I just finished re-reading the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and more than anything, I am inspired by these large business kings and queens that came from nothing and then dominated the economy.
Andrew Carnegie, Mark Cuban, JK Rowling, Oprah, and so on are all business entrepreneurs who came from absolutely nothing but worked hard to change the world and was rewarded with billions. Seriously these men and women created the America we know today.
Isn’t it incredible that in a time of no technology, depression, lack of resources, rejection, etc that they were able to become such prominent businessmen and women?
Think of what we are capable of creating today with the millions of resources we have. I am honestly just so inspired.
Our education, bank account, and experience does not determine who we will become.
I watch shows like Shark Tank where the billion-dollar investors all came from literally NOTHING. NADA. ZIP. They are not trust fund babies or born into wealthy families. No, they all came from difficult backgrounds and all wondered at a time in their life how they would even pay for their next meal.
From hard work and dedication, they became billionaires who fiercely support the American dream. You may think they’re harsh but I think they’re brilliant. There is so much inspiration and knowledge to gain from each and every episode.
I look at these ‘Sharks’ and entrepreneurs and think, “What’s so different about them from me?”. Most don’t have a college education, parents to give them unlimited money, or their own contacts. Yet they were able to rise above all of that and create the life of their dreams.
We all have the same 24 hours in the day, the only difference is how we decide to use it.
Today I wanted to share with you some inspiration to follow your dreams. I am highlighting some of my favorite, most inspiring billionaires of all time. How they came from nothing and built an empire. People who were told “no”, that they weren’t good enough, smart enough, or that their dreams were too big. People who went against all odds and decided their fate rested in their own hands- not the hands of others. People who didn’t let their past define them but motivate them.
“I love entrepreneurship because that’s what makes this country grow. And if I can help companies grow, I’m setting the foundation for future generations. It sends the message that the American dream is alive and well.”
Mark Cuban is one of my favorite, modern-day billionaires. I don’t agree with his arrogant attitude but I do think he is an incredibly smart businessman and I have learned a lot from him.
From a young age, Cuban was encouraged by his family to learn how to lay carpet. He came from a poor family and they wanted him to learn a trade to ensure his future. Could you imagine Mark Cuban coming into your home to lay carpet and then call it a day?
Lucky for the business world (and himself), he refused to live that life. He was born a hustler and he was going to do whatever he possibly could to earn millions.
From selling sports cards to coins, Mark was always finding a way to make a dollar. But how did this poor boy become the billionaire he is today?
Curiosity and determination.
In the 1980s Cuban took a job with Mellon Bank. At the time they were switching over to computers and Mark took it upon himself to read anything and everything he could about computers.
I think that right there is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. He didn’t wait for someone to teach him the basics or be told what to do. Instead, he took the liberty to go out and become a self-taught computer expert. This was his first job after college and he wanted to be good at it. This was a pivotal moment that changed his life forever.
After absorbing all the knowledge he could about computers, he started his own company: MicroSolutions.
“I read every book and magazine I could … Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn’t want it.”-Mark Cuban
Reading — often as much as three hours a day — was a habit he’s stuck with for life. “To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the net making it so readily available, I can get an advantage in any technology business,” he writes. “Of course my wife hates that I read more than three hours almost every day, but it gives me a level of comfort and confidence in my businesses. At MicroSolutions it gave me a huge advantage. A guy with little computer background could compete with far more experienced guys just because I put in the time to learn all I could.” (Source: Curiosity.com)
He later sold MicroSolutions in the 90’s for 6 million dollars. In less than 10 years he went from having only $60 in his pocket- to creating and selling a 6 million dollar company.
That’s where I come back to the saying: “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. The only difference is what we decide to do with it.”
Mark had no computer background, no family trust fund, and not even a strong business background. But he had curiosity, dedication, and a strong work ethic. He took public knowledge and used it to his advantage.
What if we did the same? What if we even dedicated HALF the time Mark did to our goals. Could you imagine where we would be?
But we come up with excuses, self-created time restraints, and create mental roadblocks. It’s sad that the reason we are not successful is because of ourselves.
Oprah is the queen of the world for a reason. She is the true American Dream. A black woman that came from poverty and abuse who then became a multi-billionaire, changing the lives of those around her.
Oprah was sexually abused until the age of 14 when she then moved in with her dad in Tennessee. This move changed her life. She started thriving in school and made it all the way to college.
But Oprah knew college wasn’t for her and dropped out to pursue a career in media.
At the age of 20, she became the first black news anchor. However, her history started to repeat, and she was sexually harassed and humiliated.
Instead of letting that destroy her, determine her self worth, or take any fight she had left- she instead let it fuel her fire.
Oprah knew she was talented and kept applying for News Shows and TV Talk Shows. A few months later Oprah landed a gig hosting the morning talk show, “AM Chicago” and turned it into the number one local talk show within months.
A year later, in 1986, the program was renamed, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” It went on to become the highest-rated talk show in television history. It put her on the map and earned Winfrey her first million. (Source: CNBC.com)
That was just the beginning. Oprah then created her own magazine, radio shows, talk shows, etc. Oprah turned herself into a brand.
So how did Oprah become one of the wealthiest, life-changing woman in the world?
She let adversity fuel her instead of destroying her.
With all odds against her and enduring events that have DESTROYED the lives of others, Oprah knew she wanted more from life and wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
What if we did that? What if we let our demons fuel us instead of dwelling on them and letting them destroy us?
Life isn’t fair. But that was never Oprah’s mantra. Instead, she knew her worth and powered through troubling times.
