If you walk up to anybody on the street and ask them what they could use more of, money would in all likelihood be at the top list for the most part. Everybody wants to be rich. The problem is how to make that happen. Go online or into a bookstore and you’ll find a whole industry devoted to telling people how to attain that goal. Unfortunately, and many may have seen this coming, there is no quick or easy way to become rich overnight. The only way anyone has ever gotten rich is through hard work and determination. Easy enough to say, but a lot more difficult to achieve in practice. You can of course marry into money, or inherit it. But most don’t have that option. And besides, earning it for yourself is far more satisfying.
There some key factors to building true and lasting wealth:
- Persistence and determination
- Mental Attitude
- Passion for your work
Together, these different concepts form a comprehensive blueprint for becoming wealthy. At the very minimum, these ideas are essential in becoming rich. One thing you may want to ask yourself before you set out onto the road to wealth is the following: Why do I want to be rich? You may think that’s fairly silly. The answer is obvious, isn’t it? To buy things that will make me happy. If that’s your answer, perhaps wealth will be wasted on you. Things don’t actually make you happy. Hopefully you were already aware of that. If not, take some time to let it sink in.
Hard Work and Perseverance
Though fairly obvious to most, the following bears repeating just so we’re all on the same page. Getting rich requires a lot of hard work and determination. Former President Calvin Coolidge said it best in the following quotation:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.”
– President Calvin Coolidge
Success and wealth are almost always the result of hard work and persistence. There are shortcuts, but the avenues are usually open only to those that are actually already wealthy. It’s easier to take a fortune and turn it into a bigger fortune than to create one from scratch.
Another important concept that you need to get used to when it comes to building wealth is that of inertia, or the tendency of things to continue along their path once set in motion. This idea will be familiar to anyone with a basic knowledge of Physics. Success is built on top of previous success and has a tendency to snowball. Sure, there are things that can slow down or derail your momentum. That’s where mental toughness and fortitude come in. The main thing is to keep your eye on the ball and not let anything get in your way. Everybody suffers setbacks from time to time. What separates the rich from the not so rich is the willingness to keep going.
Time management is a huge part of the equation. How much of you’re day is simply “killing time” or “passing time” or waiting for something to happen? You need to stop doing that, now. A good way to shake yourself from this habit is to examine, and really think about, what you’re doing with every minute of your day. You can either be active and set things in motion, or be passive and react to external forces in your life. If you spend your time waiting for things to happen to or for you, you’ll never take charge of you’re life. And you’ll never get as wealthy as you thought, and you’ll be less satisfied in the end because of it.
Vision and The Big Picture
Yes, the “hard work” part of the equation is rather self explanatory. But running off under prepared and without a solid plan in place is a recipe for disaster. You’ll keep jumping from venture to venture, pulling out before you make real money just because you didn’t immediately get rich. Studies have shown that just spending a few minutes everyday visualizing future success and prosperity can actually contribute to and aid in making your dreams a reality. Sounds silly perhaps, but it’s not as far-fetched as you may initially imagine. Daily affirmations can boost your self confidence and keep you on track as far as your long-term goals are concerned. Come up with a solid plan, set realistic goals and once you do have the persistence to carry through on them.
The Mind Game
One of the key essentials to becoming truly wealthy is your mental attitude. I suppose now would be the time to dip into tired “Zen” sayings and aphorisms such as “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep”, but those expressions do have a bit of truth to them. How you frame every day when you wake up is a key component in your overall prosperity. If you don’t think you’re capable of accomplishing it, you’re probably right and have defeated yourself before you even got out of the starting gate.
Knowing that you will achieve your plans and attain the level of wealth and prosperity that you want, and convincing yourself that it’s not only possible but inevitable is half the battle. The rest is simply details. A lot of complicated details, sure. But the main idea here is that human beings are capable of far more than they believe they are. Think about people you’ve read about in the news that used a surge of adrenaline in a high stress situation to lift a car off of an accident victim, or long distance athletes that have trekked deserts and scaled Mount Everest solo.
