Everywhere you go, there are complaints about tough times. From every quarter: teachers, civil servants, business persons, students, etc. Last week, I put a call through to my Billionaire Friend to pick his mind. He replied that building wealth and complaints don’t go together, and that requires a different mindset. He said the note he had sent to me on the same subject is still apt for this season. You might want to take another look at it, shared below:
In his words, “Generally, wealth building requires a can-do mindset. This mindset must be devoid of casting blame and excuses. This mindset grows from years of building competencies, continuous acquisition of knowledge, burning desire for success, commitment and unwavering focus on achieving goals. With these and other positive natural attributes, wealth-builders have a high chance of building extraordinary lives. Having a mindset that fuels defiance and grittiness helps you face life’s challenges head-on”.
“A simple look into students’ attitudes at examination centres can teach us something about this can-do mindset. An aura of confidence oozes out from a student who has prepared well for an exam, and most times, they pass excellently. Athletes also have this same attitude. They come to sports events brimming with confidence and zeal. I think that a sportsman who does not believe he can win has a high chance of failing. Everything about life and human endeavours requires a positive attitude and thinking for producing good results”.
“There is a reason many authors widely discuss positive thinking as an ingredient for success in all spheres of human endeavours. It is common for unsuccessful people to blame others, blame their environment, and give good excuses for their failures”.
“Growing up, we had a neighbour who blamed “Capital” for failing to succeed as a big-time printer. He was an excellent printer, however, he had to rely on other printing presses for printing the jobs he obtained from clients. Unfortunately, until he died, he did not acquire his printing press. There were also other neighbours, who blamed lack of capital for not being able to build their own homes and died as tenants”.
“Meanwhile, back then on Lagos Mainland, landed properties were comparatively very cheap. Yet such tenants kept blaming lack of capital for not being able to buy land. At the same time, many of their co-tenants devoted time and energy to planning and gradually building capital to buy their properties. Many others who kept offering excuses, blaming lack of money and poor economy, ended up as tenants till they eventually died. They kept casting blame and making excuses for their inability to act, take advantage of available opportunities and plan appropriately. This trait can also be found among potential wealth builders. You should see how wealth builders are staying aloof, and doing nothing while blaming their situation on the high inflation rate, cost of capital, badly managed naira exchange rate, and poor safety of life and properties, for their failures in building wealth. Whereas, under these same circumstances, other wealth builders with the “can-do” mindset are taking advantage of these same circumstances to build wealth”.
“Generally, human successes are best achieved by observing our environments and staying on the lookout for untapped opportunities. No matter how bad the environment of successful wealth-builders may be, they end up spotting the ripe and hanging fruits of opportunities, which are waiting to be plucked by discerning and smart wealth-builders. Thus, wealth builders who have taken the time and effort to take advantage of all the values and attributes that have been discussed in our previous conversations will always succeed, no matter how bad their environment may be. History has it that many wealth builders made their wealth during the Second World War, between 1939 and 1945. Others made their wealth in the accompanying economic depression after the war by searching, probing, investigating, and looking out for opportunities hanging out there. These all require wisdom, knowledge, skills, and a strong positive attitude toward life”.
“Casting blame and excuses are self-destructive and do not go well with building wealth. Humans are not built to be passive and complacent. Man was not designed to lie down doing nothing and blaming others for their inability to be successful in life”.
“Sportsmen spend hours and days preparing for their success by training hard and exercising. Scholars prepare for their successes by reading extensively, continuously acquiring knowledge, researching and devouring books. Wealth builders too, generally only succeed from searching for hanging, yet-to-be-tapped opportunities, acquiring basic skills, literacy and knowledge about finance and economics and growing their competencies for taking advantage of the opportunities arising from their surrounding challenges. Such challenges include environmental, climatic, economic, financial, scarcity of goods and services, exchange rate mismanagement and many others. We had mentioned in our earlier sessions individuals such as Femi Otedola, Aliko Dangote and a host of others who with this can-do mindset took advantage of the opportunities in the environment to create phenomenal wealth”.
