I just want to offer a little motivation for those of you with big dreams that haven’t come to fruition yet. Keep grinding. Your time is coming. If you don’t believe me, ask John Paul DeJoria (Founder John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila), Stephen Biscotti (Baltimore Ravens NFL Owner), Larry Ellison (Oracle Software Founder), Ralph Lauren (World-Renowned Designer), Oprah Winfrey (Mogul), J.K. Rowling (Author), Do Won Chang (Forever 21 Founder), and Don Peebles (Peebles Real Estate). Ok, you really can’t ask any of them personally but you can gleam some things from their stories and study what each of them have in common. Google them if you don’t believe me. First, they are all multi-multi-millionaires to billionaires. But that’s not the key element of this story. Know what else they all have in common? I’ll tell you.
They all started with nothing.
Not one of them was born with a silver spoon. They weren’t handed anything. Their various stories involved living on welfare, being homeless, living in their cars, and working multiple jobs. Sound familiar? Each of these individuals represents the embodiment and the fruition of the American Dream (or British in the case of Ms. Rowling). If they can do it, you can do it. Ask yourself, ‘Why not me?’
I’m not going to lie to you and give you some “pie in the sky, everything will be roses” lie. Becoming what you want to be will not be easy. Think about it. It took 12 years of school just to get out of high school. Now after you ask yourself, “Why not me?” you will have to actually work toward your goals. The first thing you have to have is a plan. You have to set goals both short term and long term. Then you have to set a plan to attain those goals, to attack the goals. And no, winning the lottery is not a plan, that is a wish. A wish we all share but a wish nevertheless. Think of it like planning a trip. First you have to know the destination. If there is no destination then there is no trip. You’re just aimlessly wandering. You have to plan the itinerary. You have to plan the mode of transportation. If hiccups happen, road closures, flight delays, etc. you have to be able to handle them. You have to be able to pivot and change your plan, your route, but never the destination.
Know it will be hard.
You have to believe in yourself when others don’t. Self-confidence is a must. It will be tested. Each one of the people listed above were told “no.” They were told “no” multiple times by multiple people. You have to be able to live with that and move on. Excuse the language if cursing isn’t your thing but sometimes you have to say, “F*ck them,” and move on. Treat them like a closed road on your path. You may have to make a u-turn, turn around and find another path but you have to get back on to the road that moves you toward your destination.
What I’m about to say next is going to be hard for a lot of people.
You have to face the real fear of going broke.
The overwhelming majority of billionaires can be broken down into two types.
- those that came from money and made more of it; multiplied what was given to them. The old adage is true it’s easier to make money when you have money.
- those that came from nothing and never stopped climbing, those that made their own path and made something out of nothing. Like the people listed above.
Do you know why it’s easier for people that come from nothing to succeed than it is for people that have a little something? Because people that have nothing are not afraid of having nothing. It’s those people in the middle, those that are afraid of losing what they have that find this the hardest. They’re going out on a limb, afraid the branch will break and they’ll find themselves at the bottom. It’s much safer in your little cocoon of the life you have. And yes, it gets much harder once spouses and especially kids get involved. It’s a lot easier to not put yourself out there. But the status quo will not lead you to greatness, to the promised land, to where you want to be. Yes, if I’m being honest there is a real possibility of failure. You have to ask yourself if you can live with that chance. On the flip side, you also have to ask yourself can you live with the regret of not trying?
You have to work hard.
Long hours are part of the deal. You have to be willing to sacrifice. Time. Money. Friends. Partying. You can’t be seduced by $10 when $100 is in the offering. I know it will be hard, especially when you are hungry. There are no shortcuts. But know this: the harder the journey, the more gratifying the reward.
One of The Life and Rhymes writers, Matthew Arrant, wrote a review of J. Cole’s latest CD. If you ever have a free minute read up on what it took J. Cole to get signed in the first place. Jay-Z, the man who eventually signed him turned him down. But he kept grinding and now we are writing reviews of his music. You have to keep at it, keep grinding. I know I’m sounding like a bunch of hashtags now so don’t listen to me. Listen to Oprah, listen to J.K. Rowling, listen to Ralph Lauren and the others. Listen to those that have done it. Becoming a billionaire is not a destination, but a mindset.