Secrets of the Richest People (written July, 1997)
Would you like to realize your goals? Maybe you’d like to run your own business, expand your material possessions, or succeed in the arts? There is no one path to the pot of gold, but many people of all backgrounds have successfully found it. Whether you want to follow the ways of the great financiers, the famous politicians, the dynamic movie stars, or successful Network Marketers, there are common modes of behavior each of them followed. And in many cases, they have shared their secrets so you can follow their footsteps.
“If you wish to know the road up the mountain, ask the person who goes back and forth on it,” said the ancient sage, Zenrin. What better way is there to know the secrets than to ask those who made it? What goals do you want to achieve? And what amount of effort can you commit? You may want money for the extra things in life, money to build a MLM empire, or money to support yourself while you pursue the fine arts. Perhaps you’d like to take the risk to start something new in your life. You may want to open your own business, devote your energies to an artistic career such as acting, or reap the benefits of your yearly endeavors with fabulous vacations several times a year.
What will bring you happiness? The satisfaction of success takes many forms. Not only are people seeking financial fortunes, but also the ancient goal of peace of mind. Do you worry? You might be concerned about your health or your family’s well-being. You may be anxious about the added expenses of education, medical bills, or the steady increase of cost of living. There are ways out of the endless cycles of worry, stress and anxiety. Right now, you can rise above the whirl of survival to achieve the accomplishments you dream of. When you’re ready to put your whole effort into realizing your goals, you will succeed.
What are riches? “Had I but plenty of money, money to spare,” wrote Robert Browning. And money is the greatest attribute of riches. A universal desire, money is the materialization of riches, the stuff that makes the rest possible. Are you looking for financial security? For retirement, for education or leisure? Riches are the overflowing abundance of material possessions – houses, cars, boats, and furnishings – everything you ever wanted.
Centuries ago, Horace wrote, “By right means, if you can, but by any means, make money.” For many people it is a path towards happiness, a cure-all for worry and for others, riches in the form of satisfaction comes from accomplishment in employment or attaining goals. It is that feeling of contentment and confidence from a good task well done. Riches are closely linked with success. And with that comes fame and acknowledgement of position. Success might be the feeling of well-being from the rewards of good effort. Or the enthusiasm and vitality triggered by recognition. “Success is how well I enjoy the minutes,” said producer Norman Lear.
Throughout history, the people who lived with riches often achieved them by hard work, diligence and a belief in themselves. For some people, it took courage, genius and stamina. But for many others, it took nothing special but the desire to turn dreams into reality. Whether you want millions of dollars, recognition as an artist, or personal freedom, you have the ability to make your life as rich as you want. Think about what you most desire. It may not be hard cash, but what it can buy. Or it may be those feelings of inner satisfaction, from creating something beautiful or strong.
You may want personal independence from the work week, or freedom to live anywhere you want. You may be looking for something meaningful and significant in life – something other than things money can buy. Whatever your goals, and however difficult they seem to be to accomplish, you have the ability to become who you want. Take a look – can you see yourself surrounded by riches? Picture the World open and in front of you, ready to become the form of your dreams, ready to stage your desires. “Why then, the World’s my oyster,” wrote Shakespeare, “which I with sword will open.”
Who is successful? Many people who achieve fortune in the World are not born rich. But they accomplished it through hard work and a plan of action. Every type of person on earth can become successful. There are saints and scoundrels; philanthropists and thieves; poets and politicians; young and old. There are no limitations or physical boundaries for success. Success comes to those whom think about success and strive for it. Although many rich financiers at the turn of the century had no formal education, they overcame that and went on to great fame. Some people strive towards a single goal from early in life, and often attain that goal while still young. Others are willing to risk new adventures later and still attain success. “It’s never too late to learn,” wrote Malcolm Forbes, the money magnate. “I learned to ride a motorcycle at 50 and fly balloons at 52.”
Whatever your task, whatever your obstacles, you can be as successful as anyone else. Study the people who accomplished recognition in the areas of your pursuit. How did they achieve their goals? And don’t be afraid you don’t have what it takes. As Daniel Webster wrote, “there is always room at the top.”
Forming conviction – The single attribute that every successful person has is the one-pointed devotion to attain a goal. “There in the sunshine are my highest aspirations,” wrote Louisa May Alcott, “I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” What are your desires? How can you form them into definite goals that you can attain? Lawrence Peter wrote, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.” Maybe you’re studying a craft or skill. Perhaps you’re caught in a rung of the corporate ladder. Or, you might fell constricted by your family and the environment around you. Maybe you are an MLM junkie, jumping from program to program. Which star are you reaching for? “Ours is a World where people don’t know what they want and are willing to go through anything to get it,” wrote Don Marquis.
