by Sunil Bali, 02-02-14

By all accounts Henry Kravis is a jolly decent chap, with a likeable disposition and good sense of humour.

He does, however, suffer from a phobia which has severely impacted his life.

Henry suffers from quitophobia: he has an intense fear of quitting.

Henry says his phobia lies at the root of his success in business.

Henry Kravis is co-founder of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, has a personal fortune of $4.7Billion and has given away well over £100million to good causes.

Kravis says that his quitophobia has helped him persist through the





that he has faced over the years.

When asked why he named his racing yacht "Tenacious", media mogul and founder of CNN, Ted Turner replied, "It’s the story of my life. I don’t quit. I don’t surrender. There are a bunch of flags on my boat, but there ain’t no white flags."

It turns out that Churchill’s, "Never, never, never give up," was more than just a platitude.

Extensive research by Professor Angela Lee Duckworth shows that more than IQ, talent or any other factor, the No. 1 predictor of a person’s success is their unflagging commitment to a long-term goal, or as she says, their grit.

In short, no grit = no pearl.

It’s why having a backbone is far more important than a wishbone.

I’ll leave the last word on the subject to General Douglas MacArthur who said, “Age may wrinkle the body, but quitting wrinkles the soul.”


Last Friday’s deadline for tax returns in the UK reminded me of the following gem.

This is a genuine reply from the Inland Revenue which was published in The Guardian newspaper.

Dear Mr Addison,

I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise. I will address them, as ever, in order.

Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a "begging letter". It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a "tax demand". This is how we at the Inland Revenue have always, for reasons of accuracy, traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted. However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies" is at best a little ill-advised. In common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin" or, come to that, a "sodding charity". More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain, with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services", a moment’s rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to "stump up for the whole damned party" yourself. The estimates you provide for the Chancellor’s disbursement of the funds levied by taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark. Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish lickspittles" and "dancing whores" whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to, for example, "that box-ticking facade of a university system."

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:

1. The reason we don’t simply write "Muggins" on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;

2. You can rest assured that "sucking the very marrow of those with nothing else to give" has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn’t render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped. In the meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you did choose to "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India" you would still owe us the money.

Please send it to us by Friday.

Yours sincerely,

HJ Lee
Customer Relations
Inland Revenue