I've had the privilege of knowing Ray Chambers as both a mentor and a friend for almost a decade. After a legendary career on Wall Street, where he was acknowledged as having developed the modern day leveraged buyout (the acquisition of Gibson Greetings in 1982), he did his last major transaction just prior to the '87 crash and would go on to close the firm roughly two years later.
The reason for his somewhat abrupt transition was simple: After having achieved almost unimaginable success as an investor, Ray realized he wasn't happy. Subsequently, he dedicated himself to studying happiness with the same intellectual rigor, discipline, and intuition that led him to the top of Wall Street, and concluded he wanted to pursue a life of philanthropic activity.
Over the next 25+ years, he went on to found or lead efforts such as the National Mentoring Partnership, the Points of Light Foundation, America's Promise, The Millennium Promise Alliance, Malaria No More, and today is the special emissary to the United Nations to help eradicate deaths due to Malaria. His success with Malaria led the Secretary General to ask Ray to help oversee the UN's efforts to realize all of its health-related Millennium Development Goals. As far as having a positive impact on the world, it doesn't get much bigger than that.
I've learned a lot from Ray through the years, but the advice I find myself coming back to most often is his five keys to achieving happiness. While some of the suggestions are more challenging to live by then others (just try being loving vs. being right the next time you find yourself in an argument), all are worth aspiring to on a daily basis.
Hope you find his advice as invaluable as I have:
1. Live in the moment
2. It's better to be loving than to be right
3. Be a spectator to your thoughts, especially when you become emotional
4. Be grateful for at least one thing every day
5. Help others every chance you get