Why Some Get Rich, But Most Do Not

11/07/2017 07:06 pm ET

One of the greatest benefits of being a radio talk show host is the people I get to meet in the business. In my life, I have had the privilege of meeting multi-millionaires (and the occasional billionaire) who overcame challenging circumstances to become successful.

  • I have a personal friend with a ninth grade education, whose mother passed away when he was very young. He successfully overcame those challenges to become a multi-millionaire. He had to stop his education early in high school in order to help his father take care of a large family. They had nothing, but he made something happen. He’ll be the first to tell you that the single most important element to success is persistence. He certainly proved that in his impressive career.
  • I know a gentleman who could not read but somehow figured out how to create a massive painting business that was involved in the creation of some of the most important professional sports venues in the country. He asked that I maintain his anonymity. He received virtually nothing from his parents because they had nothing to give, but he turned that around to create an incredibly successful business.
  • I interviewed Shelly Brady on my show, author of the best-selling book, Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter: The Inspiring True Story of the Door to Door Salesman Who Changed Lives. Bill Porter was a particularly fascinating story. Shelly Brady was Porter’s friend and, eventually, his personal assistant. Porter was a fishnet at generating business, constantly bringing in new clients with his amazing persistence and empathy for others. He became more than a vendor to the many people who bought his home products. He became their friend and confidant. Bill Porter was born with cerebral palsy, which affected the way he walked and talked, as well as many other aspects of his life. Dressing properly was important to him, and his mother helped him do so everyday until she was no longer able to. He was never able to complete the finishing touches because of his condition, so he cleverly worked out a plan to daily take the bus (he could not drive) and have the people at a local hotel help him out, and he would tip them. Bill went on to become one of the greatest salespeople in the history of Watkins Corporation. How did this happen? I asked Shelly Brady and she said it had a great deal to do with Porter’s family of origin. When growing up, his mother affectionately and frequently told him, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” Meanwhile, his father steadfastly informed him, “You are going to have to take care of yourself.” This one-two punch of constant reminders of inevitable success and required responsibility made great achievement possible for this salesman. Children who are exposed to this type of parenting have a tendency of reaching great success, regardless of other challenges in their lives.

People who fail to succeed in business or financially do so because of what goes on emotionally, spiritually, etc.. Failure is not the result of the excuses people come up with in their minds. It is not going to the wrong school, because many succeed with virtually no formal education. It is not from failing to have the “right clothes,” because some barely afford the most basic of styles, but still achieve greatness. It is not even from more plausible reasons, like physical limitations. In spite of those, we all know handicapped and other physically-challenged individuals who have achieved business and financial greatness.

In most cases, the reasons people do not succeed are in their head. It is the deep seated belief that they cannot succeed because of circumstances that can typically be overcome, if they approach them with an attitude of opportunity rather than one of impossibility.

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