I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve never heard of anybody becoming a millionaire doing the job they went to school for. (Even specialty doctors, with their crazy salaries, end up with so much debt from school that they’re not making profit until their 40s. No wonder some doctors never want to retire!)
I have, however, noticed some things that famously successful people have in common.
They’re prepared to take risks.
Ever heard of a dude named Bill Gates? Sure, you have now. Back in 1975, when he was forming his first partnership with a company to write computer code for them? No, you didn’t have a clue who this guy was. But by November of the next year, Microsoft was a trademarked name, and he dropped out of Harvard to make his company work. Keep in mind, dude had graduated high school in 1973 – were you ready to start your own company in a field nobody’s ever heard of before 3 years out of high school?
And now, he’s the richest dude in the U.S., if not the world.
They seize opportunities.
Steve Jobs had a fledgling company called Apple Computers in the early 1980s. He, of course, was looking for ways to make his product stand out from IBM and the other PC clones on the market, when he hears about a little gadget invented by Xerox called a “mouse”, and the Graphical User Interface that went with it.
By 1984, the Macintosh was born, paving the way for other GUIs to come (Windows, most notably).
They don’t let setbacks stop them.
Warren Buffet (the billionaire stockbroker) has made bad calls and lost money (sometimes millions) on investments. He wanted to work for Benjamin Graham (a rather successful stockbroker himself) right out of college, but Graham wouldn’t hire him at first. (After demonstrating his prowess, he was hired at Graham’s firm a few years later.)
Steve Jobs was famously fired from Apple in 1985. What did he do after that? Oh, just went on to found the Pixar movie studio, get re-hired back at Apple and make them approximately all the money in the world, and invent half the electronic devices we know of today (including the iPad I’m writing this on).
Bill Gates and Microsoft were the subject of anti-trust litigation in 1998, in the course of which, the judge ruled against Microsoft. Gates went on to release the first video game console by an American company since Atari stopped selling the Jaguar.
All of these traits make sense when you think about them. You can’t start a new business (which is what most successful people do) without taking risks. Those risks are more likely to pay off if you are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. And no successful anything would ever happen if everyone stopped at the first sign of failure – do babies stop trying to walk the first time they fall down? Do people completely give up on dating the very first time somebody rejects their offer of dinner and a movie?
Failure will always happen on the way to success – it gives you time to practice. There will always be tons of reasons why a business venture, or a writing career, or any number of things didn’t work out – but the easiest one to fix is the “I gave up on it” reason.
Just a few thoughts of encouragement for y’all. Until next time.