Most of the “wealthy” people today were not born rich or with the advantages and opportunities that just lifted them up to the financial top. However, in every bootstrapping entrepreneur’s story of his journey to success, there seems to be a certain undeniable element of MAGIC in the twists and turns that led him to the top.
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If I had to reduce into a few words the secret to success I would say, “Whatever we think about controls our outcomes.”
The famous journalist and radio personality Earl Nightingale wrote a book many years ago called The Strangest Secret. In that book Nightingale penned these famous words: “You become what you think about!” That sentiment has been said many times throughout the ages, from Author James Allen in his book, As a Man Thinketh, to King Solomon in the Book of Proverbs where he captured the thought this way: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
It is an unassailable truth, you do become what you think about. If you think of yourself as downcast, hopeless and helpless, that’s what life will give you back. On the other hand, if you think of yourself as prosperous, smart, engaging, and creative, then guess what? That’s exactly what you will be. The way you think is the blueprint for what you become, what you believe, and what you achieve.
So think about what you want in life. If you want wealth and success, great loving relationships, abundance and prosperity in every area of your life, just think about it and the marvelous computer in your head — your brain — will show you how to achieve it. Remember that you are the master; not the slave. You direct the orchestra, and it plays the tune you direct.
In life we learn from experiences. Some of our earliest experiences may tell us that we will never be rich, that it is unattainable, even that it is evil to have and accumulate wealth. Humans learn by observation and emulation. Many of us have watched mom and dad labor in obscurity, work hard and be rewarded little. We have seen others follow their dreams, yet fail in the end. And we think, “could I really accomplish something that so many others have failed to achieve?”
In my years in business as a rags-to-riches millionaire entrepreneur, I have had the good fortune to work with or share connections to millionaires, multi-millionaires, and, yes, billionaires. They have ranged from the millionaire next door type to celebrities, U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents, CEOs and scrappy entrepreneurs who created great companies from the ground up.
I have observed one common connection in all of these wealth builders, one difference that seems to separate them from the masses of wannabes, and that is that they seem to think differently about wealth and how to attain it. They have a different energy and understanding about money and success. They have cut through the myths and taboos of wealth and have given themselves permission mentally, emotionally and spiritually to be in a mindset where they feel entitled to wealth and worthy to receive it. Universally they are big dreamers and big thinkers; they are willing to take on any challenge; and nothing is impossible in their vocabulary of life. They are willing to eat, sleep and drink their passions and business pursuits to achieve their goals. They are driven, focused and have an unbelievable capacity for hard work. They are not easily discouraged or defeated. This sets them apart from those who would dream of fame and fortune, but never lift a finger to really achieve it.
We sometimes forget that these wealth builders are actually humans with flaws, foibles and feelings just like the rest of us; in the end they are just people. Some are very smart, and some not so smart by traditional measurements, but they are all deep thinkers, believers, and doers. Their feats may seem super-human, but they are people just like you. Many of them grew up dirt poor in poverty and had the deck stacked against them from birth, but they all learned to overcome every obstacle that was put in their path.
Let’s examine a few from the Forbes 400 Richest People List along with some of the lesser known rags-to-riches individuals, to see how they rose to wealth:
John Paul DiJoria, was born into a humble family in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. By the time he was nine, he began selling Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. After high school graduation, he went on to serve with honors in the U.S. Navy. A few years later, he returned to L.A. and was struggling to make ends meet, selling encyclopedias, pumping gas, and even becoming homeless at one point. After two years selling encyclopedias, John Paul received the “Man of the Year” Award from Collier’s Encyclopedias for being their top salesman. Several years later, John Paul met Paul Mitchell while working as a district sales manager for a hair care company. In 1980, the two men teamed up and with only $700 between them, they launched Paul Mitchell hair products with only three products.
Doris, a lady I knew from Indianapolis, was a divorced mother of three in her fifties with a lousy ex-husband who took advantage of her and ruined her credit. She had no money and could only find part-time work. She was one step away from homelessness, with collection agencies hounding her day and night being demanding, nasty and threatening.
Doris was sitting in her apartment one night wondering how she was going to support herself and her three children and while looking through all of the collection letters for all of her debts, she noticed that one of the letters was from a really small collection company, which apparently worked for larger collection companies collecting debts for them. She had an aha moment and the next day, she called one of the larger collection companies and told them she was a smaller collection firm and would like to go to work collecting debts for them. They hired her and she began making calls immediately, only she decided to take a different approach and be super nice to people.