Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Professor Guerrero's Laws of Wealth and Success

Capitalism - ArtworkImage by Patrick Hoesly via Flickr

If you have a burning desire to accumulate wealth, you will. Tolstoy once said, “If you want to be happy—be!” There’s no difference between wanting to be happy and desiring to accumulate wealth.

If we aren’t our desires, we can become them.

The first step in wealth accumulation is seeing that it is possible, that the evidence is tangible, for we can see it in TV, in books, newspapers, and other media. Wealthy people exist and are visible and we know about them. Knowing that we aren’t in pursuit of abstractions or impossible dreams is the first step in our journey to wealth.

But, are there formulas or hidden secrets to becoming wealthy? Let’s no delude ourselves: there are no miracle formulas for getting rich, nor are there books that can outline a course of action for people to follow, nor mental programming of any kind. The reality is that people become wealthy because they understand three basic facts that account for wealth formation: high skills, selling a product or products, and competition.

Besides having high skills, selling products, and competing there are no other routes. Some may find a fault in my argument and say, “What about inheriting a fortune from a relative, or winning the lottery, or betting on a long shot?” Indeed, they are possibilities, but the odds for those things to happen are so remote that sane people do not waste time thinking about it.

Your wealth you must build yourself, or it won’t be yours.

On your way to develop high skills or select the products to sell, you must be prudent and judicious. While the wrong choices are abundant, the right ones are scarce. So choose with care. Along with your choices you’ll have other things to consider: honest time and effort and risk. If you want to become a surgeon, then choose the right schools, the right courses, and the right internships. Many wanna-be surgeons drop out because they lack the stamina, the resilience, and the will to put in the time and effort. But they took the risk.

There are no guarantees that our decisions will get us closer to our goals, but at least we know that we made decisions, that we tried, and that we competed with others and ourselves. We may not always win the gold medal, but it isn’t that bad to settle for silver and bronze.

If you want to sell a product or products, a very simple rule should guide your actions: “Buy cheap and sell dear.”

A friend of mine makes a good living selling corn on the cob at the street fairs in Manhattan. She buys an ear of corn for $0.25 and sells it for $3.00 each. Humble as the example may be, it is the truth. That is a nifty profit. In a good day she sells about 400 units, which leaves her a gross profit of $1,100. Now, that’s not too shabby for one day’s work. Normally the fairs run Saturday and Sunday--so she earns about $2,200 in two days. If you do the math for the entire season (May-November) you'll see that she has a little goldmine that has empowered her to buy her own home, support her family, and complete a law degree.

Here’s the path to riches: high skills, sell products, and compete. If you don’t compete with others, there is no possible way that you can win. No one --absolutely no one-- can be victorious if there's no conflict, fight, war, or competition. To be a winner you have to match yourself against others. In the classroom you must compete to get that "A." To be called a champion you must leave your opponent in the canvas. Competition --as we see in the Olympic games-- brings out the best in human beings. The human spirit soars to untold heights when challenged.

The truth is that, every day of our lives, we all in one way or another learn something, compete, or sell something. If you are people-oriented then your success is in your hands for sure, for selling your skills or your products is the noble way to riches; and it is much easier for those who like and care for people.

Money making comes easily when you think of others.

The best shoe salesman in town sells an incredible amount of shoes every day. Customers seek him out; they return to him time after time. It is a pleasure to him work. What is his secret? This is an open secret: he cares for people, he never forgets a name, and he talks about his love of family. He thinks of others and in the process his commissions soar!

The wise Elizabethan courtier Lord Bacon said, "Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit."

Friedman: social responsibility of business is...Image by ocean.flynn via Flickr

After a long (40 years), productive, and successful career in business, I now teach college. The articles that follow are all written from personal experience.

If you are interested in seeing how I achieved personal success in the United States, you may find my book of short stories East of Tiffany's interesting. Some of the stories are based on my life as an executive, investment banker, and financial adviser to wealthy investors in the East Side of Manhattan.
Close to half-million people have read East of Tiffany's so far. Order your copy from either or Barnes and Noble.
Since English is my second language, Mary Duffy --a master of the English language-- aided me not only with the editing, but she also contributed her own stories. I love her writing in "When You Wish Upon a Star." This is a story based on a personal friend's life.

Senada Selmani, model

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