Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Ronald Hettich, a man who practically embodies the term ‘jack of all trades’. Besides working as an engineer from 9 to 5, he has also found time to race cars, sail competitively, invent, start his own real estate business, and become a member of the GREY Club. Just doing one of these things on the side would be exhausting, so I set out to try and find where his self-actualizing spirit comes from.
You do a lot of activities these days, were you this busy as a kid too?
Yeah, I think so. I learned to ski when I was 2 years old and I don’t think I’ve stopped learning things since.
Who taught you?
My Dad, he loved to ski. Half the reason I learned in the first place was that my father had built his own ski chalet.
From scratch, or was it more of a remodel?
From scratch, there wasn’t even a foundation to start with. It was on the side of the mountain. We had to get in the car and get a running start to build the momentum we needed to get to the top. That always seemed like an adventure. I think it had a big impact on me.
Did your father pass on any other skills?
My Dad was also really into sailboats and I would crew with him for ocean racing. We won a few things and had the fastest time in a yacht club race from Duck Island to Block Island. We even got a plaque to commemorate it.
That’s cool, have you passed those skills on to your kids?
Yes, I taught my daughters to sail when they were young, now we sail together every summer.
Growing up, what were you the most excited to learn?
Oh, motocross definitely.
Wow, how did that come about?
I saved money from my paper route and bought my first dirt bike. I learned trail riding and how to fix motorcycles with my father. Back in those days bikes were not reliable and could be finicky. So I saved up some more and got a new motocross bike and competed in a few races. It was a lot of fun!
How did you do?
I was just a teenager so I wasn’t going to beat the more experienced guys. But for my high school self, it was like getting to go to the Superbowl.
It’s clear that by learning early on to challenge himself and be adventurous, Ronald was able to learn a lesson many adults have yet to do. Sometimes all it takes to make something happen is for you to decide to simply charge ahead. Build momentum and push forward, learn from bumps in the road and never stop looking toward the horizon.