This experiment began several years ago when I received a brochure in the mail advertising silver bullion coins as an investment vehicle. The “hook” was, “We will sell you two silver eagles for the price of one, if you agree to read our special report on silver.” When I saw this, I thought, “I could give one of these coins to a friend who was having money problems as a touch point for her prayers.” I sent her a coin and a notebook with instructions. Every day we prayed that the Lord would grant her wisdom in the area of finance. Every day she made an entry in her notebook.
The initial experiment was extremely successful. At the end of six months, her attitude towards money was radically different. She began to systematically eliminate her consumer debt. She changed some behaviors that were sabotaging her financial situation. Then towards the end of the six month experiment, she was able to move into her own home for the first time in her life.
Finally, when the participants are ready, they will give their coin with a blank notebook to a friend or a family member who is ready to change their relationship with money. In this way, friendship and blessings will keep flowing forward forever, even into eternity.
Lately, I have watched a few Youtube videos in the Top Ten Rules for Success series. The creator of these films patches together clips from various sources that illustrate why he believes the subject of his effort is successful. What is interesting to me is the diversity of the people he chooses to study. Everyone from Will Smith to Warren Buffett comes under his microscope.
There is considerable overlap on these lists. For example, work ethic appears again and again. Will Smith stated that he can’t control how much talent he has been given, but he assures the interviewer that no one will ever outwork him. He observes, “If you get on a treadmill and I get on a treadmill at the same time, one of two things will happen. Either you will get off first, or I will die.” Jackie Chan, the martial arts film star, talks about filming all day, then practicing the next day’s scenes until 2:00 AM. He gets up at 6:00 to be certain he will be fully prepared and ready to go when the cameras start to roll. In the interview, he smiles when he observes that then everyone tells him that he is lucky to be so talented.
It is interesting how many of the subjects of these videos, “aren’t in it for the money.” Donald Trump states he really doesn’t care about money. He just views it as a way to keep score. When he talks about the thrill of putting together some enormous deal and the ego rush that happens when he hits it big, I really believe that to the Donald, money is all about bragging rights, not an end in itself. The same words came from Steve Jobs. During his mid-twenties he went from a net worth of $1 million, to a net worth of $10 million, to a net worth of $100 million over the course of a few years. When he commented, Don’t get me wrong, money is useful for funding things like long range projects that can’t fund themselves, but it isn’t why I do this, I believe him.
T. Harv Eker, author of The Millionaire Mind is a journalist who has studied the common traits of successful people. He notes, “Rich people believe, I create my life, while average people think, life happens to me.” This also appears over and over again in the Top Ten series. Successful people take 100% responsibility for the outcome of their life even in the face of failures that were not their fault. Good grief, Steve Jobs was fired by the company he created. For a businessman, it doesn’t get much worse than that. Before returning to Apple, Jobs started NeXT, a computer company that created advanced computers for business, education, and graphic applications. During these years, he also started Pixar, a company that revolutionized the use of computer graphics in the film industry. Apple needed the NeXT operating system for their NeXT product, so they bought the company and let Jobs return to his position as CEO.
All these people play to win, especially the sports and martial arts stars who are featured in these videos. Failure is not an option. All though the subject was a movie, Chuck Norris recalls the intensity of Bruce Lee’s competitive spirit. At the time, Norris was the professional middle weight karate champion of the world. He lost a number of fights before holding that title for six consecutive years. Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were friends who had practiced together for several years before Lee returned to China to start his film career. Lee asked Norris to participate in the final fight scene of his new movie.
Norris asked, “Do I get to win?”
A bit annoyed, Bruce replied, “No. I’m the star of the film.”
Norris laughed, “Oh I see, you want to beat the world’s champion.”
Bruce Lee answered in an icy, serious tone, “No. I want to kill the world’s champion.” The final fight in The Way of the Dragon, filmed in the Coliseum in Rome, remains a gold standard kung fu combat scene more than forty years after its filming.
One more question to ask yourself: Who is a part of your life? Steve Jobs was friends with the founder and CEO of Nike. Donald Trump and the activist investor, Carl Icahn are buddies. Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee were friends and sparing partners. Eker writes, “They see other successful people as models to learn from. They say to themselves, “If they can do it, I can do it.”
Jim Rohn is famous for stating that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you want to be a better Christian, hang out with Christians who are further up the ladder than you. If you want to be rich, find people who are rich. Ask them how they did it. Learn from wiser and more successful people. It is easier than making your own mistakes.
Now, “Think Different!”