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Charlie Munger's The Most Meaningful Things In Life | Collection: Charlie Munger #254



[Transcript]

AUDIENCE MEMBER

I was wondering what was the most meaningful thing that you did with your life?


CHARLIE MUNGER

Well, I think the family and children is the most meaningful thing most people do with their life.



And I’ve been reasonably fortunate... I don’t think I’ve been a perfect husband. I’m lucky to have had as much felicity as I got. And I always needed a certain amount of toleration from the fair sex. I started wrong and I never completely fixed myself.


I should tell this group about... you come here as a cult to talk to a cult-leader? I want to take you back in history, you’ll see what an inferior person you’re now trusting.


When I was a freshman in Omaha Central High, there was a friend of the family, a girl my age. She had gone off to summer camp the year before and she met a blonde goddess. A voluptuous 13 year old. And I was a skinny under-developed whatever and so forth. ‘You gotta take my blonde goddess to this dance’.


And so I wanted to impress this ‘blonde goddess’ and so I pretended to smoke which I didn’t. (Laughter) And she was wearing a net dress and I set her on fire! (Laughter) But I was quick witted and I throw Coca-Cola all over her and in due time the fire was out.

And that’s the last I saw of the blonde goddess. (Laughter)


And then I said, ‘well I’ve gotta make more time with the girls’. And I wanted to get a letter at Omaha Central High. Of course I was no good at any sport. So I went down to the rifle range and learned they gave letters in rifle shooting.


And I was so skinny that I could shoot a 100 in the sitting position by sitting cross-legged and putting one elbow on each foot. Try it, you’ll break your neck. But I could shoot a hundred every time. So I was a good rifle shooter and they gave me a letter. But I was so skinny and short and underdeveloped that it went from one arm pit to the other.


And I walked down the hallway trying to impress the girls and they wouldn’t turn their head. What they said was, ‘how did a skinny little unattractive runt like that get a letter?’ (Laughter)


And then I had another experience. There was a girl who had a name I still remember, Zibby Bruington. She was a senior and a very popular senior. And I was a nerd sophomore. And somehow she agreed with me to go to a party in one of the out-buildings at the Omaha Country Club. Perhaps because she liked one of my friends who was a big strapping fellow.


So I took Zibby to this party in my 1934 Ford, and it sleeted and got rainy, and so forth. And I managed to stick the Ford in the mud and I couldn’t get out of it. And Zibby and I had to walk for several miles through sleet. (Laughter) That was the last I ever saw of Zibby Bruington. (Laughter)


And then my car stayed in the mud and I neglected to put in anti-freeze and the temperature went way down suddenly and the block broke! And of course it was too expensive to fix. In fact, I lost my car and my father wouldn’t buy a new one because he said, ‘why should I buy a new car for a guy whose dumb enough not to put anti-freeze in it?' (Laughter)


This is the person you’re coming from miles to see! (Laughter) And so I didn't get a new car. My life is just one long litany of mistakes and failure. And it went on and on and on.


And politics! I ran to be the president of the DSIC in grade school, The Dundee School Improvement Association. I had the most popular boy in school as my campaign manager. I came in second by miles. I was a total failure in politics.


There’s hardly anything I succeeded at. Now, I tell you all this because I know a nerd when I see one. And there are a lot of nerds here – (Laughter) – who can tell stories like mine. And I want you to feel it’s not hopeless. (Laughter) Just keep trying.


 

[YAPSS Takeaway]

The most meaningful things in life is living and enjoy every moment of success and failure because that's what life is all about. Never give up, just keep trying.



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