This is part 3 of a series on Money. To read the previous blog entries, please click on the links at the bottom of this blog.
It’s easy for those who do not have much money to think that those who do have money are lucky, blessed or criminal. I know, because I spent much of my life not having much money, and this is what I often thought about people who I considered wealthy. They either won the lottery, God blessed them more than others, or they did something illegal, which made me feel better about my own lack of financial success because it didn’t seem to be up to me. I wasn’t really responsible for my financial situation.
Then I went to work as a door-to-door salesmen, and my perspective drastically changed regarding why some people had money and others didn’t. I spent most of my time speaking to business owner & entrepreneurs, hearing their stories and listening to them discuss their business. I quickly realized that most wealthy people were wealthy on purpose; it wasn’t an accident. I began to study what wealthy people did compared to those who seemed chronically poor or financially illiterate, and I began noticing some patterns.
And that’s when it hit me: I didn’t have to be poor for the rest of my life if I didn’t want to be. I had the ability to change the financial outcome of my life IF I was willing to do the things I witnessed wealthy people doing. In short, I had to learn the skill set of the wealthy and be willing to do the work.
In high school, I had the privilege of playing for Bud Lathrop, the winningest basketball coach in the state of Missouri, and he used to always say to us, “Successful people have formed the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t want to do.” I had no idea at the time, but by repeating this statement to us each practice, Coach Lathrop was laying the foundation for the very principles I was rediscovering through the business professionals I met every day.
So what is the skill set of the wealthy? Here is what I’ve learned so far:
- Every situation is an opportunity to learn. There is a saying – Leaders are Learners – and it implies that those out in front are always looking to improve. Whether it’s through books, books on tape, seminars, mentors, co-workers, associates or experiences, the wealthy intentionally find the people, resources and opportunities that will help them win in the marketplace.
- Failure is an opportunity to improve. From the earliest days in school, people are systematically trained to avoid failure, and so they do. However, the wealthy welcome opportunities to try, embracing the fact that failure is possible. In doing so, they experience the opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t, and they capitalize on what works.
- Fear is acknowledged, but it is not a deterrent to action. I recently heard a business owner I hold in high regard speak of something new he was doing in his business, and he made the following statement, to his staff, no less: “I’m not afraid of this anymore.” I was amazed when I heard this, not because he was admitting this to his staff, but because he really was afraid when he started trying this new approach in his business. He was afraid, but he tried it anyways, and that’s common among wealthy people.
- Having goals is a must. Doing business without goals is like going on a trip without a destination or a map. Wealthy people spend a lot of time creating and evaluating their goals just like a pilot creates a flight plan and evaluates it until he reaches his destination. must be clearly stated, easy to measure, written down on paper, and much bigger than what seems possible.
- Work is something to be enjoyed. Most wealthy people enjoy work like other people enjoy watching TV or spending time on Facebook. It’s not a burden; rather, it energizes them, and they look forward to getting started each day.
- Money makes money faster than people make money. Wealthy people have learned that money will always work harder than they will, and it works around the clock, which is why wealthy people have investments of some kind. In general, wealthy people start businesses, own businesses, own shares of businesses or owns property, all of which generate streams of revenue.
Think of getting wealthy as learning a new game. When I started playing golf, I was terrible. I failed over and over and over, but I kept playing and, eventually, I improved. I learned how to drive the ball, hit an iron shot, chip and putt, and now I’m a pretty good golfer. I had to learn the skills necessary to be a good golfer in order to start winning in golf. In order to make more money, one simply has to learn the skills of making money in order to starting winning at the game of being wealthy.