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Successful Businessmen: Born or Made

Cyprus Mail, March 2014

Andrey Dashin is the founder of ForexTime Ltd (FXTM), Chairman of the Board of Directors and shareholder of the Alpari brand. Recollecting his experiences as a young aspiring businessman, he discusses what it takes to be successful and talks about the intrinsic qualities one needs to fulfill their dreams.

What does it take to be a successful businessman? Some say it’s adequate capital to get you started, others say it’s the support from family and friends, I’ve even heard people saying it’s that one person who plays a decisive role in your life, who is your mentor and your inspiration, whose advice you always revert to in times of need. I say all of those things are important, but nothing is more important than your own character and the spark you have within, because it’s a cut-throat world and you have to be stubborn, determined, confident and resilient to succeed.

When I started thinking about being a businessman, the word didn’t even exist in Soviet Russia. There were no movies or books about the business world to refer to; we were only familiar with the word “entrepreneur”. And that’s what I wanted to be. With the few resources that were available to me on the topic, I started exploring this novel term and trying to learn as much as I could; but there were no public figures to look up to, no one in the society at the time to inspire me. It was through my personal ambition and drive that I got where I am today. As the years went by and I began my studies, more and more information was made available and Management was introduced in the higher education system too, so naturally the environment I was in became more favorable and being a businessman became a viable dream to reach. It still wasn’t easy, but it was what I had destined myself to be, so I didn’t stop until I reached my destination.

Is it easier for the current generation of young aspiring businessmen to succeed? I’m not sure. From one perspective of course it’s easier – with the vast amount of books, films and seminars on starting your own empire and the many business moguls around to act as a source of advice and inspiration, yes, it’s easier. From another perspective however I can’t help but feel that no matter how many books you read or seminars you attend, if you don’t have the instinctive quality that it takes to go out there and chase your dream relentlessly, you won’t succeed. Throughout my development as a businessman I read many books on how to build an empire, but the truth is you need to take the essence of these books and create something unique.

Ultimately, you need to pave your own way to success because success is defined in part by the information available to you but mostly by your character and the decisions you make. Personally, most of the books I’ve read simply confirmed the conclusions I reached and theories I formed from my own experiences and practical life.

It took bravery to tap into new territory and stubbornness to defy the fear of failure and continue wading through all the obstacles met, but as the great Greek poet Cavafy said: “As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon – don’t be afraid of them… Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for.”

Note: The content in this article comprises personal opinions and ideas and should not be taken or misunderstood as investment advice.