Tag Archives: sweaty

Is It Possible to Become a Billionaire?

When most people think of a Billionaire they think of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or even Elon Musk. But very few people have heard of Bernard Arnault, Amancio Ortega, or Ma Huateng. These people, not as well known as some of the others, have made their way to the list of top 20 billionaires in recent years.

Bernard Arnault made his money by developing a large company that focuses mostly on luxury items and services. He has a large collection of art and is the richest person in France.

Amancio Ortega built is fortune in fashion. He is the sixth richest person on the globe but likes to keep his personal life private.

Ma Huateng has built his fortune around technology, specifically the internet. He funded Tancent, which is the highest valued company in all of Asia.

Each of these men are relatively unknown by the general U.S. population yet remain powerful, wealthy and esteemed in their area of focus. So the question that comes up is, is it possible to repeat their stories or stories like them?

The answer is yes and no. Each of these people, including the whole Forbes list of billionaires, are remarkably smart, hard working and strategic. Most of them have not only worked hard to get where they are, they have also “sacrificed” basic things that a lot of us feel are regular parts of a typical life like regular free social interaction and time with friends.

For example Elon Must was showering at the YMCA and sleeping in the office at one point.

For for all the self-made billionaires there were times where they were working their butt off. But pretty much everyone has worked their butt off right? True, but these men and women were purposeful about what they worked on, and were smart about being efficient, strategic and passion driven.

So, if it wasn’t necessarily working hard that made these self-made billionaires rich, but a set of internal actions, habits and principles, what does that mean for us? Well first that it’s completely possible, but not likely to reach their level of success in a different area of focus.

Secondly each of these people had some degree of luck, but even with the luck, it’s no surprise that any one of them is where they are today. While each of them had luck they also planted the seeds of success and let the work, perseverance, time and their brains help grow it.

One of the main similarities between all these people is 1) their commitment to improvement, 2) their involvement in business or customer satisfaction, and 3) their intelligent decision making multiplied over many times. If you sprinkle a lot of hard work on the seed you can see how it grew into a large tree. All of these things together equal focus. Being focused on achieving their goals and having a great time doing it seems like a big similarity here too.

So if you’re wondering if there’s a certain industry posed to do the best the answer is probably internet technology or AI or something along those lines. But that’s not the right question to ask. You have to find the one thing that makes you intrigued, and draws you in day after day. If you have a big difficulty even thinking about it each day that’s probably not a good sign.

Bill Gates was into computers. Jeff Bezos was into customer satisfaction and was intrigued and excited for the internet. Elon Must is into science yet balances that intrigue with his drive to make something tangible for the future. It’s not so much the industry you’re in, but the culture you have and surround yourself in of discipline, hard work, passion, improvement, learning, integrity and ultimately intense focus.

Should You Cut Your Grass?

I’ve never seen this question as a header in a financial blog. Maybe its because cutting your grass is extremely boring. Or maybe it has seemingly nothing to do with personal finance. Whatever the reason you’re probably wondering why I would open with lawn care(which I have nothing against btw). What’s so important about lawn care?

To be honest, I could have chosen a host of other reoccurring costs most people expend on a regular basis. The point is to use it as an example.

There are three general angles of thought when it comes to money. The first, and probably the most common is that of indifference. “It’s just $5,” people tell themselves. “I deserve this cheeseburger.”

The second perspective is that of scarcity. A lot of extreme savers live this reality. This mentality makes me think of Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s the though process that says, “I need to save as much as possible so that someday I can have a big pile of money.” This mentality values dollar cost over time cost.

For example if you decide to cut your grass instead of having someone else do it. While it might cost $70 to have someone mow your lawn it could free up a couple hours of your time. What if you value your time more than $35 per hour. In that case you’re probably better off paying someone else to mow the lawn.

The third and most logical view is that money is to be spent with priority. You have to know what you value and then spend your money accordingly. This view is the most wholistic because it not only recognizes the dollar costs of buying something but the time costs that you could be saving or losing depending on which option choose.

My point isn’t that you should hire people to do everything for you. On the contrary, my point is to weigh the costs of your decisions and factor in more than just the price tag. Sometimes paying someone to mow your grass might just make sense.

