Remarkable Business Lessons from Billionaires That Can Add Value to Your Life
Inspiration is powerful.
If success has been avoiding you, it’s quite easy to give in to defeat. But guess what? what if we were to tell you that every successful person that you’ve ever idolized has gone through the same route as you except when the bridge of defeat showed up, they cut across and made it to the other side.
The other side of the bridge is filled with success, wealth, fame, wisdom, and knowledge. Are you ready to forgo all these things just because you are unable to overcome your current situation?
Billionaires have shared their success stories, and therefore make excellent role models for young and upcoming entrepreneurs looking for the right bit of motivation to get them that competitive edge.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A ROLE MODEL IN OUR LIVES
Imagine being able to walk down a road when you’ve just fractured your leg. Impossible, isn’t it? Now, try walking with a pair of crutches on either side of you. Suddenly, the impossible walk doesn’t look so hard to achieve.
Similarly, our mental state depletes itself of positive energy and is unable to think out of a difficult situation. In these times, a role model becomes the crutches to our mind and help us achieve our goals without quitting.
A role model is somebody we can look up to and emulate their success. We try and understand how they managed to get past from a difficult situation and make a blueprint of their life as our own to replicate. In this way, finding success isn’t far away.
Every Successful Person Has Their Own Role Model
When we were kids, we would look at our moms cook and when they weren’t around, our naughty hands would reach for the kitchen knife and try to recreate the dish while making a mess in the kitchen. As humans, we’ve all considered our parents as our role models while growing up. Likewise, when we grow up we look up to successful figures that achieved fame, success, and wealth such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates as our role models.
Every role model has their own role model and so forth. Let’s take Bill Gates, for example, a report mentioned Mr. Gates referring to Warren Buffett as an influential figure in his life and how he clarified his business vision while using Warren Buffet’s decision-making process.
That’s right! Every successful person has their own role model, even Warren Buffett had his own role model — Benjamin Graham, his mentor.
Do you see where we are going with this?
There’s a pattern with successful people and how they emulate their role models into achieving their goals.
Learn from their Mistakes
Even successful people make mistakes early in their careers. Take Warren Buffet for example, in the early 1960s, Mr. Buffet invested an undisclosed amount in a textile business that he famously termed as a “$200 billion-dollar blunder”. He stated that this decision was the worst decision of his life and had he invested in any good insurance company at the time, it would have been “worth twice the value”.
But this mistake alone didn’t stop Mr. Buffet from becoming one of the wealthiest people in the world. In fact, trial and error is part of life. Without investing in different stocks, he wouldn’t have understood how to streamline his stock options and hence, wouldn’t have tasted the same level of success as today.
Another famous name, Richard Branson of Virgin Group launched a series of brands that didn’t really live up to the mark. Virgin Cola was launched to compete with Coca-Coca and it fell flat on its face.
Next, he came up with Virgin Cosmetics which primarily focused on beauty products, and homeware, it was sold after a commercial failure. Branson also dabbled in wedding products and automobiles but even these brands were soon a marketing disaster in terms of revenue growth.
While it’s easy for us to assume that the richest of the rich have lived perfect lives and have made the perfect choices during their careers, the truth is much further away than you think.
The more successful you are, the more the pressure of living up to these expectations and hence, a higher chance of failure.
Become the Best Version of Yourself
“You are what you are today because of the choices you made yesterday, and the choices you make today will make you what you are tomorrow.” — Michael Josephson
The biggest enemy that stops us from achieving success and chasing our goals is ourselves. We usually prefer shortcuts instead of learning the process, we prefer self-destruction to self-preservation, and we certainly like to put off things for tomorrow instead of doing them today.
All these negative thoughts hinder us from achieving the best form of ourselves that we aim to be in the future.
To change this negative idea into a positive one, we need to start at the very core of our thoughts.
Let’s start with a simple self-improvement exercise by understanding yourself. First, get yourself a voice recorder, you can use your phone if you like. Now, glance through the questions below and speak into your tape recorder in an orderly fashion. Ensure the answers are well-detailed, don’t worry about stammering or being perfect, just concentrate on your thoughts. If it helps you can keep your eyes closed to visualize your answers.
1. What’s the most important thing in the whole world to me?
2. Is it worth changing myself into a better version of me to achieve this important vision?
3. What prevents me from achieving this dream?
4. Is there anyone out there that can help me achieve this dream?
5. What would life be like without achieving this dream?
6. What kind of life would I lead if this dream is achieved?
7. What scares me the most about myself?
8. What is my strongest feature?
9. On a scale of 1-10, how committed am I to achieving this dream?
10. Am I willing to accept guidance for self-improvement if given the option?
By recording your answers, you create an audible version of your thoughts for replayability. Play this recording every day when you wake up and remind yourself of your life’s goals and why you need to be focused for the rest of the day.
