A very successful friend of mine suggested that I read the classic book "Think and Grow Rich." He said it would help me understand his mentality and is something he credits to his amazing success. So, I jumped in awaiting to learn the great secrets of the how the ultra-high net worth business people make their fortunes.
I lasted about 20 pages...
Every word I read was almost making me angry! Why am I reading this thing? It's so obvious what the "secret" is and so "common-sensical". How could my friend give this book any credit for his success?!
This book has sold over 15 million copies, so clearly I must be missing something, right? I mean, who am I to judge a book that has received such critical acclaim?
So, I stopped reading after the first chapter to reflect for a moment. Why would millions of others think this book is so amazing and I think it should be in the children's section?
To answer that, I want to tell you a couple short stories.
Can You Believe What You've Achieved?!?!
Recently a friend of mine and I were sitting at his ultra posh private bar he built so he and his friends could have a place to drink and play poker into the wee hours and not disturb his wife! This friend and I aren't very close, but he knows the success of my business and I'm familiar with his.
As we were sitting there, in a rare intimate moment, he looked me in the eye and asked me, "Can you believe the success you've achieved with your business?"
"Huh?" I thought to myself. What a strange question! We've never discussed anything of any substance before, so I was a little taken aback.
Feeling a little dumbfounded but trying to foster our first intimate conversation, I looked him straight back in the eye and answered, "Ya, of course."
Now we're both a little dumbfounded.
I wasn't expecting the question and he sure as hell wasn't expecting that answer.
This friend of mine, let's call him "Steve" for now, sort of "lucked" into his great wealth by most accounts. He's not the smartest guy, not the hardest working nor the most driven, yet he become very wealthy off one business deal that set he and his family up for life.
Me, not so much.
Which brings me to my second short story before I come back to how it ended with Steve.
How You Grow Up Does NOT Dictate Your Future
I grew up dirt poor, government housing, food stamps, abusive parents riddled with drug abuse. It's almost a cliche` these days so I won't go into the details and I certainly don't feel sorry for myself.
I wouldn't change a thing about how I grew up because it was part of the key to me developing the formula for success that forms the backbone of the book "Think and Grow Rich".
I'm not saying it was easy, though, because it wasn't. But it lead me to one of the most formative moments in my life that I'm going to share with you now - the outcome of this defining moment was one that helped determine whether or not I'd become successful in life and in business.
But, it was all we could afford on our college job incomes. We both made about $8 an hour working 32 hours per week on top of going to school full time.
Our meager income didn't leave much room for anything other than to pay our bills and study, but no matter what, we were never late on a bill. I was very strict on this policy, it was not an option for me to not pay my obligations.
But one month, this was put to the challenge. I was put to the challenge. After we had paid all our bills for the month and received our last pay checks for the next two weeks, we had 72 cents in our checking account.
How the hell do you survive on 72 cents for two weeks? My wife was a little freaked out by the situation and instantly suggested we call her parents and borrow some money.
They would have given it to us in a heart-beat, no questions asked. But, much to my wife's frustration, I refused.
"We will make it. I don't know exactly how, but we will. We will eat everything we have, ration it out, and we will get by. I'll ride my bike to class to save on gas."
The next two weeks weren't fun, they were miserable in fact. But we made it and my resolve grew even stronger than ever before. I knew I could make it through anything and not only survive, but come out stronger on the other side.
Over time, my resolve and determination turned that 72 cents into millions.
Which brings me back to "Steve".
Judging by the look on his face, he didn't exactly know how to take my answer. So, I tried to elaborate a little.
"Steve, from a very young age, I knew I would be successful, wealthy even. It was simply never a question in my mind. Not being rich wasn't an option to me."
And in those few words, you can glean everything you need to understand about becoming wealthy and what "Think and Grow Rich" is really all about.
Resolve. Determination. A mindset that simply doesn't entertain any other outcome.
It is THE secret to success that most all entrepreneurs possess.
A person with this mentality sees obstacles as opportunities and grows stronger with each passing hurdle.
I never said to myself "I want to be rich one day" or "I wish I were rich."
I said in my mind "I am going to be rich." This is simply how it's going to be.
How does someone with 72 cents to his name think and believe something like this?
THAT'S the "secret".
Decide today for yourself what it is YOU'RE going to be and what YOU'RE going to accomplish.