Take the time to think about your own aspirations. Look inside to find what feels right. Almost everyone entertains the notions of fame and fortune, but put on the costume that fits you. Conviction requires certain qualities of action. You must be sincere and be willing to assume responsibility. And you need the self-discipline necessary to work towards your goals. Are you prepared to achieve your dreams? Can you form their reality in your mind? Will you devote your entire being to attaining what you want?
On your own – Most millionaires – especially MLM Millionaires – are non-conformists. So are the most famous actors and actresses; and the most prominent artists. Writers are known for their individual traits and eccentricities. Your convictions and goals are your own business, even when you find help along the path. Mentors often take people under their wings to nourish and teach. Or spiritual guides will show you to the path to attainment. But you’re on your own to achieve. Too many MLMer’s want too much help instead of using their mentor’s guidance to form their own path. Cultivate a sense of justice and an ability to make decisions. Cooperate with everybody and develop your own self-respect. And follow good criticism and advice after you’ve judged carefully. J. Paul Getty said, “I advise young millionaires to be skeptical of advice. They should advise themselves; they should form their own opinions.” Lord Byron wrote, “There is rapture on the lonely stone.” and if you attain your goals with poise and sincerity, you’ll find warmth and love at the top – not the cold loneliness pictured by the jealous. Put on blinders to negative comments and criticism meant to hurt you. About the people who criticize, Voltaire wrote, “never having been able to succeed in the world, they took revenge by speaking ill of it.”
Seize the day – People are judged by what they think and what they say. But the true measure of their character is what they do. Anyone who has achieved success and fortune in the world has done it by action. William Jennings Bryan wrote, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” The choice of the path you follow is often put before you as opportunity. “Few people recognize opportunity.” said Cary Grant, “because it comes disguised as hard work.” Don’t let opportunities slip past while you’re still considering them, and create new ones as you see them. “Wise people make more opportunities than they find,” said Francis Bacon.
What opportunities can you act upon? Woolworth saw a need for small inexpensive items and opened the chain of stores that grossed billions. Wrigley started giving gum away as a bonus from a supplies wagon he sold from, and saw the opportunity to make money from the gum that became in high demand. All successful people the world over have found the opportunities for their own special talents and acted upon those ways to achieve. Why wait for the time to pass? There’s never a better time than now. Take your own business dreams and make them become reality.
How they think – Thousands of potential millionaires are born every year. And making a million dollars is coming closer to everyone’s pocket. What advice did the money-makers follow? Aristotle Onassis worked eighteen hours a day to maintain his fortune. He started as a welder and aimed for the top. “You have to think money day and night,” he said, “you should even dream about it in your sleep.” John D. Rockefeller, Jr., said, “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes every person an opportunity to make a living.” And J. Paul Getty acknowledged his hard work: “I have no complex about wealth. I have worked hard for my money, producing things people need.” Even proverbs’ advises: “in all labor there is profit.” Richard Bach, the author of the bestselling book, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” wrote “you are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” The empress of the British Empire, Queen Victoria, admonished, “We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.”
Do you have what it takes? There are qualities of endeavor and achievement that are common to many people who make it to the top. The following questions are a guideline to self-enterprise and attaining your goals. ) Do you prefer to work for yourself than for others? 2) Are you well-informed on current business and political affairs? 3) Are you a leader? 4) Do you take advantage of opportunities? 5) Do you pay attention to what other people say? 6) Can you finish a job even when it is difficult or unpleasant? 7) Are you challenged by problems? 8) Do you have a goal you want to achieve? 9) Do you consider other people? 10) Do you strive to attain? 11) Can you obey commands? 12) Can you bounce back after defeat? 13) Do you believe in yourself? 14) Can you stand by your actions in spite of criticism? 15) Can you follow instructions? 16) Can you respond to the needs of others? 17) Will you give credit to others? 18) Can you make your own decisions? 19) Are you determined? 20) Are you ready for success?
Establish a goal – What do you want? Are you looking for financial security, professional acknowledgment, spiritual attainment, the largest MLM organization in history? Do you want to fit better socially, or become more expressive creatively? Establish the goal that’s right for you. Then turn that goal from a dream into a desire. You want to realize that goal, not just wish for it. Aesop said, “Beware that you do not lose the substance by grabbing at the shadow.” Know exactly what you want, then go for it. Don’t be tricked by your own procrastination – especially if you want to achieve something artistic. The writer, Thomas Wolfe wrote, “I had been sustained by that delightful illusion of success which we all have when we dream about the books we are going to write instead of actually doing them. Now I was face to face with it, and suddenly I realized that I had committed my life and my integrity so irrevocably to this struggle that I must conquer now or be destroyed.”
