Do you want to know the secret to becoming rich and living like a millionaire? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? We are obsessed as a culture with becoming rich — just take a look at books like I Will Teach You to Be Rich, or Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Books like these, and the fact that they are all best-sellers, are a testament to the universally prevalent desire to be rich.
And yet, even though books like these have been published since the early 1900’s — The Richest Man in Babylon, for example — the percentage of wealthy people in the US hasn’t increased. Instead, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Why? Shouldn’t we be all be millionaires by now with all the books we’ve read and seminars we’ve attended?
The reason personal finance books sell is because they have sexy titles that appeal to our desire to be rich. If you’ve ever read a personal finance book, however, you know that what they really teach are saving strategies, spending very little time on exactly how to become rich.
Sure, your 401k will be in great condition, but will you be rich? No. You won’t.
There are actually several secrets to becoming rich. Here’s the biggest one: be born that way. The number of people who are born poor and die rich is extremely small, which is why there are always dozens of biographies written about them when they die. How many biographies do you see written about the CEO’s of giant corporations? Not many, unless you’re reading the biography of the person who founded that corporation.
Am I saying that you have to be born rich to actually get rich? No. But it would help.
So that leaves the other secret, the one that every person who has ever bought a personal finance book is looking for. This secret will change your life. Better sit down.
The real secret to becoming rich: the perfect combination of boldness, diligence, luck, and excellence.
And that was the sound of the proverbial bubble bursting.
Learning sound personal finance principles is a must, and all those personal finance books are a great way to learn them. But if you want to be rich — and I’m talking about Bill Gates rich, Donald Trump rich, Richard Branson rich — it’s going to take a lot more than depositing 10% of your earnings into a savings account each month.
Two things above all else will help you get rich:
Being the Best
Someone who isn’t born rich doesn’t get to be a multimillionaire by being mediocre. If you want to move up in the world, you have to be the best, plain and simple. You have to have a brilliant idea and work harder than anyone else to see it through. You have to be bold and diligent in execution, and you have to embody excellence in everything you do. A little luck never hurt anyone, either, but luck isn’t necessarily a pre-requisite. Strangely, your luck generally improves as you become the best at something. Remarkable things happen to remarkable people.
Unfortunately, there are those among the rich community who aren’t the best at what they do, but a large number of them were born into it, so they didn’t have to work as hard to get rich.
But there are a significant number of people who were born well-off and still worked until they were the best — Bill Gates comes to mind. Born to a prominent lawyer and a board member for a bank, Gates was on track for a fairly comfortable lifestyle in law. But he decided to pursue computer programming until he became the best, and is now consistently ranked among the richest people in the world.
Knowing the Right People
I cannot overstate the importance of networking if you want to be rich. Sometimes knowing the right people will literally get you money (especially if you are starting a business), but more often than not, knowing the right people leads to opportunities that can get you a lot of money. You can find opportunities without knowing people, but the caliber and the magnitude of the opportunities will increase as your network increases.
Knowing people by itself, however, is not enough. You have to be the best, too. Being the best will give you something to talk about when you meet the important people, and will convince them that you are worth investing in, or worth talking about.
The reason authors of personal finance books don’t talk about these secrets is that neither of them are easy. It takes a lifetime of work to become the best, and it takes courage, charisma, and confidence to network. To be rich you have to be willing to sacrifice, to put in long hours, and to keep going even when it seems like you are bound to fail.
By all means, read the personal finance books. They will help you get out of debt, start saving for retirement, and help you cut out the little things that don’t really matter. But if you really want to be rich, and don’t just want your hand to be held while walking through more or less common sense principles, than stop reading, and start being the best. And then go talk to people about it.
The real secret: Wealth will come from action.
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.