We promise in a month’s time, you’ll begin to witness a drastic self-improvement.
While many people aren’t comfortable in hearing their own voice, this exercise aims to bring out the answers that you aren’t going to share with anyone but yourself.
These hidden thoughts are the reason you are blocking your mind and passion from communicating with each other.
Whether the reasons are jealousy, envy, greed, anger, laziness, etc. the answers are clear to you.
Motivate Yourself to Overcome Failure
A study conducted by Adam McCaffrey on “how fear of failure affects individuals” brought out stunning results. As previously believed, the study proved that there was a strong link between people who feared failure and those that procrastinated a lot during the day.
Another hypothesis that Adam revealed in this study was the fact that people with low energy levels had no reason to try further beyond giving up and facing defeat against failure.
Many of the statistics were collected from college students belonging to undergraduates and graduate levels. This study proves that fear of failure is planted right from an academic level and that every year students come out of universities without the right mindset to guide them into being self-determined individuals.
So how do we change this negative mindset when we step out of our colleges thinking of ourselves as incompetent individuals?
Simple, we should aim to reflect on the lives of successful people and try to mirror their qualities. We must know that every successful person has had a long journey and at the start of that journey, they were exactly in our shoes — young and incompetent.
With this thought, we can begin to feel relieved that we too can achieve success and there’s nothing to stop us from heading in the same successful direction as our role models.
To begin with, here are a few ground rules you should follow.
- Don’t try to please everyone, it’s alright to be disliked but it’s more important that you believe in yourself
- Don’t attack others with a different opinion than yourself, your idea isn’t the absolute truth and shouldn’t be treated like one
- If you feel like a “doormat” with your present group of friends. Stop hanging out with them and choose a positive group to hang out with
- Always speak your mind out, no matter how uncomfortable you are.
- It’s great to be a “yes-man”, but occasionally do say “No” when you feel the need to
- Don’t put off something for tomorrow what can be done today. Remember, for every minute you waste, someone else in the world is doing something productive in that same timeframe. Time is money.
- Nice people don’t always have to finish first. But society prefers a humble “runner-up” than a selfish winner.
INVALUABLE BUSINESS LESSONS FROM BILLIONAIRES THEMSELVES
1. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait — Amancio Ortega (Zara)
As far as retail shops go, Amancio Ortega is the wealthiest retailer in the world with a famous retail brand that’s popular the world over — Zara.
Ortega had his humble beginnings when he started delivering packages for a local clothing store and from there on he went on to become the owner of the biggest fashion empire in the world.
It’s time to stop and ask yourself a few questions —
Did Ortega become a billionaire because he was fortunate to find work early on?
Or did he have a set of rules that he followed that made him what he’s today?
While a lot of people believe in lady luck’s touch having her way with billionaires and their fortunes. It’s quite further than the actual truth. Here are 5 life lessons shared by the fashion baron himself.
Even Introverts are liable to become billionaires
If you thought you need to socialize with people and get out more often to get rich, think again. Ortega had famously stated, “You must appear three times in the local newspaper — when you’re born, when you’re married, and when you die.”
He doesn’t spend time with the press as often as you’d expect a billionaire to. Ortega demonstrates that to succeed you don’t have to be a social person.
Never forget your roots
If you were a billionaire, which part of the world would you like to be in?
Rome, Greece, Switzerland, Mauritius, etc.?
Ortega has stayed in the same hometown for a long time — A Coruña, Galicia which is in Spain. To think the man has it made in every aspect of his life and still chooses to never leave his hometown.
In fact, his empire was built in this very place with his first shop being opened in the city and he has stuck to his roots even to this day.
Never too late
If you thought you were trudging through your 30’s and the end of life is just ahead, think again. Ortega was 40 when he founded Zara. Let that sink in for a little bit.
If you think dreams of being a billionaire were only reserved to the twenty-something youngsters and that the rest of us in our thirties and forties should retire, Ortega is here to show us the way that life isn’t “lights out” till the old lady sings it.
Good things come to those who wait
You really didn’t think that Ortega founded Zara and the next morning he was rolling in a billion dollars, did you? It took him a whole decade for Ortega to start the primary holding company of Zara — Inditex. It was then he opened his very first shop.
With patience comes success. Take a step back and look at what you can do. Don’t rush through life and make hasty decisions. A single thoughtful decision will lead you to success over 100 rushed decisions.