Can you see what you want? If you want the abundance of material wealth that money provides, what goal will give you that money? Do you want the prestige of owning your own business? What business do you want to begin? Where are the opportunities for you? Talk to everyone in the business you want to join. Make friends in the literary or art societies in your area. Read books and articles about your field of endeavor. How can you attain your goal? “If you don’t want to work, you have to work to earn enough money so that you don’t have to work,” wrote Ogden Nash. And isn’t that the way. Money makes money; success breeds success. But not always. How can you break through those thoughts? Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you imagine, you will meet with success.”
Think big and visualize success. Do you see yourself in a big house? Maybe you picture your artwork hanging in a galley. Can you feel your book in print and in your hands? How does it feel to be a person of success? Believe that you are; believe that it is in your grasp. That’s what the others did, and that’s how people make it to the top. Then get down to basics. Be precise. Exactly how much money do you want, and by what date? And exactly what are you going to do to earn that money? Be realistic, but give yourself short-term goals. Write it down. In six months or one year, you will have how much money. And repeat it until it feels good. Then repeat it twice a day until it swirls in your subconscious, until it becomes your one-printed goal. “The goal stands up, the keeper stands up to keep the goal,” wrote A. E. Housman.
Keys to success – Make people feel at ease. They will respond to your needs as you respond to theirs. Share the spotlight. Give credit to those who deserve it – and to those who strive. Don’t grab praise away from other people. Have confidence in your own value. Don’t do anything that won’t credit your own self-respect. Follow up your actions as they reflect your own self-worth. Listen well to others’ comments. Then weigh your own actions. Cultivate relationships with people who have good and important things to say. Participate in life. Be active in business meetings and endeavors; volunteer to be part of organizations and groups. Social interaction will boost your sense of well-being. Feel worthy of your own goal. Know that you can attain it and that it is right for you. Grasp your own challenge. Don’t give yourself impossible goals, but always reach higher. Relax and be yourself. Each person is different and just as wonderful as the next. Don’t be plagued by what you think others think of you. Don’t bathe in success – use it. Once you achieve your first goal, go on to others. Use the money you earn for the rewards you look for. Then go on to the next endeavor. Be slow to criticize others’ achievements. Find out how they did it and learn from them. Never use subterfuge. Don’t go behind someone’s back. Speak your mind and earn respect. Banish negative thoughts and traits. Restructure your life to exclude bad habits. Believe in yourself and what you are to accomplish. All the power in the world is within you to achieve. Work toward your goal. “To get profit without risk, experience without danger, and reward without work, is as impossible as it is to live without being born,” wrote A. P. Gouthey. Every person who has attained something worthwhile has worked for that goal. Cary Grant said, “I do believe that people can do practically anything they set out to do if they apply themselves diligently and learn.”
Which path is the right way towards your goal? Do you need more education? Do you need a few years’ experience in your field of business? Maybe you need a teacher or guide to help you practice. “I have learned that success is to be mastered not so much by the position that one has reached, as by the obstacles which are overcome while trying to succeed,” wrote Booker T. Washington. What obstacles are in your way? Consider them as easy to pass through as hurdles are to a champion runner. Take each obstacle as a special challenge placed especially for you. Approach it with intelligence and courage, then learn what it has to teach. “Success is a journey,” said Ben Sweetland, “not a destination.” For some, the process of attainment is the attainment itself. They move on, keep growing and expanding. There is no still water at the top. “The message from the moon is that no problem need any longer be considered insoluble,” wrote Norman Cousins. And you can attain anything that seems impossible. If you have a problem that needs to be solved, sit calmly and consider it with a clear mind. Observe all the consequences of the actions – both good and bad. Ponder the paths and actions and contemplate the core of the problem. The solution will appear. “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you for everyone who asketh, receiveth. He that seeketh, findeth and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Tap the inner self and encourage positive actions. With each outgoing breath, release the impossible; at each incoming breath, inhale the attainable. Demand the best by yourself, but don’t despair from an overused sense of perfection. What can you learn? And who can teach you? Can you attend classes and seminars? Find a master and become an apprentice.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty,” said Henry Ford. “Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind going.” Never stop learning; never stop growing and expanding as a person and in your personal endeavor. Ask yourself? As you consider the success you desire, you need to affirm its possibilities and develop the self-confidence necessary to attain the goals. Learn to do things well. “If you know how to do one thing well, you can do everything,” wrote the philosopher Gurdjieff.
Are you ready for success? Is what you are doing now helping you to achieve your goals? Do you weigh the consequences before making a decision? Is this the best use of your time? Do you cooperate with everyone and help cultivate their best potentials? Are you warm and sincere? Do you have the courage to succeed? Do you have the self-discipline necessary to achieve your goals? Do you have a realistic sense of self-worth? Do you give more than you take? Do you have the courage to fail, and then pick up and try again? Can you assume responsibility without blaming others if things go wrong? Are you strong? Can you be sympathetic to life and its sufferings? Can you say no? Will you follow your convictions and plans to achieve? Do you sincerely want to achieve the goals you have chosen?
