That’s not some philosophical question asked by a professor in some university. It’s a question asked by an entrepreneur, one who decided to dedicate his life for a goal everyone around him said was ‘impossible’, a young businessman who figured out the answer to this question at a very young age and pursued his dreams regardless of his misfortunes.
I know why I am here, on this planet, and that realization helped me through some of the roughest, cruelest times of my life, when it seemed like there was no more hope, in a position that someone else would think there was nothing more to live for-I understood it was all a part of the plan and there is a reason why things happen the way they do. This blind faith is the reason I was able to achieve the ‘impossible’ and regain wealth I spent years building and only four months losing.
My own answer to this question-why are you here-at first was ambiguous: “To become a self-made millionaire.” It wasn’t until years later I understood this was not the reason I was here nor the result I was after; it was only a means to achieve the results I was after. To become a millionaire is a very ambiguous goal; yet when you ask most entrepreneurs, the majority will respond in a similar nature, not understanding that it is ambiguous. You see, to become a millionaire simply means to be worth one million dollars or more. If that’s your life goal, it is a pretty lousy goal, simply because one million dollars in net worth does not guarantee you’ll be rich or wealthy.
Look at Michael Jackson. A brilliant artist and probably one of the most talented pop stars of our time, Michael spent most of his later years broke. Although he owned assets worth around one billion dollars, he did not have any liquid capital and was constantly in debt. Upon his passing, Michael left the world with over 500 million dollars in unpaid debt.
Look at people who win the lottery. Most of them become instant millionaires, only to find themselves broke after three or four years. By reading some of the financial books you probably already read, such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Henson and Robert Allen and many other books on the subject, I quickly understood money does not make you rich, and asking to become a millionaire was not a purpose of living. In fact, it is not even a goal. The reason I say money does not make you rich is because if you make three million dollars (a goal many people aspire to), and out of those three million dollars you spend five million, you are still poor-yes, poor, and extremely ignorant when it comes to money matters. More money will not change it. In fact, it will only make it worse.
The definition of poor, in my point of view, is someone who spends recklessly, who cannot control his finances, who cannot delay gratification, who spends more than he or she makes, and who blames someone else for his or her stupidity. Most importantly, a poor person is someone who makes poor decisions, especially poor financial decisions. These decisions are the result of a lack of financial intelligence, not necessarily the lack of intelligence. You can be a genius and still be a poor money manager.
A rich man, on the other hand, is someone who makes rich financial decisions, someone who spends less than he or she makes and someone who invests the balance instead of spending it on nonessentials. For example, I once asked a friend a simple question: “Say, if you won one million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with it?” My friend responded, “I will buy a sports car, go back to school and graduate from college, then buy a house for my mom, the best gadgets I can afford, the best clothes, and I’ll have every girl I would have my eyes on. I’ll buy a mansion somewhere in California and spend the first two months on the beach, celebrating my new fortune, then I’ll invest or save some of it. Oh-and I’ll definitely quit my job.”
Sounds promising, right? The fact is, most people think in a similar fashion. This is the perfect example of a poor person with one million dollars in his pocket. If you do the math, you will soon realize this guy will spend his million before he graduates from the new college he enrolled in and will end up being in tremendous debt because of a simple lack of financial intelligence.
Ask a ‘temporarily broke’ rich person the same question, and he or she will answer: “I will invest the money in an asset and let that asset pay for a sports car, a vacation on the beach and a house for my mom.” Simple, in this case, is better.
You see, poor people buy ‘stuff’; rich people buy and invest in assets (real estate, businesses, stocks, royalty products, etc.) and these assets buy ‘stuff’ for them. But you can easily find this information out for yourself; there are countless books that explain this concept. Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad is by far the best book on the subject.
So as soon as I understood this concept, I decided to change my answer to, “I want to become rich.” I wanted to make large amounts of money and be able to double and triple these amounts, turn a simple million into five million, ten million into a billion and so forth. And so I lived for a few years with the one purpose in life-to be rich.
