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Gary Cohn Quotes

Gary David Cohn

Gary Cohn quotes: on overcoming dyslexia, how he went from siding salesman to business badass, owning each day, and more.

“It’s all about having a goal and going for it whilst making detours along the way.”

“Have a goal. Know where you want to end up. Knowing where you want to end up is a lot easier than figuring out how to start and how to get there. You will figure out how to get there. Do not chart your career. Trust me; you do not want to chart your career.”

“Keep yourself motivated. You’ve got to be motivated, you’ve got to wake up every day and understand what that day is about; you’ve got to have personal goals: short-term goals, intermediate goals, and long-term goals. Be flexible in getting to those goals, but if you do not have goals, you will not achieve them.”

“You are competing. Every day you are competing and every day you are playing to win. So remember, wake up every morning and figure out how to win.”

“Know why you’re special. Understand what differentiates you from someone else. Make sure you have a way to distinguish yourself from everyone out there.”

“Ask questions, take risks. Asking questions and taking risks will differentiate you from the rest. You stand out by asking the questions, whether they are smart, whether they are dumb, but you have to have that desire to learn. Those that have the desire to learn will stand out. Those that work hard will stand out. The old adage that hard work will get you what you want is 100% true. Work hard, ask questions, and take risk. If there is one thing out of this on how to stand out, it’s taking risks.”

“Every time you get into a new job, new location, you have an amazing opportunity in front of you. You get to play dumb for as long as people will allow you to play dumb. You get to ask all the dumb questions, you get to ask multiple people the dumb questions, and you get to make mistakes. Thats how you stand out in the crowd.”

“The one thing you realize if you’re going to be successful—no matter where you grew up, no matter what your educational level is, A) you can succeed, but, B) the only way you’re going to succeed is by outworking everyone else.”

“It’s about having the desire, having the drive, having the need and having the want to succeed. Who cares if you didn’t go to a target school. It is a level playing field out there. It really is.”

“The best thing for all of us is to be in an industry that’s well respected, well regarded and well thought of.”

“If you don’t invest in risk management, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, it’s a risky business.”

“Every company should stand on their own two feet.”

“Our small businesses in this country—they are key to our success, they are key to our economic growth and they are key to jobs.”

“We’re going to get a return on investment from the children of this country being educated, they’re going to join the workforce and they’re going to be productive and they’re going to pay income tax, and they’re also going to be able to start businesses and hire new people of their own.”

“Putting out a fire is one job. Repairing the damage it caused is another, longer and much more challenging one. We have jobs that need to be filled, and the key to an economic recovery is getting people back to work. If we’re going to get ourselves moving forward, the most important thing we can do is getting people back in the normalcy of getting up and going to work and performing their services and getting paid for their service.”

“There is no shortage of opportunity in the U.S.”

“So, like every one of you, I did the only smart thing to do, I moved back home and started having a great time enjoying my life, until that one, early Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. when my father walked into my room and turned on my lights. I had been in bed for about an hour, I think, and said, ‘What are you going to do with the rest of your life?’ I ironically told him, ‘You’re looking at it.’ That did not go over very well in my house.”

“Upon graduation, believe it or not, I had no job. I had no interviews. I had no prospects. I had no worries. What I did have, I had passion. I had enormous passion. I had passion for financial markets. I had fallen in love with financial markets.”

“I learned a lot about being confident, about learning how to succeed.”

“I did get introduced to the financial markets while I was in college. And I think I learned also how to sort of filter out all of the non-rational, or non-sensible, noise and sort of concentrate on what matters, and that’s really what markets are about.”

“I’ve thought about it many times, I really have, because it defined who I am. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dyslexia.”

“I was held back for a year because of my poor reading, but the extra year didn’t help. My undiagnosed dyslexia made focusing on school work difficult and I often had behavioral issues because of my frustration and inability to reflect my work ethic in grades. In attempts to learn, I often came across as disruptive in the classroom and teachers continually struggled to control me. Getting all the way through high school was a major concern and I was often told I would never make it. At one point I was even told that I would be a truck driver when I got older.”

“Despite my ‘ugly days,’ I did end up with a high school diploma. I then went on to graduate from American University and began working for U.S. Steel as an aluminum siding salesman. It was during this period of life when I impulsively decided to hop in a cab with a Wall Street executive and talked my way into a job. Determined to prove myself, and armed with years of strengths acquired because of my dyslexia, I eventually became the President of Goldman Sachs, despite the pessimism from my teachers and peers.”

“The one trait in a lot of dyslexic people I know is that by the time we got out of college, our ability to deal with failure was very highly developed. And so we look at most situations and see much more of the upside than the downside.”

“These are some of the experiences that have shaped me, reflecting on the value of diversity, the importance of perseverance and learning how to turn failure into success.”

“My decisions are my decisions. I have to do what is best for me and my family. I have not been bashful saying what I think.”

“Going to school is not really education. I was a horrible student. It’s really who’s in front of the classrooms and who’s endearing themselves to the kids and who’s making the kids want to learn and who’s inspiring them to be curious about any topic in the world.”

“I know from my experiences in life that educators had an enormous impact and influence on me. And fortunately or unfortunately, I had a lot of experience with different educators.”

“When I look at myself, I have been—really—a lucky American to end up where I am.”

“I know I succeeded in life.”

Cory Johnson: likes bumping #OnRepeat through the Bang & Olufsen sound system in his naturally aspirated V10; post-workout pumps; big boobs; dumb comedy; and your mom’s potato salad. He hates awkward handshakes. But who cares? Let’s talk about you.