“I always look forward to my lunches with Ray Bard because he teaches me valuable things. He doesn’t intend to teach me things; it just happens.”

Our short lunches last 3 hours. Our record is 6 ½.

Ray is my publisher.

During our most recent lunch, Ray said – and I’m inclined to agree with him – there are only three sources of wealth: Luck, Accident, and Desire.If you inherited the money, married the money, won the lottery, bought the right stock at the right time, or went to work for the right company and were given a pile of stock options, you were lucky. I don’t say that to make you feel small, but we shouldn’t pretend you can teach someone else how to do what you did. Picking the right stock or going to work for the right start-up seems like an easy thing to do in hindsight, but I’ve never seen it happen using foresight.

If you’re an artist, a writer, or an inventor who got rich, you were probably never really in it for the money. You got rich by accident. You always knew money was a possibility, but you chose to do what you did because you love it. It scratches your itch. It makes you happy. It makes you feel alive. So again, if we’re being honest, your advice about how to get rich would probably sound like this, “Be good at what you do. Study, experiment, refine your craft. Follow your instincts. Trust your gut. Be true to yourself. Break the rules. Blah, blah, blah.” I can say this because what little I’ve acquired has come to me in exactly this way. And that advice you just read – including the blah, blah, blah – is exactly what I tell people when they ask me how to “get to the next level, financially.” I tell them this because they would be disappointed if I told them the truth, that I am a writer because I am embarrassingly self-indulgent and I love to write. It is something I let myself do.

But nearly all my wealthy friends got rich intentionally. It was their lifelong desire. They could teach you how to get rich, too, but only if you have sufficient patience, discipline, and desire.

Getting rich is like losing weight; rarely does it happen by accident.

How to lose weight isn’t a secret; you’ve got to consume less calories than you burn. Millions of Americans want to lose weight and they’re convinced they have the patience and discipline to lose weight. But the only ones who lose it and keep it off are the ones for whom the desire to lose weight is so strong that the pain of staying as they are is greater than the pain of doing what they need to do.

Likewise, how to get rich isn’t a secret; you’ve got to do things other people aren’t willing to do. You’ve got to swallow your pride, restrain your spending, make hard choices, say no to yourself, get back up when you’re knocked down, and learn from your mistakes rather than defend them. But most important of all, you’ve got to patiently, relentlessly, obsessively keep your eye on the prize.

Are you beginning to understand what I said about patience, discipline and desire?

I met a successful man who spent three hours telling me about the biggest failures of his career. At the end of those 3 hours, I knew his blind spot. His failures had a common root: this otherwise brilliant man believed that any intelligent person who has been taught the right thing to do, and who truly believes it’s the right thing to do, can be counted upon to do the thing they’ve been taught.

His successes, on the other hand, did not count on people doing anything other than what they preferred to do.

Knowing why to do it – and how, is not the same as doing it.

To be unable is to lack the skill.
To be unwilling is to lack the desire.

Don’t they lead to the same place?

Intelligent people like you can easily be taught. But let me see the depth of your desire – your willingness to do what you don’t want to do – and I’ll know the likelihood of your success.

From the archives of the…

Monday Morning Memo

July 31, 2017

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