My Friend Joseph

We all crave for some sort of sense that we’re creating value. As I spent months in Garneton, Zambia, I realized what I was missing was that same sense. I wanted to feel like I was contributing, or producing something in my life.

The simple act of helping out at the LifeSong orphan school did just that. As the day began I started reaching out to kids who looked open to conversation with someone. I told them my name and they said theirs – things that everyone does around the world.

I remember meeting another kid whose name was Joseph. We shared the same name! I got the chance to join Joseph and his friends during class, and even teach for a bit. We talked about the workbench, and how it was used for carpenters and people who worked with their hands.

My friend Dean Leonard, my Brother, and I volunteered to help when a group from Fort Worth came. We each joined in singing, dancing, and coloring with the kids. It was a fulfilling time – something I had been missing during my time in Zambia.

I recall trying the African food, including fried caterpillar – a Zambian tradition. I placed one in my mouth slowly and hesitatingly. I began to chew. It felt chewy in my mouth – almost like chicken but chewier, not actually that bad.

Often I’ve faced moment like this – moments in which I feel like I’m not contributing and not being productive. Many times the best thing to do is to just spend time with people, have fun, build into their life and learn together.

Out of Air

Most of us at some point have probably felt a deep driving force of determination. Maybe it was during a race or sporting event, or maybe it was on a school assignment when you were in school. Whatever activity you may have been doing when you reached peak commitment, there are probably a lot of similarities between that moment and other moments in your life of true determination.

For example in high school I had my first Cross Country race. I was looking forward to showing my speed out on the course. When the day came I made sure I had enough sleep and nutrition to compete at my best. But I also had something far mare salient to my success: an expectation in my mind that I would perform a certain way.

When it came time to race my expectation to keep up with certain runners led me to run with them at the beginning of the race, a pace I couldn’t keep. A few minutes in I started to realize how poor my decision was. How was I supposed to keep this up for 3.1 miles? But I hadn’t learned my lesson.

The person I was following began to pull away, so I picked up the pace even more. I began increasing my pace when I should have been considering slowing down. At this point I was actually passing runners on the course, not realizing that there was still more than two miles to go.

The guy, Kevin, who I was following, didn’t know I was following him, but it was as if he knew I was. He would always stay just far ahead of me so as to make me attempt to catch up. As we neared the first mile I knew I wouldn’t finish with him. I developed a plan: as long as I could keep within sight of Kevin, I was good.

So as we weaved around bends and over hills I would force myself to keep pushing in order to keep up. By this point I was already at an oxygen deficit. We weren’t even at mile 2! For all you non-runners: you don’t want to be out of breath until the last few hundred yards for the final sprint. Even the last half mile or so would have been better, but at roughly 1.5 miles in, there simply wasn’t a way for me to hold my pace for the next half.

Somehow I kept pushing. For some reason as we neared mile 2 I thought we were at marker 2.5 miles. So while all the other runners knew we had 1.1 miles to go, I thought we only had .6 left. I began picking up speed as we neared what I thought was the end. I was closing in. Then I realized my mistake. There was still a mini loop to go. I felt so stupid.

Friends and family were on the sides of the course, cheering me on as I rode past. I could see Kevin a distance up the course. I could still see him though – that was good. I finished the loop, but my pace had really slowed. People were passing me now, as I tried to keep a little speed in these last few hundred meters.

I curved around the final bend. There was about a quarter mile to go. 400 meters… 300… I was barely jogging. I picked up the pace but my face was red for exhaustion. I was really hyperventilating. 250… 200… I seemed like the distance wasn’t closing in. 150… 100… I put every ounce of my body into the last hundred meters, but it looked more like a jog – I had nothing left. Nothing.

As I passed the finish line I gasped for air. My body shook all over. I couldn’t take in enough air. My chest kept expanding and deflating, like a water-balloon that kept getting shrunk back down to nothing. I had done it!

As with many things in life, simply having a high expectation for yourself can go a long way. I learned more about my potential than I ever thought possible. So next time you run a race, find someone named Kevin to race with you.