Taking responsibility – “The price of greatness is responsibility,” wrote Winston Churchill. Are you willing to take the responsibility once you attain the success you desire? “The deepest personal defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become,” wrote Ashley Montague. And the greatest tragedy is to become less than your full potential, using less than the abilities you have to work with. Are you waiting for something to happen? Maybe you’re waiting for a job offer, or a promotion. Perhaps you’re waiting until you get good enough at a craft or skill. Or are you waiting for the inspiration of creativity to strike your life? It is up to you to take the actions and be responsible for their consequences. “Our responsibility: every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty,” wrote John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Inspire yourself. Read books that will spurn you to action; talk to people who have the vitality you admire. How would you like to lead your life? And make the changes necessary to be like that. “There is nothing permanent except change,” wrote Heraclitus. What changes do you want to make? What are you waiting for?
Accomplishment – What actions will take you closer to your goals? Decide upon the steps and write them down. Review them until you feel comfortable with those steps. Then repeat them at least once a day, crossing them off as you accomplish them. “I believe there is no escape from the rule that we must do many, many little things to accomplish even just one big thing,” said James Dupont. “This gives me patience when I need it most.” The most rewarding accomplishments are those that take long to achieve and present difficulties that a person can rise above the rest to be the unusual, the outspoken and the well-deserved. As if building a kit, follow your own instructions. Decide your best courses of action and achieve their benefits. Whether the steps are small or large, make them achievable and then do them. Don’t commit yourself to things that you never intend to do. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there,” said Will Rogers. Don’t be paralyzed by inaction; rather act upon your own convictions. Set yourself up for rewards. Don’t give yourself goals that have no feeling of satisfaction or no monetary rewards. If you want to be an artist, be the best and learn from the best. Don’t dwell on imperfections or the awkwardness of unpolished skills. If you go into business, do it for profit or reinvestment. “In business, the earning of profit is something more than an incident of success. It is an essential condition of success. Because the continued absence of profit itself spells failure,” said Justice Brandeis. Marchant wrote, “To be a success in business, be daring, be first, be different.” Think of ways to achieve the best formulas to increase productivity or decrease overhead. Profits are your drive. “Profitability is the sovereign criterion of the enterprise,” wrote Peter Drucker. And, profitability is the core of any achievement – whether financial or artistic. Once you achieve your goals, think of ways to benefit others. “Money-getters are the benefactors of our race,” said P. T. Barnum. “To them we are indebted for our institutions of learning, and of art, our academies, colleges and churches.” How can you benefit humankind and still keep enough to fulfill your own desires?
The hidden asset – Not all success can be counted in dollars; not all richness is measured by money. “The great secret of success is to go through life as a person who never gets used up,” said Albert Schweitzer. “Retire upon yourself and look for the ultimate cause of things inside you.” Look within yourself for the ultimate inspiration, and follow the true feelings you discover. “One of my favorite methods is to whisper,” said Alfred Hitchcock. “I’ve discovered the best work is done with sweet reason.” Act upon your own conscience -that guides; that judges your actions and signals your behavior. “Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone may be looking,” wrote H. L. Mencken. Accomplish what you desire; fulfill your inner yearnings. But don’t compromise your deepest feelings. “We do our best that we know how at the moment, and if it doesn’t turn out, we modify it,” said F. D. Roosevelt. Follow the paths that life offers you and live the fullest existence you can.
Take a look – Look at yourself and look at those who have succeeded throughout history. Do you have what it takes? Even if you have only a few of the qualities of the other great people, you can achieve your heart’s desire. Reach for the highest, and then reach higher. Accomplish your steps one by one on a daily basis. Always moving forward, always making progress. Encourage yourself. Insist that you can succeed and affirm these thoughts daily. Keep a sense of proportion and judge for yourself. Then keep busy at the tasks you’ve set out to accomplish. What’s keeping you? “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” said Albert Einstein. Find inspiration wherever you can. Talk to people; read about people; learn your business or craft. Believe that you can do it and you will. The only way to dispel the doubt that you can do something is to finish it. Always be the best you can be. Never fall short from fatigue or lethargy. Don’t attempt to do anything that you can’t give your all to. There is no way to inner satisfaction without appealing to the higher consciousness. Search within and without to find the paths that are meant for you and follow them with conviction and a steady heart. And, you will succeed to become as rich and full as you ever desired. Harold Ickes wanted the “freedom to live one’s life with the window of the soul open to new thoughts, new ideas and new aspirations.” And Woody Allen looked for a clear path. “If only god would give me some clear sign” he said, “Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.” Finally, Sophie Tucker sums up everyone’s worldly outlook: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor,” she said. “Rich is better.”
The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.