152. Nuggets of Wisdom & My Thoughts on 'The Founder'

I love a good ol' fashion feel good story. I love a book or movie where you get to cheer for the protagonist. Where you witness their challenges and triumphs and somehow find inspiration for your own journey. It's stories like the Pursuit of Happyness, Julie and Julia, Rudy, Finding Forrester, or heck even Trading Places. Yes, Eddie Murphy played a con man, but when he gets revenge against the elitist snobs, you root for him in the end. 

Well, The Founder wasn't one of those movies. 

Someone recommended this movie to me a couple of weeks ago. Once I heard that this movie contained jewels about business, I knew I had to rent it. That's what I did. I also expected a story about the humble beginnings and worldwide explosion of McDonald's to be another inspiring, motivating tale about a determined dreamer finding success in his journey.

It may have started that way, but it quickly declined. 

The Founder is the story of Ray Kroc, a man who is responsible for turning McDonald's into a worldwide phenomenon. As a milkshake mixer salesman, he stumbled upon two brothers in San Bernardino, California who created a locally successful concept for a restaurant. This walk-up restaurant emphasized speed, service, and friendliness, something Kroc was not used to. Kroc was accustomed to poorly managed drive-ins that attracted younger, rougher crowds. The McDonald Brothers was on to something Kroc felt America could appreciate. He was right.

Soon Kroc convinces the McDonald Brothers that he should work with them. His goal was to help them successfully franchise McDonald's from sea to shining sea. Kroc, although aggressive in his approach, delivered on his promise. He definitely helped them to expand quickly. The fast service concept caught on.

But, Kroc wanted more. He was tired of being in debt and wanted to renegotiate his contract. When the McDonald Brothers declined, he found another way to strong arm them -- he entered into the real estate business. He purchased property where the franchisees had to pay him for leasing on his property. Ingenious. 

As ingenious as this was, Kroc did not come across as being an honorable, ethical, or moral person. I won't go into every detail, but throughout the movie, you feel sorry for many of the people Kroc comes into contact with. He ends up being the antagonist of his own story. 

Now, look. I know exactly what you're thinking. All's fair in love and business. I get it. It's life. Some people are more passionate or ruthless than others. But, I did learn a valuable lesson besides the value of being persistent and never giving up (you know, the cliches).

I mostly learned that there are more important things than having material possessions, being financially successful, or wearing the mogul title. I learned that it's important to be right within your soul.

 

The movie didn't show the consequences of Kroc's actions when he betrayed the trust of people in his circle or when he tried to cut corners to make a profit. However, I understand a little something about life. You cannot put negative energy in the atmosphere and not expect it to come back around in some way. 

Just look at McDonald's now. It doesn't have the greatest reputation in the world. It is known for promoting unhealthy food options that cause bodily disease. Food that is full of hormones and other chemicals that prove to be toxic. 

Am I overreacting? Maybe. But, I wasn't left with a good taste in my mouth after watching the movie. Yes, I want to be successful. Yes, I believe in persistence and getting the things you want out of life. But, I also want to be right within my soul. I don't want to betray those who trust me with their prized possessions and secrets. 

Live right within your soul. Don't just do things for money. Money will not comfort you when you're sick, lonely, hurting, upset, or disappointed. Therefore, don't allow something as limited as money to bring you unlimited pain because of questionable actions you may take to get it.

Having morals, values, and good character are far more superior than the deceitfulness of riches.