x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Life Lessons: wisdom from the Duke of Argyll

Torquhil Campbell, the 13th Duke of Argyll, calls Inveraray Castle in Scotland home. As ambassador for the luxury brand Royal Salute he was in Dubai for the brand's Nations Cup Polo Tournament.

The 13th The Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Campbell. Satish Kumar / The National
The 13th The Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Campbell. Satish Kumar / The National

1. You don't wake up one day, ready. My father never tutored me, but he told me my life's aim would be to hand on the family business in a better condition than I received it. My family has been on the West Coast of Scotland for 1,200 years. This is a lifetime's work. If you waited until you felt "ready", I'm not sure you'd ever start.

2. It's important to try to understand different cultures. People respect you a lot more if you make an attempt to learn about their culture and recognise that there is not simply one way of doing things. Travel is a tremendously enriching experience when you make an effort to learn.

3. Never be apologetic about enjoying life, luxury and glamour. The Nations Cup is the most glamorous polo event at the most glamorous polo venue in the Middle East. That's something to celebrate. Earlier this year my family visited India. The children are two, five and seven. They rode on camels, visited palaces and watched polo played by a maharaja. Those are extraordinary experiences and having them doesn't mean losing a sense of how fortunate they are. It's my duty to give my children every opportunity I can and to instill values in them. The ability to enjoy life, whatever it may offer, is a great gift.

4. Everybody has to have a bit of down time. I love what I do. I believe absolutely in the importance of running the estate and am proud of that heritage. I love my wife and children dearly. And as global ambassador for Royal Salute I travel the world meeting fascinating people and experiencing wonderful things. But sometimes you need to clear your mind. I love fly-fishing. I enjoy the tranquility and the ability to just focus on nothing but that one thing.

5. When times are bad you find out who your friends are. I've been visiting the UAE for 10 years. Last year the financial crisis was hitting and some people questioned the wisdom of a luxury brand coming here. But that's the time to show your belief in a place. Twelve months on you can feel the optimism.