7 Business And Life Lessons To Learn From Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren was not born into privilege. He is, instead, one of the modern American success stories. The son of Jewish immigrant parents, he grew up poor in the Bronx, but he wrote in his 1957 high school yearbook that one of his life’s goals was to be a millionaire. Today he not only achieved that goal, he has surpassed it, with his net worth estimated at $6 billion.

Ralph Lauren stepped down as the CEO of his long-standing fashion company Polo Ralph Lauren earlier this week, but his long and impressive career remains a triumphant testament to those who wish to pursue the American Dream. Lauren gave himself a goal: to escape the bonds of poverty and live his life as he envisioned living it. He took many risks along the way, but his perseverance and determination has brought him to riches perhaps beyond his wildest imagination. Here are seven lessons to remember from Ralph Lauren when it comes to achieving your goals.

1. Live to dream, and dream to live.

Perhaps as impressive as Lauren’s success was his ability to imagine. Growing up it had been a hobby of Lauren’s to dream of living like the movie stars lived; to throw himself into their world and imagine himself living that high class lifestyle. That same imaginative spirit lead him to develop the fashion style that Polo Ralph Lauren is now known for today. Ralph Lauren dared to dream of the seemingly impossible, and now he lives his dream everyday. With determination, hard work, and perseverance, you can do the same.

2. Control your own destiny: “I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.”

Every designer piece Ralph Lauren has made had been another dream he has achieved on his road to becoming a successful millionaire. Despite growing up poor in the Bronx, Ralph Lauren never let his position in life control the direction he decided to take it. His boss once said to him, “The world isn’t ready for Ralph Lauren.” Even though it wasn’t intended as such, Lauren took this as a compliment. He became determined to pursue his own vision for a fashion company and eventually began weaving the first fabrics of what would become Polo Ralph Lauren.

3. Be innovative.

No matter what industry you are in or what profession you practice, bringing new ideas to the table is what makes an individual, or in this case a company, progress. Ralph Lauren first achieved success by designing colorful and patterned ties in a world where thin and black uniform ties was still the norm. The decision paid off handsomely in the end, earning Lauren $500,000 in his first year alone. From there he was able to expand on new ideas and take his company in new directions. So the next time you have an idea, don’t be afraid to share it. You never know where it might lead you.

4. Be comfortable in your own shoes.

In the world of fashion, being comfortable in what you are wearing (both physically and socially) is vital to your success. Ralph Lauren understood that fashion trends come and go. What really lasts is a person’s personal taste and style. In his pursuit of the American Dream, Ralph Lauren never cowered to express his own individuality. He did not let fear of acceptance or failure stop him from living the life he wanted to live and running the company he wanted to run.

If you are constantly worried about how people perceive you or how you think you should appear to others, you will never be able to pursue your own true ambitions. Be comfortable in your decisions and your lifestyle, and make sure that you are not living anyone’s dream but your own.

5. Know yourself.

Ralph Lauren once said, “Personal style is about having a sense of yourself and what you believe in everyday.” He never failed to remain true to his own beliefs and tastes, and he tried to show a piece of himself in his work everyday. We cannot have a vision or a dream if we do not know who we are underneath. Staying in touch with our morals and our values is what keeps our dream in focus, and allows us to persevere in working towards accomplishing it.

Every once and a while, take the time to remind yourself of why you are doing what you’re doing, whether that’s trying to start a business, get a college degree, or be the next America Ninja Warrior. Keeping your goals in line with your beliefs will make chasing them much more enjoyable.

6. Stay positive.

Remembering that each day is a new opportunity is vital to both your personal and professional success. Ralph Lauren always tried to maintain a positive attitude towards life. He viewed everyday as a new opportunity to fail or succeed, but he recognized that no matter which outcome, he would gain something from the experience.

We all fail at something at one point or another. How we deal with our failure determines greatly the amount of success we can achieve. The next time you fail at something, step back and make note of what you have learned from it, and next time, you will be successful.

7. Do what you love and love what you do.

From day one, Ralph Lauren has never hated going to work in the morning. He took one of his personal passions and made a career of it for himself. Lauren always took care to express his personality in his work, while catering to the expressive needs of the larger populace. “Everything I make is my message, and for years my goal has been to make the things I love.” We all have our moody days and moments of doubt and joy in life, but if you can find a way to spend your life doing something you love, life’s other hindrances will seem that much smaller. Try and find passion in everything that you do, and you will find work becomes that much more bearable.