This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 20, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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For regular viewers of this show, you know I like to share wisdom from my late mom and dad.
One line in particular from my dad might sound familiar. It was actually a piece of advice he'd keep offering, un-solicited, throughout my childhood.
'Neil,' he'd say, 'stay humble. In your case, it'll come in handy.'
What usually got him going was seeing my report card. He'd just shake his head and remind me, 'you know, son, the idea is to put a number 'in front' of the decimal point in that grade point average.'
As the years went by, I'd laugh, and he'd laugh, but what was said in jest, my dad earnestly meant to keep my head from getting too big.
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As you can see, it didn't work.
But I got his message nonetheless. Don't get too big for your britches. Stay grounded. Stay real. Try to stay humble.
Which reminds me of Toys 'R' Us.
You see, I do have a point here. And it's this.
Toys 'R' Us has been humbled. Once a category killer, this once-couldn't-fail retailer is failing. It just filed for bankruptcy, and hopes like so many also on the brink before it, to come back and fight another day.
It won't be easy.
This store that was once the top of the retail heap risks joining others who have failed on a giant familiar heap.
The ones who couldn't lose. But did.
Who set the standard, until they didn't.
Who were all that. Until they became, that's all.
Stop me if you've heard this before.
When AOL ruled the internet. Until it didn't.
When IMB was laughing at this upstart Microsoft. Until it couldn't.
When BlackBerry was all the rage. Until it wasn't.
You know, there was a time when Sony's Walkman was everywhere, Apple's iPod was nowhere.
When Kmart was king, and Walmart was not.
When Walmart was king, and Amazon was not.
Time and again.
Blockbuster before Netflix.
Yahoo before Google.
Print before broadcast.
Broadcast before cable.
Cable before the internet.
Industries that couldn't lose before encountering technologies they couldn't stop.
Technologies they couldn't see, perhaps too wrapped up in the self-satisfaction they couldn't control.
Until they lost control. And that smirk of success was wiped off by a steady slide in their sales.
I've seen it happen so often. And not just to companies.
The folks who thought Ronald Reagan could never be president, until he was.
And Hillary Clinton could never lose, until she did.
My dad was right. It's humbling to lose. But it's even more damning thinking you never will.
I think history is defined not by the events we expect, but by those we do not.
Maybe it's because we all live in the moment, that we forget it's only a moment.
Until the moment is gone and the success we took for granted is gone too.
There's a second part to my dad's advice I forgot to add.
'Neil,' he'd say, 'you're just going to have to work a lot harder.'
I guess he figured my brains would only take me so far.
Leave it to a suddenly humbled toy retailer to remind me yet again, my dad wasn't playing around.
My dad was right.
Incompetence hurts. But arrogance kills.
Success is fun. But assuming it's forever is fatal.
Take it from my dad.
Actually, take it from history.
Take nothing for granted, grant nothing to ego.
Stay humble. It really will come in handy.
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