7 myths about the way to wealth

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Myth no. 1:

“You have to be born with con­nec­tions or with spe­cial tal­ent to be rich.” To re­fute the “Born Lucky Lie,” Gray ar­gues that it is all about the law of prob­a­bil­ity. What he means is that you need to in­crease the num­ber of oc­ca­sions for meet­ing peo­ple, you need to build up a net­work and to open doors. No mat­ter whether you are look­ing for a part­ner or wish to set up a busi­ness – no one will come and knock on your door. The key to suc­cess, he ar­gues, lies in vol­ume: How many times did you try? How many re­jec­tions did you get be­fore you were ac­cepted? How many times did you start all over again, and took an en­tirely new ap­proach? Gray be­lieves that “the con­cept of be­ing ‘at the right place at the right time’ is a com­plete and ut­ter false­hood.” Rather: “You need to be ev­ery­where at once.” He adds that you should al­ways look at your life from the an­gle of the law of prob­a­bil­ity. The more you are will­ing to meet peo­ple half way, the higher the chance that you will get what you want. To back this the­ory, Gray cites many ex­am­ples from his own life and the lives of oth­ers. I would call it “the law of large num­bers.”

Myth no. 2:

“I have to work hard and make sac­ri­fices to be rich.” The way Gray sees it, hard work is a name for the kind of work you hate do­ing – and this is no way to get rich at all. As he ex­plains, the point is not to sim­ply labour more, but to do that which most matches your skill set, and where your chances of ex­celling are high­est. To find out what th­ese are, you should try to an­swer three ques­tions: What is eas­ier for you to do than for oth­ers? What would you do any time and in any case, even if you did not get paid for it? In what ways could you make your­self use­ful and do some­thing for oth­ers?

Myth no. 3:

“I have to hit it big in en­ter­tain­ment or sports to be rich.” Many peo­ple are blinded by a hand­ful of celebri­ties that are fêted by the me­dia. In truth, Gray ob­serves, there are count­less peo­ple who are com­pletely un­known out­side their field but who make much more money and who have amassed much big­ger for­tunes than the few stars every­body knows.

Myth no. 4:

“You must first have money to make money and get rich.” This so-called “Money Lie” is par­tic­u­larly popular among those whom fi­nan­cial suc­cess keeps elud­ing. Peo­ple who un­ex­pect­edly come by large amounts of money tend to lose it just as quickly, and Gray il­lus­trates the point by cit­ing two ex­am­ples: One is the case of Eve­lyn Adams who won the lot­tery jack­pot in New Jer­sey not just once but twice (1985, 1986), col­lect­ing a to­tal of $5.4 mln. To­day, the money is gone, and she lives in a trailer. The other case is Wil­liam “Bud” Post who won $16.2 mln in Penn­syl­va­nia and who is on wel­fare to­day. Con­versely, there are a much larger num­ber of peo­ple who started out with just a few dol­lars, or ac­tu­ally used their credit cards to fi­nance their first steps as en­trepreneurs, and got rich any­way.

Myth no. 5:

“I have to have zero debt to be rich.” Rather, Gray ar­gues, the op­po­site is true: you need to bor­row to get rich. You should em­ploy bor­rowed cap­i­tal to build a for­tune. The one thing you need to re­mem­ber is to dis­tin­guish be­tween bad debt (con­sumer debt) and good debt (debt used to fi­nance a let prop­erty or a busi­ness).



Myth no. 7:


“I have to be su­per smart or in­vent some­thing the world re­lies on to be rich.” While the sto­ries of Bill Gates, Steve Job, Sergej Brin and Larry Page are ex­cit­ing, as he ad­mits, they can also lead you down the wrong path. No one needs to aim as high as Mi­crosoft or Google. Rather, there are any num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties to build a for­tune in cer­tain niche sec­tors. Gray il­lus­trates his points with sev­eral spell­bind­ing ac­counts, one be­ing the story of Tina Wells. Aged 26 at the time the book was writ­ten, she is the head of Buzz Mar­ket­ing Group in New York, a com­pany that has con­ducted mar­ket re­search among the younger gen­er­a­tion on be­half of other com­pa­nies for the past eleven years. She started out at 16 when work­ing for the teenage mag­a­zine and writ­ing her first re­ports about prod­ucts aimed at young con­sumers. Tina ex­ploited her own fas­ci­na­tion with fash­ion and pop cul­ture to iden­tify a gap be­tween the de­sires of the teenagers and the mis­guided prod­ucts and ser­vices de­vel­oped for them by many com­pa­nies. When she started to sub­mit her re­ports and pro­pos­als di­rectly to the re­spec­tive com­pa­nies, she got an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­sponse. To­day, her com­pany makes $3.3 mln in rev­enue, and counts renowned com­pa­nies like Nike or Sony among her clients.

“I have to know a lot about the stock mar­ket or work on the Street to be rich.” Gray coun­ters that in­vest­ment re­turns are pre­cisely not com­ing di­rectly from Wall Street but are based “on your knowl­edge and your pref­er­ences.”

He ar­gues that self-es­teem and cop­ing skills are what re­ally counts. Gray cites an in­ter­est­ing sur­vey among 500 lead­ing CEOs in the US. Th­ese, as it turns out, have more self-es­teem than 90% of the gen­eral public. They also turned out to be bet­ter at solv­ing prob­lems and gen­er­at­ing ideas than 92% of the US pop­u­la­tion.

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