It seems those who don’t have any wealth either want it badly, or, on the flip side, are envious of their neighbor. I can assume if you are reading this blog you either are already wealthy or want to become wealthy. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be wealthy. If you worked hard for a goal, made sacrifices along the way, were ethical, and did it legally, you should be rewarded. Congratulations! Your hard work paid off. Regardless of what this current administration says about being wealthy – it is NOT evil. Similar to a gun, money is just a tool. Like any tool it can be used for good or evil purposes. Look at the recent pledges by the world’s richest people to donate half of their net worth. If Bill Gates wasn’t the savvy businessperson he was, he wouldn’t be able to do what he’s doing today.
I’m also not referring to the book “The Secret” and its metaphysical description – think it and it shall come. I do believe looking at the positives in life will help you achieve them, but you must take action on your ideas. No one is going to drop a million dollars on your lap if you think it. The book is little more than a “pump you up” type of book. What I’m talking about is what I’ve experienced in my life and from my observations what I think happens with other wealthy people. Build it, and they will come.
Do you want to know the secret?
Take Risk and Lots of It.
It may sound simple, but it’s the truth! That’s not to say go jump out of an airplane and skydive the first time without someone to guide you. That’s not to say you should bet everything you own on one roulette spin. I’m talking about taking calculated risks. When you spot an opportunity, you go after it. Be it with your personal life, investing, your career, or with your business. Think about all of the times in your life when you did go out on a limb? How different would your life be if you didn’t:
- Apply to that college?
- Go out on that job interview for that hot startup?
- Ask your spouse for that first date?
- Start saving and bought that investment that increased 200%?
- Start that business you now own?
In my case my life would be a world different than it is now. I have grown emotionally so much in the process. Things I would have considered impossible or hard for me ten years ago, I now do on a daily occurrence. If you always take the safe path and do not break out of your comfort zone, long term, you most surely will fail. You’ll fail to live to your potential and fail to grow as a person.
Did everything I’ve done in my life worked out as planned? Of course not. The many risks I’ve taken have also led to some failures. I’ve gotten hurt emotionally, and in some cases lost some big money.
- I left a big startup to start my own business. I left hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table after they went public. It was the #1 IPO in 1999 that then later nosedived 4 years later – bankrupt and blew through $1 Billion dollars.
- The business partners I started with 10 years ago were a big mistake. They never fully understood, nor invested the time in, the business.
- My second business partner up and left the business with no prior warning. He literally dumped everything he had for the business at my doorstep.
Not everything I’ve planned in my life worked out the way I anticipated. I just kept moving forward – I realized what’s worked and what hasn’t, and moved on. If you aren’t betting the farm, what’s the worst that can happen? Instead of betting it all, I’m suggesting make small bets, and lots of them. If it’s investing money, maybe no more than 5-10% of your entire net worth. Start that new business idea part-time after hours and see what happens. Don’t just jump into it full time without tipping your toe in the water first.
Now these aren’t truly bets in the traditional sense of the word. I will assume you plan and research any business opportunity or investment idea before you go out and do it. The old saying, “People don’t plan to fail, but fail to plan” most definitely rings true. Have you ever noticed what someone might consider risky yet someone else doesn’t? Why is that? Well in some cases the person truly is ignorant and doesn’t understand the complexities of something they are about to do. They don’t fully understand the risks. The end result though it worked out fine for them. They may come out ahead, but they were lucky. On the other hand, there are others that did the planning, studied the investment, understood the risks and also in the end came out ahead.
The person who is lucky is rarely successful for the long haul. Over time their luck will run out, and their skills will be the ultimate determination of their success. To put it another way, they revert back to the mean. A person with skill may not initially be successful, but for the long haul will achieve success. Some say in order to be successful requires luck. That statement is only partially true. Success comes out of hard work. The harder I work, the luckier I become. My motto to life and investing: the more times I take risk, the luckier I become in the long run.