Advice From Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm

Walter Knott was the founder of Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park near Disneyland. He had ups and downs farming, but came across some abandoned berry plants that were a cross between a loganberry, blackberry and a raspberry. He cultivated the berries and made them famous, naming them boysenberry after their creator, Rudolph Boysen.

In 1928, Walter’s wife Cordelia opened a little tea room to help make ends meet. At first, they served sandwiches, rolls, jam and fresh berry pies. In 1934 Cordelia added fried chicken to the menu. In 1936 the average number of dinners served on the weekends was 620 a day. By 1937, they were serving 1,774 a day. In 1938 they served 265,000 dinners for the year. To amuse guests, who were sometimes waiting 3 1/2 hours, Walter started building an old west street that turned into Ghost Town, and eventually Knott’s Berry Farm theme park.

This was Walter’s thought about his success:
“The reason I think some people succeed and some don’t, is that some know what they want and others don’t. If you’re going to want a thing and expect to get it, you have to want it very badly, and you have to continue to want it. You can’t want it today, and a month from now have your mind off wanting something else.” Credit: Knott’s Preserved by Christopher Merritt. This book is sold at Knott’s Berry Farm.

When Walter said that some people know what they want, another way of saying this is that they were clear about what they were passionate about. The thing you are passionate about can’t be something that just sounds good or sounds cool. The thing you’re passionate about is something that you feel you’re meant to do and you love to do. If you’re not passionate about it, you will easily give up on it, and the next thing will draw your interest. If you don’t know what you are passionate about, think about what really sparked your interest when you were young, and go from there.

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