ACQUIRING THE MINDSET
“The “can-do” mindset, which is positive thinking, has an element of innateness. Some people are naturally pessimistic. They never see success in any endeavour. Most times, life gets hard for them. In life, those who give excuses and cast blame struggle to succeed. However, people who have a positive attitude towards life have a high chance of succeeding, regardless of how many times they experience failure in their journey”.
“A good historical example is Abraham Lincoln. He competed many times before finally becoming President of the United States of America. There are many examples to cite of those who climbed and failed many times before eventually succeeding in reaching their heights. The process of achieving success in life is not a piece of cake. It is generally tasking, arduous and can be disturbing. It requires personal sacrifices of energy, resources, reading, trying, failing and rising. Many times, people tell me that I must like the selfless sacrifices that I make of my time, resources, needs and energy, which accounts for why I go on, making such sacrifices. But I laugh in response to their ignorance. I engage in those sacrifices and hard work, mainly because of eventually achieving my goal of reaping happiness and lasting selfless legacies from those ongoing sacrifices and hard work. Indeed, the process of building wealth is not an easy one. It involves making similar sacrifices, with success being expected, helping to pump up the energies of wealth builders and keeping them going. Such expected success can be likened to that of a first-class student, who spends all his time and energy reading and researching. This is exactly what happens with wealth builders who take advantage of opportunities around them by positively thinking, aspiring and overcoming confronting challenges to their endeavours”.
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING?
“Generally, a negative attitude, as earlier discussed, leads to failure. This question has been globally covered by famous authors. Of particular reference, is Dr Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote the book, “Power of Positive Thinking”.
“Dr Vincent Peale, a clergyman, has written about forty-six books on issues around positive thinking. ‘Power of Positive Thinking’ is his most powerful book on the subject. In that book, he clearly stated that to succeed in life as with wealth building, people must believe in everything they do. Wealth builders must be kind to themselves. That is to be kind to themselves in the sense of not overworking themselves. They should give themselves time to attend to their health and well-being whilst pursuing wealth building. The author also clearly states that positive thinkers must build new power and determination at every time. He goes on to espouse that, like others, wealth builders must renew their energy at all levels, as they proceed in building their wealth.
SHARING HIS PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
“My worst obstacle has been in the quality of Nigeria’s human capital. The human capital of Nigeria is full of people who are out to out-manoeuvre wealth builders and make illicit gains at the expense of wealth builders. The human capital of Nigeria is unfortunately full of people with poor reputations and integrity, who always want to cut corners at the expense of other people. These include government officials, who without any iota of human feelings or empathy whatsoever, always make things difficult for wealth builders. This is the worst obstacle wealth builders face in Nigeria. This is possibly why private investment in Nigeria is fast dying and why factories and manufacturers are fast closing and moving away from Nigeria, to saner countries. This is why our productive ability as a nation is fast declining. This is why our economy as a nation is mostly based on poor quality and poor performing assets”.
MISTAKES ARE PART OF THE PROCESS?
“Human endeavours cannot and should not be expected to be perfect. Only the work of God is perfect. Man can only strive for the unreachable assumptions of God. All man’s endeavours and activities should therefore be factored with the expectation of human mistakes in anticipation of expectations at the building, forecasting and budgeting for wealth, by wealth builders. Wealth building must go through the process of planning, forecasting and taking into consideration contingencies that would/may arise. It is these contingencies that people sometimes call mistakes. They should not be seen as mere mistakes, but as controllable, uncontrollable, poorly prepared and unplanned contingencies which usually occur in wealth building. In basic financial management, experts make plans and provide for such contingencies ahead of their occurrences. This allows wealth builders to apply one of the most important elements of basic accounting, which is the concept of contingency. The contingency concept guides wealth builders to avoid making provisions ahead of expected profits but provides for them to make provisions for future losses”.
“In general, wealth builders who aim to succeed must develop their competency level in the area chosen for building their wealth. They must develop knowledge, financial literacy, positive thinking and a positive attitude for successful wealth building. To do otherwise, such wealth builders are only assured of eventual failures”
Generally, wealth building requires a can-do mindset which must be devoid of casting blame and excuses, as reasons for inabilities, efforts and poor attempts at succeeding. This “can-do mindset” grows from years of building competencies, the continuous acquisition of knowledge, a burning desire for success, commitment and unwavering focus on setting goals.