Listen, I'm not into those cheesy "feel good about yourself" self-help seminars. Saying something to yourself a million times in a mirror isn't going to make it true. Sorry, it's just not.
What's going to make your dream reality is making no other outcome a possibility. No matter what, you're going to "make it."
When you leave yourself no other options, you'll be shocked what happens in your life. It's like a dose of adrenaline to your mind. Like a woman who can all of a sudden lift a car to rescue a trapped child because she simply "has to", your mind will begin to work for you rather than against you.
It's true that most people defeat themselves before they even start. They've already "resolved" to lose. They've come up with every excuse in the book why they can't win - and they won't.
A successful entrepreneur's brain works the exact opposite. They find every excuse as to why they're going to win and why they deserve it. They RISE to a challenge that seems insurmountable because there simply is no other option other than to overcome.
Winning at Life...
I recently had an experience that illustrates the mindset of a winner. I race my Ferrari 458 Challenge in the North American Road Racing Association series. This series is open to any high horse power car that fits within the power to weight ratio class.
In my class, I find myself racing against Dodge Vipers, Porsche Cup Cars, Corvettes and other fast and powerful cars. The Vipers, however, are my main competition.
The power to weight rules state that the cars must have a specific horsepower to weight ratio, but everything else is fair game. You can run any aero that you choose - and torque is unlimited!
If you know much about racing, there's an old saying that says "horsepower sales cars, torque wins races!" Or one of my favorites, "horsepower determines how fast you'll hit the wall, torque determines how far you'll move it!"
Anyhow, the Vipers have over 600 lb/ft of torque to my piddly 380 lb/ft in the Ferrari. This is a massive advantage that allows the Vipers to shoot out of the corners like missiles. My only advantage is that the Ferrari has superior handling, which allows me to corner faster.
But, if I'm stuck behind a slow moving Viper through a corner, I've got no chance as they will exit the corner far faster than I can and gap me down the next straight.
In my last race, I managed to barely out qualify the fastest Viper by only .4 seconds! Even though I was starting on the pole position, my team had already accepted defeat before the race had even started!
My coach said to me, "Well, you really have no shot of winning, you shouldn't win, but if you were to win you're only hope is to somehow get ahead at the start and try to build a gap early on."
My own coach told me to my face I basically had no shot at winning.
Most people would use this as the catalyst to start building a defense mechanism in their minds to start softening the blow of the impending defeat. They'll start saying in their own minds, "He's a pro, an expert, he's right, I can't win. It's ok if I lose. No one expects me to win."
Successful people don't think that way. Losing is not an option, remember? Victory is the only possible outcome.
Without realizing it, all my coach did was give me the exact motivation I needed to find a way to make the outcome the way I KNEW it had to be rather than what he THOUGHT it would be.
But, let me preface this by saying I completely agreed with him!!
He was right, I really "shouldn't" win. I WAS out gunned; bringing a scalpel to a fight where a cannon was needed.
But that didn't matter. Sometimes you need to simply dispose of logic and change the outcome to what you want it to be through sheer will and determination. Remember the guy that turned 72 cents into millions of dollars? How logical was that outcome? Would you have bet on him?
So, for the next two hours I sat in our race trailer obsessing over what I needed to do to control the outcome to what I wanted it to be. I devised a plan in my head, visualized how I wanted the start of the race to go and then suited up.
As I went to get in the car there were about a dozen people standing around the car. I knew they were appreciating the beauty of the Ferrari, but in the back of my head they were there to watch a lamb go off to slaughter. More motivation...
"I'll show them, too."
The start of the race was critical to stay in front and hold my lead and it went exactly how I envisioned it in my head. I then proceeded to make the impossible possible, the illogical logical - and won with a 17 second lead!
That same type of determination, grit, tenacity, resolve and mental programming that says "there is no other option except for the one I choose" is "the secret" to being successful in life.
It's not rocket science. It has nothing to do with your upbringing, your current financial situation or anything else. It's a matter of will.
What will you "will" to happen with your life? It's up to you, no one's going to do it for you and no one is more invested in your success than you are.
Success is a mindset, a mindset that you have a choice to make.
So, what do you choose?
Chuck Quinton is a successful entrepreneur in the membership website industry, business coach and investor in other membership websites - oh, and a race car driver ;-). To learn more about how he can help you start or grow your business and achieve your dreams, click here.