You know the story…Guy lives in a mansion with five luxury cars and a wife who looks like a swimsuit model. He posts videos on Insta where he talks about the lavish lifestyle he enjoys while driving in a car with the Ferrari logo strategically in focus. He speaks about the time when he lived on a friend’s couch, broke and without direction. He recalls how he didn’t have a clue how he would turn things around, but always believed in himself and never gave up on his dreams. He says that he is glad he went through such difficult times because it makes him more grateful for the incredible wealth he enjoys today. He shares images of exotic vacations and private jets and says with conviction that all he wants to do today is help other people achieve their dreams – the way he did. What a guy!
Of course, we all know how the story ends. For a small fee, you can attend a seminar where he will show you the secrets to his phenomenal success. Okay, not so bad, but the first seminar only gives you a taste, and it leads to a special one-of-a-kind workshop that is even more exclusive – and more expensive. It goes on and on from there, upsell after upsell, eventually leading to the ultimate level. The crème de la crème, where you finally learn how to make a fortune doing, you guessed it, selling success seminars of your own.
It’s astonishing to me how many seemingly smart people continue to fall prey to scams like this. But it’s not about intelligence. The reason guys like this exist is because so many people have no idea what money is all about.
This past week, I posted on Facebook the following message:
I know some wealthy people. I mean some REALLY wealthy people. Not one of them has ever posted a picture of themselves in front of a mansion with Rolls Royce cars in the driveway. They just don’t. Conmen in get-rich-quick infomercials are who do that…
The post got a ton of engagement. While a few people misinterpreted the message as a critique of people who celebrate their success, the remarks I received were mostly positive and insightful. One person said “a lion doesn’t need to tell you he’s a lion”, and another said “rich is loud, but wealth whispers”. I liked both of those, but the intended message was more cautionary. I was trying to say that there are a lot of swindlers pretending to be rich and selling snake oil – so be careful. That said, I think the comments I received on Facebook may have been driving to an even more basic question: What is wealth?
Depending on our backgrounds, our perceptions of wealth may vary. Most people stumble when asked what they truly want out of life. They can’t give a concise answer. For me, I define wealth as having the financial means to live the life I was destined to live. That may sound lofty, but in my mind, wealth is about freedom…freedom and time. There is a line in the movie Wall Street where Gordon Gekko describes success as being “rich enough not to waste time”. The Gekko character wasn’t intended to be a pillar of wisdom, but I thought that was a pretty deep thought, and it stuck in my head for years. Having the time and freedom to do the things I love and am passionate about. In a nutshell, that’s wealth to me, and it includes being in a position to help people who are less fortunate as well as living a consequential life – that matters. That’s just me, it’s not the same for everyone. Do I want a nice house and a comfortable lifestyle? Sure, but those things are more tactical to me. In other words, they are part of a bigger picture but they aren’t in themselves the goal. The articulation of the goal matters a great deal. I once read that some kids set their goals to play in the NBA, and if they don’t make it, the skills they acquired along the way such as shooting and dribbling a basketball aren’t very useful for any other career. Other kids set their goal to be the next Bill Gates, and if they don’t make it, the skills they acquired along the way such as coding and executive skills are useful for a number of great careers. You can aspire to play professional sports, but your goals should be larger and more substantial than just playing a game well.
If your goals are clear and more evolved than having material things, you will be much happier and you will eventually also have the material things you want and need, but your actions need to be consistent. I guarantee you, if you asked Jordan Belfort from the movie, the Wolf of Wall Street, what was the most important thing to him, he probably would have said something like “spending time with his family”. He might have even meant it, but that’s not what his actions demonstrated. It’s not only what is in your mind, it’s how it is personified in your actions.
Most people spend a majority of their life chasing things that in the end won’t provide them with much happiness. That’s why so many of them fall for get-rich scams. They aren’t clear about what truly matters. We all have a destiny; some people call it living their best life. Does it include driving a Rolls Royce and living in a mansion? Maybe…but it certainly doesn’t have to. My wife’s best life is being the best mother possible to our kids, which includes having the means to visit our daughter in NYC whenever she wants, attend all of our son’s college basketball games, and of course, spoiling our new granddaughter. The Gekko character also says “the most valuable commodity I know is information” – in this case, I disagree. Time and freedom are the most valuable commodities on earth…and money, if you have a mature understanding, can provide you with an abundance of both. If you haven’t read the NAHREP 10 in a while, take a look at it. It was written with a lot of these ideas in mind.
Almost everyone, including Democrats, were expecting last Tuesday’s midterm election results to heavily favor Republicans. Many predicted a “red wave” where they would pick up 50-60 seats in the House and 3-4 in the Senate. Joe Rogan said the red wave that is coming will be like the elevator doors opening in the horror film The Shining.
When we invited Gary Vaynerchuk to NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE in 2021, I was mostly relying on input from others. Several members loved his content, but the little I saw online left me underwhelmed. However, I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation at our event, particularly his comments about toxic employees, which he says to dump with impunity.
Selling during a downturn required a more strategic approach, but the opportunities for growth and expansion are available to the savviest of companies. Here are some of the best ideas I’ve read about.
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors said “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!”. The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” A few days later the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out “Your horse has returned and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” and the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”