I've just sent an email to my mailing list based on Stuart Goldsmith's 'Seven Secrets of The Millionaires.' I don't know how they felt after reading the message it contained but it impressed me so much that I felt I must immediately write an article about it.
Stuart Goldsmith is a British multi-millionaire who moved from being in debt to becoming one of the rich people through his direct mail business. He also wrote a brilliant news letter. Some of his ideas may not be new but they are expressed in a powerful way and deserve to be read again and again. The key idea in this article is one of them
In Chapter One of his classic book, Stuart demolishes the idea that millionaires are lucky; instead they have become rich by making thousands of small decisions in which they chose to get the job done rather than not to get it done. They chose action rather than inaction:
"Most people believe that wealth is a lottery, that cards were shuffled and then randomly dealt and some received an Ace, whilst others received a Two or a Three and some get the Joker. They further believe that this is just luck - like the lottery, and so those lucky people with Aces should be willing to hand over a portion of their wealth to those unlucky people with lower cards.
Closer examination reveals a different truth, and one which is unpalatable to the general public. It is not a truth they wish to hear. The truth is that with a few exceptions, the wealth creators were not dealt Aces randomly by fate. They worked at their success by making correct choices on a minute by minute, day by day basis. Let me explain.
Everything you are and have today is the exact summation of countless thousands of little choices and decisions you made from the day you were first consciously able to make such choices. And stating it simply, those choices were mainly between action and inaction. Or putting it another way, between action and laziness. I'm not talking big, life-changing decisions here. I'm talking about tens of thousands of day by day, minute by minute choices like "shall I get up or lie in bed for another half hour?" "Should I read another chapter of that textbook or go for a beer instead?" "Should I try a little harder to get this job right, or just turn it out in a sloppy fashion?"
Thousands upon thousands of little things going right back to school days when you decided between completing a homework assignment or watching TV instead.
As Jim Rohn says, "Everything matters." It is the small choices which matter. The little day by day disciplines which build into an inexorable force propelling you towards success and wealth. After a lifetime of always choosing the easy option, the lazy way out, the least amount of work, the mediocre will have the temerity to call you 'lucky.' They will then demand 'their' share of your wealth - the wealth you built by numerous small daily disciplines, each one requiring you to forgo immediate gratification of your desires.
If anyone ever accuses you of being 'lucky' just reply: "You're right. And you know what? The harder I worked, the luckier I got." Whilst your friends are watching soap operas or down the pub, you will be working late nights, forgoing instant pleasure, striving to create new values, new products, new ideas which will move mankind forward."
I was going to add several comments to Stuart's words but I think he has said it so well that I will only add one or two comments. Nor am I infringing his copyright since I was an attendee in 2002 at one of his 'retirement' seminars when he generously handed over licences to his info products to the attendees.
In the passage above, he has provided a very effective guide or measuring tool to help us choose the best decisions minute by minute. Choosing action over inaction may seem stunningly obvious but the results of not choosing action only show up gradually and so it helps to have some one like Stuart point out the power of the thousands of chances we get to choose to get the job done rather than not get it done. We all need to do our 'homework' on a regular basis.
Not getting it done may seem to have no effect on our lives at the time but later on we'll suffer the consequences. I have chosen to read emails rather than mow the lawn for weeks. The back garden has suffered and will take a long time to mow.
This is no big deal but other choices could mean the difference between riches and poverty. A choice to take action and check out your investments more carefully could save you losing thousands if you have invested in another Enron. On the other hand daily choices to save money could keep you out of debt.
On reflection, we can be grateful that we are able to make these daily, minute by minute choices. Our lives, in all their glorious or inglorious details, are in our own hands. We can act or not act. Luck has nothing to do with it! The next time you are hesitating about making that phone call or leaving it till tomorrow, just pick up the phone and make the call. Choose action over inaction. Choose action over laziness.