While it may sound like a cliché, Ortega believed success came to those that were humble. Ortega continues to dine at the same coffee shop that he used to years ago.
He has a moderate dressing sense for a fashion conglomerate. He believes that humility helps with dealing with anxiety and to become better visionaries for his workers.
It’s not wrong to show off your wealth or to flash your expensive car in public, but when it’s time to work, it’s important to have self-control and be willing to assist others.
2. Failure and Mistakes Are Very Valuable — Bill Gates (Microsoft)
Bill Gates held the title of the world’s richest man from 1995 to 2017. He was the undisputed king of all billionaires for more than 2 decades.
Most of his wealth was made from his famous operating system —MS-DOS which went to be named as the famed Windows in 1985 that changed the way the world saw personal computing.
Here are 5 life lessons from the genius billionaire himself.
Feed your mind knowledge
Gates believed in the power of books and even though he was a computer software entrepreneur, he rarely used electronic devices in his home and would immerse himself in reading. He believed that reading would open a world of creativity and through creativity, you can inspire yourself to build something that’s truly special to you.
The modern world prefers instant gratification instead of coming up with a disciplined approach. We prefer to munch on junk food because it’s easy to acquire, we prefer to sit on our couches and watch television for hours on end, we even prefer to create shortcuts to our problems instead of finding a solution for them.
Gates recommends inviting discipline in our lives — replace junk food with healthy food, replace hours of couch surfing with innovative thinking and we’ll eventually find our success.
Give back to the world
Being the richest man on the planet, you’d think Gates would have shunned away from philanthropy.
The truth is quite the opposite.
Gates and his wife, Melinda have given away more than $30 billion in charity to the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”. He actively takes part in traveling the world and launching various eco-friendly projects to sustain the planet. He fully believes in the future of tomorrow and consistently gives back to society what he gained from it.
In part, we must do our best to give back to the planet as much as we profit from it.
Be your own boss
You either work to plant a sapling in someone else’s farm or you plant it in your own backyard. In the end, the only difference is the fact that the tree in the other person’s farm will always be his property but the one growing in your backyard will be your special creation. T
aking control of your own company is a risk but Gates achieved it when he was just 13.
Do you still feel a 13-year-old had a less risky path than your adult self?
Be kind to nerds
The nerd that you laughed at in school can turn out to be the richest man in the world. Gates is the living proof of this example. Think again when you think you’re superior to someone else just, by the way, they act and behave. It’s not nice to profile someone under your own opinion and cause them distress by your hurtful words. Always be kind to people.
3. Stop Stopping Yourself — Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
Mark Zuckerberg in his teenage days was no different from your average geek, except this “ambitious” geek had a vision. A goal to connect the world in a way that would forever revolutionize the way we interact with each other.
Today, Facebook is more than a social-media platform. It’s a way of life. Before we brush our teeth in the morning, we are checking our notification bar. Before we shut our eyes for a good night’s rest, we take one good last peak for any missed messages from our friends.
To start a platform such as this, Zuckerberg surely followed a strict set of rules to achieve his dream. Let’s look at them.
You are as strong as the team with you
Facebook might have been Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild but it’s the good people that work in Facebook’s offices that we get to enjoy a seamless product.
Mark Zuckerberg fully credits his team for his successful business model. To achieve success, we need to pull together a team that believes in our vision and is willing to sacrifice what it takes to achieve it.
Remember the famous phrase — “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Be the CEO and proclaim it
Every single decision taken by Mark’s team goes through him before it gets executed, no matter how small.
Take charge of the entrepreneur in you and realize your dream, this isn’t a children’s race. Show your team that you’re the boss around and don’t let them control the interests of the company. If you have firm beliefs and you believe some of your employees don’t share it. It’s time to let them go.
There’s no place for freeloaders on a train that’s scheduled to run on purpose.
Don’t be fazed by negative opinions
Before Mark Zuckerberg was famous, he was rejected by a girl and this rejection played a major role in his creation of “Facebook”.
Your ability to think differently is the reason you are you. If you were to copy another person’s opinion, you reflect the other person’s dream. Don’t be scared to come out with ideas that may shock your colleagues and peers.
The best part about being unique is that you’ll initially be rejected but when they see your success, they’ll gather around you like puppets.
Go big or go home
The ideas that come to you are only as big as your goals are. If you set the goals to reach the peak of a mountain, you’ll have reached the mountain. If you set the goal to reach the moon, you may one day find yourself strapped on a spaceship.
