[amazon-product align=”right” alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″ region=”us” tracking_id=”varsblah-20″]1612030165[/amazon-product]Last week, in the first part of this review, we looked at the importance of moderation, the problem with luck, and the three secrets of happiness. All this relates to success, “the royal road we all want to tread”.
“The art of making money implies all those qualities – resolution, concentration, economy, self-control – which make for success and happiness. The power of using it makes a man who has become the captain of his own soul in the process of its acquirement also the master of the circumstances which surround him.”
Money tends to conjure up images of an “enchanted paradise where to wish is to have”. But money is only valuable for two reasons: the character it creates as we acquire it and the self-expression of individuality as we use it. This is why the rich don’t leave vast wealth to their descendants. Brains and character are the only inheritance their heirs need.
Wealth is built on three pillars:
- The instinct for values – “The young man who will walk through life developing the capacity for determining values, and then correcting his judgements by his information, is the man who will succeed in business.”
- The habit of economy – “There is nothing like sticking to one line of business until you have mastered it. A man who has learned how to conduct a single industry at a profit has conquered the obstacles which stand in the way of success in the larger world of enterprise.”
- The technique of business – “It is so easy for premature ambition to launch men out into daring schemes for which they have neither the resources nor the experience. Acquire the knowledge of values, practise economy, and learn to read the minds of men, and your technique will then be perfected and ready for use on wider fields.”
Yes, it’s hard to strike it rich during a downturn, but there’s hope for those with patience: “It is true that no great profits will be made in such years of depression. But the lean years will not last forever. Industry during the period of deflation goes through a process like that of an over-fat man taking a Turkish bath. The extravagances are eliminated, new invention and energy spring up to meet the call of necessity, and when the boom years come again it finds industry, like a highly trained athlete, ready to pour out the goods and pay the wages.” Let’s sweat those toxins out!
“A life of sheltered study does not allow a boy to learn the hard facts of the world – and business is concerned with reality. The truth is that education is the fruit of temperament, not success the fruit of education. What a man draws into himself by his own natural volition is what counts, because it becomes a living part of himself.”
Mark Zuckerberg. Richard Branson. Bill Gates. The fact that these and many other college dropouts went on to become insanely rich proves that traditional education isn’t mandatory for success. In some cases it can actually be detrimental because focusing on one kind of knowledge can cause the neglect of another.
Yes, education is valuable (I’d like my doctor to have a degree, than you very much!), but there’s no need to feel discouraged because you didn’t go to an Ivy League school: “[Man] is the creator and not the sport of his fate. He can triumph over his upbringing and, what is more, over himself.”
The most important thing is to read: “That reading alone is valuable which becomes part of the reader’s own mind and nature, and this can never be the case if the matter is not the result of self-selection, but forced on the student from outside.” Isn’t it about time you turned off the TV and picked up a book that will make a positive difference in your life?
“The arrogant man can neither be friends with others nor, what is worse still, be friends with himself. The intense concentration on self which the mental habit brings not only disturbs any rational judgement of the values of the outer world, but poisons all sanity, calm, and happiness at the very source of being.”
Arrogance (“the sense of ability and power run riot”) often comes at the first taste of victory. It is worse than pride (“a more or less just estimate of one’s own power and responsibilities”) and vanity (“pluming oneself exactly on the qualities one does not possess”).
The only way to cure arrogance is to fail; not so completely that we can’t recover and end up bitter as a result but just enough that we know we aren’t invincible. The sooner this happens, the better. That’s because it’s harder to get over arrogance later in life when the possessor turns into a “bore and fool”. Who wants to be that?
Did you enjoy this post? Please remember to Like, Tweet, and Share it using the social media links. And remember to subscribe to free alerts or follow me on Twitter to be notified when the next instalment is released. For more on the subject, read my review of Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance.