What Do You Love About Life?
Do what you love; the money will follow.
One of the greatest stories of following what you love is the story of Milton Hershey. Milton loved chocolate. Who doesn’t? The food products that bear Milton S. Hershey's name represent an ongoingdedicationtoqualityandvalue—acommitment established by Hershey Foods’unique founder.
In the early 1900s, Milton Hershey made one of the great American fortunes through dogged persistence and the courage to pursue a dream. Though he was modest and unassuming in appearance,Mr.Hersheywasashrewdanddetermined businessman. He had a genius for timing and an instinctive ability to choose loyal and able people to help him.
The early years of Milton Hershey instilled in him the value of hard work. He was born on September 13, 1857, in a farmhouse near the Central Pennsylvania village of Derry Church. He was a descendant of people who had come to Pennsylvania from Switzerland and Germany in the 1700s. Raised as a Mennonite, he attended school only through to the fourth grade before his father, Henry Hershey, put him to work as a printer’s apprentice in Gap, Pennsylvania.
It soon became apparent his talents did not lie in printing, he went on to become an apprentice to a Lancaster candy-maker. In 1876 atthe age of 18, he opened his own candy shop in Philadelphia. The business failed after six years. The next stop was Denver, Colorado, where he accepted a job with a local caramel manufacturer. There, he learned that superior results could be achieved when fresh milk was used in the caramel-making process.
Mr. Hershey moved on to Chicago in 1883, then to New Orleans and later to New York City—attempting to establish his own candy business in each location. He returned to Lancaster, in 1886, where, after raising the necessary capital, he began the business which established his reputation as a candy-maker—the Lancaster Caramel Company.
Knowledge and Foresight
Mr. Hershey became fascinated with German chocolate-making machinery on exhibit at the Chicago International Exposition in1893. He bought the equipment for his Lancaster plant and soon began producing his own chocolate coatings for caramels.
In early 1894, the Hershey Chocolate Company was born as a subsidiary of his Lancaster caramel business. In addition to chocolate coatings, Mr. Hershey made breakfast cocoa, sweet chocolate, and baking chocolate.
In 1900, Mr. Hershey sold the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million. However, he retained the chocolate manufacturing equipment and the rights to manufacture chocolate, believing a large market existed for affordable confections that could be mass produced. He proceeded to prove his case.
He returned to his birthplace, Derry Church, and located his chocolate manufacturing operation in the heart of Pennsylvania’s dairy country. There he could obtain the large supplies of fresh milk needed to make fine milk chocolate.
In 1903, with the money he received for his caramel business, he began to build what is now the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant. It opened in 1905, and Mr. Hershey’s great contribution to the American food industry had begun—the mass production of milk chocolate. Milton Hershey’s employees were
The chocolate business continued to thrive under Mr. Hershey’s guidance, as did the community he established around it. A bank, department store, school, park, churches, golf courses, zoo, and even a trolley system (to bring in workers from nearby towns) were all built in rapid succession. Although the town was well established by its 10th anniversary in 1913, Mr. Hershey started a second building boom in the 1930s. During the Depression, he kept men at work constructing a grand hotel, a community building, a sports arena, and a new office building for the chocolate factory.
Mr. Hershey’s belief that an individual is morally obligated to share the fruits of success with others resulted in significant contributions to society. Together with his wife, Catherine, he established the most prominent of his philanthropic endeavors—the Hershey Industrial School—in 1909. It is now called the Milton Hershey School. Saddened because they had no children of their own, the Hersheys were anxious to put their growing fortune to good use.
Today, the 10,000-acre school houses and provides education for nearly 1,100 children whose family lives have been disrupted. Through the Hershey Trust Company, the School owns 31.4 percent of Hershey Foods’Common Stock classes outstanding, controls 76 percent of the corporation’s voting shares, and is a direct beneficiary of Hershey Foods’success. In addition, Hershey Trust Company owns 100 percent of the stock of Hershey Entertainment and Resort Company, another firm developed from several smaller businesses established by Milton Hershey.
A man of principle, Mr. Hershey was a“doer”" not a philosopher. He never wrote and seldom spoke about his beliefs. Nevertheless, he obviously thought a lot about such matters as success and the value and purpose of money. Throughout his life, he was committed to the highest standards of quality, honesty, fairness, and integrity. His imagination and drive, his ceaseless labor and his care and concern for others were an inspiration to all who worked with him.
Milton Hershey was the rarest of men—both a dreamer and a builder. He had the genius to develop his chocolate business in the right place at the right time. His personal convictions about the obligations of wealth and the quality of life in the town he founded have made the company, community, and school a living legacy.
Milton Hershey did what he loved to do. He discovered his passion and pursued it relentlessly. Think about him again. How many people would warmly accept you and embrace you if you told them that you were going into the business of making chocolate? Wouldn’t most people consider you insane?
A golden key to long-term happiness in whatever you do in your life is,“You must love it enough to possess a passion for doing it.”Milton Hershey loved chocolate. I know...you love chocolate too. But Milton Hershey loved it so much that he created a dynasty that reached farther than most could dream. He affected people’s lives and made an impact that has changed, not just Derry Church, Pennsylvania, but the whole world.
Do what you love to do. Don’t just go and do something for the money. Do it because you feel passionate about it. Then and only then can true success and happiness fill your life.