr. Wilson remembered cherishing a new pair of ice skates and a 10-cent hamburger after a hard day’s work, during his youth.
The small things are never too small to enjoy.
During the Great Depression, when Mr. Wilson was growing up, there wasn’t much to go around. But that didn’t stop everyone from coming together as a community and helping each other in any way they could. “Everyone took care of everyone,” he said, “so wherever you were, you were able to get some food.”
He explained the incentive to get money back then wasn’t anything superficial. The motivation was to help others with what you received.
He also told the inspiring story of when his family had a store by the beach. Back then, his mother would give more money to the poor than to herself. This would make it hard for the family to make any profit, but it was beneficial to the community.
Family is the most important thing, especially in hard times.
Mr. Wilson said he can still remember the image of his mother walking down the street with her jewels to pawn, so she could have extra money for her two boys.
When Mr. Wilson was asked who his hero was growing up, he said simply, “My brother.”
When his brother got home from being a pilot, he supported his mother, brother, and grandmother. This was hard back then, but it had to be done for the family to survive.
They had to help each other no matter what.
FROM THEN TO NOW
These key notions can still be applied now, more than ever. Even when times are challenging, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together.
Things like family, community, and enjoying life are important to keep in mind during these tough times.
The simple acts of staying positive and focusing outside of yourself are important principles. These are ideas that you can take with you and implement in your life, moving forward, as we embark on this strange journey toward the unknown.
Be sure to listen to the whole discussion below.