Carnegie’s family became so poor they’d go to sleep early to “forget the misery of hunger.” He later wrote “It was burnt into my heart then that my father had to beg (for work). And then and there came the resolve that I would cure that when I got to be a man.” (Source: Business Insider)
Andrew Carnegie changed the business world and helped create the economy we see today. Although he is before our time, it is extremely important to have him on this list. If Carnegie was able to create the empire he did in the early 1900’s with NO technology, limited knowledge, and coming from absolutely NOTHING. Then what is stopping us today when we have the world at our fingertips?
At the age of 13, Andrew Carnegie was a factory worker living in a two bedroom apartment with his family and aunts. They all slept on the floor and had no money to fill their empty bellies. But Andrew knew this wasn’t going to be his forever life. He wasn’t going to follow in the footsteps of his father. He knew he controlled his own destiny and took it upon himself to change the cards he was dealt.
At the age of 17, he took a job as a telegrapher. Andrew used this job as an opportunity to make connections and meet important people around town. He learned from these connections to take the little money he was making (a salary of $35 a month) and start investing. This advice changed his life.
In 1865 he and his mom moved to New York and rented a suite at the luxury St. Nicholas Hotel. This was a huge accomplishment for this once poor factory worker. The St. Nicholas hotel was the first hotel to cost $1 Million Dollars (about $29 million dollars today). The St. Nicholas set a new standard for luxury, expense and lavish appointments. The New York Times reported on the “pure white marble” structure, “in the Italian style of architecture.” The newspaper said “This magnificent establishment, which in an extent of accommodation, completeness of arrangement, costliness and chaste elegance of decoration, and a combination of all modern improvements, takes place as the Hotel par excellence of our day.” (Source: http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com)
But this was just the beginning. In 1873 Carnegie started his steel company that would quickly turn into an empire. Changing not only his life but America too.
So how did he do it? Like Mark Cuban, he didn’t come from a family trust fund. He didn’t have ANY business education and nothing was handed to him.
How is any of this possible you ask? Dedication and self-education. Andrew Carnegie was not afraid to learn from others and take advice. If he didn’t invest his money like so many encouraged him to do, he would still be dirt poor- literally.
Instead, he dedicated himself to learn about the industry and growing economic times he was in.
Historian John Inghan said, “I think Carnegie’s genius was, first of all, an ability to foresee how things were going to change.”
Carnegie paid attention to what was constantly happening around him and constantly adapting to the changing times. He wasn’t afraid of change and didn’t think he had all the answers. He was always learning. Learning from other businessmen as well as from his own mistakes.
In the start of the 1900’s Carnegie sold his steel company to JP Morgan for $480 Million Dollars.
“Congratulations, Mr. Carnegie, you are now the richest man in the world,” Morgan told him. And Carnegie said, “I wonder if I could have gotten $100 million more. I probably should have asked for that.” And Morgan said, “If you had, you would have gotten it.”
Andrew took this advice and decided from here on out he was going to ask for what he wanted.
I think that is one of the most important pieces of advice to take from him. Ask for what you want, for what you deserve. What is the worst that can happen? They can say no and you will be exactly where you are right now.
Or they can say yes, and you could be $100 million dollars richer.
This is also something my father-in-law taught me. You don’t get if you don’t ask. This advice has changed my life and I wasn’t too surprised it was something Andrew Carnegie lived his life by.
If we take the time to learn from others, take constructive advice, and ask for what we want- we too can become the billionaires of our lifetime.
I dare you to try.
“I had to fight my realistic side. I was a first-time author, so of course, I was going to struggle to get published. And just because I thought the story was great, didn’t mean anyone else would. To muster the willpower to keep writing, I had to truly believe in Harry. I knew he was bigger than me. I knew I had to do right by this book.”- JK Rowling
JK Rowling changed the world as we know it all with one book. She went from a depressed, on welfare mom to the RICHEST woman in the world.
Living in a cramped apartment with her daughter, jobless and penniless, Rowling fell into a deep depression and admits she even considered suicide. She was forced to rely on state benefits and spent much of her time writing “Harry Potter” in cafés with Jessica sleeping in the pram next to her. (SOURCE: Business Insider)
So how did JK Rowling make such a dramatic turn around in her life?
She didn’t take no for an answer.
Rejection after rejection, Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London, gave “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” the green light in 1997. Then just three short days after Harry Potter was published in the UK, Scholastic bid $100,000 for the American publishing rights, an unprecedented amount for a children’s book at the time.
Could you imagine if JK Rowling stopped after the first or 15th rejection letter?! We wouldn’t have the boy with the scar that changed the world.
“I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you’ll have enough money to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that anymore is the biggest luxury in the world.”- JK Rowling
Rowling believed in herself as a writer and knew the book she worked on for 6 long years was good enough to be published. She didn’t allow her lack of education, experience, or own depression to allow her to stop chasing her dreams. She took the little ambition she had left and refused to take no for an answer.
She was hungry. Literally. Barely able to put food in her and her baby’s belly she knew this isn’t the life her or her daughter deserved. She was hungry to change their lives. In return, she ended changing the lives of BILLIONS around the world.
It all started with a vision, a dream, and determination.
Every single person above all came from difficult backgrounds. They didn’t have free handouts, weren’t born into riches, and most had no formal education. Yet every single one of them became the billionaires of their time from self-education, dedication, and hard work.
And never taking NO for an answer.
I now challenge you to do the same. How do you spend the 24 hours in a day you are given? What did you do today to work towards your dream life?
Honestly, what’s stopping you? If they can do it- you can do it.
I believe in you and can’t wait to see all you become.
You were born for greatness.