While those physical examples of human strength are impressive, the mind is immeasurably more powerful. Keeping your mind limber allows you to face new challenges and create unique and innovative solutions to problems. Aside from simply focusing on your long term goals and visualizing success and the path that leads to that place, many find mental exercises and relaxation and meditation techniques beneficial. You can’t be “on” at all times and it helps to occasionally take a break, find your center and do some mental housecleaning. The most vital point is that if you believe in something and want it badly enough, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen.
Education Doesn’t End At School
Many are often surprised to find out that some of the richest and most successful men and women in our society never received what would be considered a “proper” education. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and many, many others all dropped out of college to start their own businesses. There’s this idea in our culture that a degree is the main ingredient in lifelong success. It may be important for some, but at the end of the day it’s just a piece of paper. They forget about the education you get from life and compartmentalize learning to a special place and don’t fully integrate it into their everyday experience.
The truly wise amongst us realize that you never stop learning. Every failure is an opportunity to learn something. When you try an idea and it doesn’t work, that’s fine. You’ve discovered yet another way to not get rich. Now reflect on why it didn’t work, glean what knowledge you can from the experience and move on. Dwelling on it won’t help you out in the long run. There are plenty of great resources online such as Mind Tools amongst many others, which feature helpful tips on how to retrain your brain towards a more entrepreneurial mindset and hone your business acumen and skills.
When the average person thinks about the word “investment”, it conjures up images of trading floors, stocks and bonds, mutual funds and the whole package. That’s certainly one way to go about it. Learning the ins and outs of proper money management can go a long way in helping you achieve your goal of becoming rich. Sites like Money Instructor feature a wealth of information to educate yourself on basic financial common sense. But there’s another way of looking at “investment” that applies not only to your finances but your whole life.
Investing in yourself is one of best uses of your money. I’m talking about investing in yourself as a person, making yourself as smart, versatile and productive as you can be, and looking after your health. Taking classes at your local community college is a great investment in your most valuable asset, your brain. Purchasing a gym membership or a new pair of running shoes is a solid investment in your future health, your other dearest asset. A healthy body and a healthy, robust mind complement each other. Neglecting either can be a detriment to your success and overall quality of life.
A wise man once said that it takes a lot of genius and cunning to make a great fortune, and ten times as much to keep it. Learning to invest your savings in a prudent manner early on is important. Educate yourself about diversified investment portfolios. More importantly, learn to manage your money yourself. Most people are outraged when their money manager or stock broker loses their savings. They shouldn’t be. You can’t hand a pile of cash to another person and expect them to make you rich. Learn how to do it yourself without relying on suspect advice from strangers.
While it’s not entirely true that you’ll never get rich working for someone else, a much more certain path to wealth is self-employment. Striking out on your own and starting a business is the way to go. You may think you don’t have the skills, knowledge or experience to start your own business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a fairly influential e-book that’s freely available entitled Everyone’s An Expert that sums this up quite brilliantly. Everyone has an area of expertise in which they are highly knowledgeable. With the exponential pace of growth in technology, capitalizing on your knowledge has never, in the history of the world, been easier.
Obviously, you can’t really start your own airline or copper mine on your own. It’d require too much startup capital. But you can begin your own organic greenhouse or taxi service for a reasonable amount of cash. If you have a lot of knowledge and experience in a particular area you can create your own consultancy. We’ve been told that the path to riches is to get a good job working for some big, important corporation our whole lives. But for much of the history of the United States and the world for that matter, the concept of being in any specific profession or career was foreign to most. People did jobs, and then moved on to the next one when they were finished.
We also tend to easily forget about the humble beginnings of what are now some of our largest corporations. Henry Ford started out as an unemployed machinist tinkering with engines. Most of the earliest pioneers of Silicon Vally started out programming and building DIY computers in their garages. They did the smart thing, had faith in their vision and their ideas, and kept at it until their dreams we’re realized. Most of these mavericks began very small, and grew very slowly for the first few years until enough people believed in their ideas to take them to the next level.
Here’s a quick example of how a seemingly inconsequential idea can get you started on the path towards entrepreneurship. About two years ago I bought some used snow tires for my car from someone else in the neighborhood from an advertisement I saw at a store. When I got home to put them on, I realized that they weren’t the right type, and now I had $200 worth of useless rubber. Then I realized they were in great shape and worth far more than $200. I put them on Craigslist.com for sale at $300, and sold them not more than 3 hours after buying them. I was able to make a tidy $100 profit for practically no work at all.
