“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Think like a Billionaire
I am fascinated by billionaires. There I said it.
Please don’t hold me in contempt as I endeavour to explain myself.
Okay, it may have been a little presumptuous of me, since you would not be mistaken for assuming my fascination was owing to their wealth status – right? I should be clear that my curiosity extends towards the mindset of self-made billionaires in particular.
Consider for a moment the conviction a self-made billionaire has in order to reach their level of success, notwithstanding the insurmountable hurdles along the way.
Whilst researching this topic in 2011, there were 946 billionaires in the world. At the time of writing this article in 2014, that number has swelled to 1,645 with an aggregate wealth of $6.5 trillion. That is a staggering number to say the least.
Despite people’s beliefs about the rich, the wealthy are not deceitful in their pursuit of wealth – rather they are astute and industrious.
To become a billionaire requires one to overcome numerous mental and emotional hurdles. It requires a profound confidence to never give up, given the economic forces of life are continually against those reaching for success.
In order to attain such an astounding level of wealth, one must think and act differently. There must be an inherent self-belief, unyielding motivation and a desire to prevail.
Represented in the quote, “The more you help people get what they want, the more you get what you want,” this simple axiom forms the basis to a wealthy person’s philosophy.
Self-made billionaires maintain an unwavering level of mental toughness and resiliency. According to authors who have written extensively on talent and success, including: Malcom Gladwell, Cal Newport and Robert Greene, talent is not bestowed upon us at the time of our birth. Rather success is acquired over time arising from firm persistence and dedication.
Whilst the nature vs nurture discussion has eluded scientists and behavioural economists for years, many have struggled to draw consensus on what it takes to be talented.
In recent times evolutionary psychologists now infer that nurture nature is a more appropriate term which suggests that environment accounts for a large portion of a person’s success, whilst acknowledging DNA to be equally important.
“Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.” – Simon Sinek
In keeping with success as a motivating factor, the following points are valuable models for building on your achievement – thus abolishing the desire to give up:
- A relentless desire to succeed.
- Extending yourself each time.
- Enjoying the journey.
Let’s examine these points in detail:
A relentless desire to succeed: Recall the last time you learned something new. You might have reached a point in the skill or task and proclaimed, “To hell with this, I give up?” I know I have.
I’d like to reframe the concept of winning to include, NOT giving up despite outward appearances. Leadership expert and author Robin Sharma offers the following sage advice, “If people aren’t laughing at you at least once a week, your dreams are too small.” That is, you’re not reaching beyond your capabilities.
Oftentimes you may expect to reap the rewards for the hard work you’ve earned. There may be little indication of success for weeks, months or years. You may even become disheartened at this stage and give up; right when a breakthrough is imminent.
This is an all too common scenario for most people. We strive for external confirmation, believing the fruits of our labour will ultimately yield a positive sign. At this crucial point, we must trust that events are unfolding in our favour behind the scenes and beyond our limited senses. The aphorism which invites you to believe it before you see it underscores the message of deep optimism.
Extending yourself each time: A number of people succumb to the impression that they must put everything on the line in order to succeed. That they must sacrifice everything in the pursuit of their goal. This is a misleading assumption based on a number of reasons.
Steady improvements over time often yield greater returns. Whilst I am not advocating a new idea, it was author Darren Hardy who skilfully outlines this point in his prize winning book, Compound Effect.
Using the elastic rubber band as a metaphor, your aim should be to extend yourself a little further each time, beyond your comfort zone. In doing so you discover more about yourself while taking calculated risks, since you’re able to identify mistakes with an enriched mind.
Enjoying the journey: In refusing to give up, you reconnect with your underlying motivation for pursuing your goal in the first place. Having become clear on your purpose, savouring the journey becomes the ultimate aphrodisiac.
I frequently work ten hour days including weekends with adequate rest and exercise in-between. As Sunday arrives, I often reflect on what I have achieved during the week and how I can build on my success in the following week. It’s reassuring to note that I haven’t really ‘worked’ at all – I have simply been absorbed in a Flow experience called work, which I remain deeply passionate about. Similarly I invite you to find your passion and pursue it with gusto – let the spirit of your quest come alive through you.
If you feel like giving up, I trust this article has served to reignite your desire to move forward with enthusiasm.
As a final thought, an unrelenting persistence and dedication were hailed as defining attributes by successful people.
With that in mind, create a vision of your ideal future. Fill it with optimism and empowering beliefs owing to your overall success – never give up, since you never know when the tides of fortune will come your way.