Similarly, when Mark was first asked to reveal his end game goal, he said “connecting the entire world”. This statement made his friends smirk out of surprise. Today, Mark Zuckerberg has connected about 1/3rd of the planet.
4. Forget Perfection — Eike Batista (EBX Group)
Compared to the other four billionaires on this list, Eike Batista may not have the recognition that he deserves around the world, but he’s a successful role model, nonetheless. He was listed as the 8th richest person in the world and possessed a $30 billion net worth. There’s ample amount of knowledge the man has that we’d like to learn.
Let’s understand what life lessons make Eike Batista so successful.
Be optimistic but more importantly, realistic
Batista lost close to 90% of his entire net worth in 2008. It’s almost heart wrenching to know someone could erase that amount of money due to bankruptcy. It makes you wonder if the 8th richest person in the world can find his way back on the roads, what chance do I have on this godforsaken land?
Good question. The answer to this is to remain realistic and be grounded. He kept his hopes up and didn’t sell his shares when they began to plummet, he eventually stuck to his stocks and made back his money when the market moved back up.
Don’t live on borrowed money
Batista’s downfall was caused due to a $5 billion debt he owed to other companies.
Leverage or loans are convenient ways to recover from our losses. After all, there’s always a means to pay back the loans, right? Wrong!
If you don’t have an active business plan or a means to pay back the interest + principle, you’ll end up living on borrowed money and the interest keeps growing every year. That’s why it’s important to never leverage more than you can handle. In fact, it’s best to live modestly for a while until you can recover your way of living.
Need a strong base for your work
If the hull of a ship is weak, it’s bound to sink as soon as it hits the water. It’s always important to strengthen the base of your work or it can be a major disaster. There will be bad days when your business is on the roads, but it takes a true character to be able to recover from that and make your way back up.
5. Fiercely Protect Your Brand — Oprah Winfrey (The Oprah Winfrey Show)
The only woman on this list and what a life Oprah Winfrey has lived. From being sexually abused as a kid to struggling to make ends meet and finally having her own successful talk show — “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Oprah Winfrey’s story is the type that would make a perfect Hollywood movie. In fact, the script is perfect except this woeful story is proof of how an individual can come out of the worst of conditions and still make it through.
The great lady shares some of her life lessons that can truly show us the way out of our miseries.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Whether in life or business, failure is absolute that everyone gets to experience. Oprah failed several times when applying as a tv host. It took her several tries to land a job on a show, which eventually became the “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Oprah earned $500 dollars for a speech she gave as a kid since then she harbored the dream of wanting to earn a living by speaking to an audience. As fortune would have it, today she is a billionaire and in an industry that she dreamt as a kid.
You are responsible for your own life
If a kid like Oprah Winfrey could overcome serious issues like sexual assaults and poverty and make it into the spotlight, what’s stopping you from achieving your dream?
It doesn’t matter how bad life was in the past, the only answer to this is to look towards the future and make the best you can with what you have. Don’t waste time blaming others for something you weren’t gifted with instead be grateful for the things you’ve been blessed with.
Ending bring beginnings
Everyone on earth has their own unique story. Every life is precious and has meaning to it. If you think you’ve not achieved any success in your life, it’s time to close the chapter of this book and open a new one of joy and passion. For every end there is a beginning of a new chapter, start yours today, find your inner joy and start something that you always wanted to do.
Don’t react — Respond
When Donald Trump sent a nasty tweet to Oprah Winfrey, she didn’t react to it and only responded to herself internally stating “I don’t like giving negativity power.”
This statement is so simple yet so powerful. If only we could ignore our naysayers and proceed with our gifted talents. It doesn’t matter what others say about you. In fact, the more negative things others say, the more you must prove to them that they’re wrong but not by words but with your actions.
In her Golden Globe speech, she commented on the importance of being gracious and how it helped her achieve her success. When we find ourselves to be victims of pride, it’s necessary to wake up from the illusion and do something about it.
Take the first step of demonstrating gratitude to all the loved ones in your life. Start to respect your colleagues in your office and begin to start a life with gratefulness. You never know what you have until you’ve lost it.
We aren’t here forever but the actions that we choose to perform can leave a lasting impression. Billionaires don’t just show us the way to get super-rich, but they also show us the path to a peaceful life even during times of distress. Every billionaire in this list had their own set of pitfalls that they had to face. It’s only during these hardships that their mental state was truly tested to the fullest.
We too are being tested in these trying times. It’s important to keep a clear head and come out of all the negativity, unscathed. Remember, to become a billionaire, you first need to be a millionaire. Make sure to add milestones to your goals.