The seed had been planted in my head at that point. Why couldn’t I keep doing the same thing, with more and more used equipment? Two years down the road, I still am. Except with more expensive things, at a greater profit. Something as simple as buying a pair of tires got me on the road to self-employment and entrepreneurship. It started out with such a simple idea, that anyone is capable of doing. Most people don’t take that little, extra step towards turning a little idea into a business.
Follow Your Passion
Ask anyone that’s ventured into the world of freelancing after a lifetime of working for “The Man” and they’ll tell you a thing or to. First, they’ll let you know that working yourself is almost always more time-consuming, arduous and nerve-wracking than taking a safe, steady position. But they’ll also tell you that working for yourself, even if it means longer hours and less security is far more rewarding mentally and spiritually. It’ll change your whole outlook on life, how you live it and what’s really possible when you take your destiny into your own hands and take a risk.
Most people work jobs they hate because the monetary compensation is just good enough to keep them coming back. But that just pushes you through to the next day. This goes on for awhile until one day you wake up, and realize decades have gone by, and you never did what you really wanted to do. The fact of the matter is we all need to do something to make a living. Why not spend all that time making a living, and doing something you love at the same time. You may fail the first time. Or the second. There’s always that possibility. But if you want that kind of freedom and autonomy in your professional life, you’ll make work.
There are many, many variables involved in becoming truly wealthy. Some of them are things you can control, and many more are things that you cannot. If you want to truly tip the scales in your favor, master the things you do have control over. Take responsibility for your mistakes, learn your lessons and keep going. Persistence is the ultimate key. Again, it’s not how many times you fail, but rather how often you fail and try again.
There’s no blueprint set in stone for how to get rich, but this rundown should give you a good starting place for where to begin your journey. Here’s a general road to give a sense of the right direction to take:
- Educate yourself. Knowledge is power. You don’t have to run off and register for college classes or get a degree at night. Thanks to the power of the Internet, the sum total of all human knowledge is at your fingertips through your computer. Learn about finance, money management, good business practices, accounting and bookkeeping and anything else you think may come in handy in the future.
- Develop a routine for success. If you’ve only got so many hours a week set aside to developing your future wealth, schedule regular time slots for you to work on it and keep to that schedule.
- Start your own business. It can be anything. Become an Ebay Power Seller or buy things at auction or at clearance or going-out-of-business sales and flip them on Craigslist. Even a small part-time business such as this will teach you important lessons you’ll use later on. The main thing is to start something. Most people that end up rich did it by going into business for themselves.
- Connect. Learn to leverage contacts, skills, unique opportunities and your own knowledge to expand your business and take it to the next level.
- Diversify your business interests. Up until recently, one could have made a lot of money in real estate by flipping houses, if they got out of the market at the right time. What’s hot one decade almost inevitably will go through a downturn at some point soon. IBM has been a successful corporation for over a hundred years by changing with the times. They got out of the PC manufacturing business when it made sense to move on. Flexibility is key.
- Finally, learn to invest your money wisely. Inflation, recessions and other mishaps can take any fortune and turn it into nothing over a lifetime. Know what to invest in, and more importantly when to do it to protect your nest egg over the long term both for you and for future generations.
Being successful in all areas of your life, not just in business or financial matters, is largely a result of the right mental attitude. The world around us, and the manner in which we view it, is largely a construct of the mind. Recognizing that anything is achievable if you want it bad enough is the first step in the right direction. Making sure that this realization is always in the back of your mind throughout your journey is doubly important.
There’s one thing that’s more valuable than money: Time. We’ve all got only so much of it. And in a way, that limitation on a precious resource gives it value in itself. Being acutely aware of time and how you spend it is important, because no matter what you do, it’s slipping away slowly and surely. Getting the most out of every day, every hour and every minute that you live is important. Not only in making money, but enjoying the prosperity your hard work brings in the long run. And if you do make it to wealth and riches, remember that money isn’t what makes you ultimately happy. People and the relationships you share with them are what really matters. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a little extra money to enjoy the experience. Cheers.