When I was 23 years old, I became rich; however, my answer changed again after making and losing money and spending my money and time with people who did not appreciate me, girls who did not care about me and friends who were not really my friends. My eyes were opened to the fact that although being rich is wonderful, being rich and lonely was not fun. Being rich and sick or rich and hated by everyone was also something I did not want. So I had to rethink and reformulate my answer to that question, and two years later, after a total of 24 years of life on planet earth, I finally got it. The one answer I was searching for was not to become a millionaire, not to become rich-but to become wealthy.
What does it mean to become wealthy? Well, wealth is abundance, and abundance is love, abundance is money, abundance is health, abundance is happiness, abundance is everything you need-combined. Abundance is what I was after, and it was the one thing I was dedicated to achieving; it was my dream.
Maybe you already have abundance, but the only thing you lack is money. Maybe your dream is to make a million dollars, to become rich or even a millionaire, for that matter-that’s okay. I didn’t write this book to tell you what you should aim for; that would be a waste of your time and money. I wrote this book to guide you on how to achieve that thing you want most, let it be a million, a billion or any other amount of money you may aspire to.
So, why am I here? I was created for one purpose: to get and give wealth. Wealth of money, education, love, happiness and success; to help myself and others achieve the things we want more than anything else in life, whether it’s making more money, losing weight, being happier or building a business. I am here to make dreams come true, for myself and for those around me. That is my life’s statement; that is why I am; that is the reason God decided to place me on this planet.
So, why are you here? Don’t be discouraged if you cannot find the answer to this question yet. That is why you picked up this book; you are searching, just like I did, and you will find answers only if you keep searching. You may find different answers to that question, and it may take you a while to decide which one is the right one for you, but as long as you keep searching, you will find the answer, the most important answer to the most important question you can ask yourself:
Why Am I Here? ________________________________________________________
I want you to fill in the blank. Answer this question right now and put it in the blank space on the previous page. Don’t worry about details; I will give you the opportunity to answer this same question at the end of the book. The book is about more than just making money; it is about making a decision, taking a risk and finding the answer to that question, and then going after your dream. No second thoughts, no holding back, just going for it. Before this book will end, you will understand that if you don’t follow your dreams, you are fighting your own creation, because you are denying that which God has given to you, something that is more important than anything else in life-your purpose.
Without a sense of purpose in life, why are you getting up in the morning? Why are you going to work? Why did you (or will you) have kids? Why are you reading this? Why do you do anything if you have no strong sense of purpose in life? The only thing that makes us substantially different from animals is the power to be self-aware, to go beyond surviving and achieve something. I’m not talking about just making money or losing weight; I’m talking about a sense of purpose, something greater than yourself. Living just for the sake of being alive is a terrible purpose.
If you love real estate and your dream is to become a real estate tycoon, your purpose can be as great as changing the face of your favorite city, making life more affordable or changing the life of the people who live in it. Donald J. Trump had a similar purpose, to make a statement, to change the face of the New York skyline. If you love computers and your dream is to become a wealthy software programmer, and you dream of building a virtual world in which people from around the planet will be given a second chance of life, build software and turn it into an empire. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, made similar decisions. Bill Gates had a purpose that made him the wealthiest man in world at the time: to be the link between man and the mind of the machine, for every computer sold in the world. Needless to say, it worked out perfectly.
If your dreams are not business related or world changing, that’s okay. Look at Mother Teresa. Her purpose was to serve those who are poor, who had no resources and could not take care of themselves. The Dali Lama has a great life purpose, to raise enough money and influence enough people that the city of Tibet can once again be free. Talk about a powerful statement. The NY1 Channel announces the New Yorker of the week, and every week, we see someone with a purpose. They are not billionaires, millionaires or people who change the face of the universe; they simply changed their own lives and the lives of those around them because they have a strong sense of purpose. You will never find these guys on the ‘suicide’ list.
But you don’t need to be a Bill Gates, Mother Teresa, Robert Kiyosaki, Henry Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Robert De Niro or the president of the United States to change the world, nor do you need to have a billion-dollar dream, a life-transforming goal or a bigger-than-life purpose. Your purpose can simply be: “To be the happiest man or woman I can be”; “To be the first woman executive in my company”; “To create the best environment for my child to grow up in”; “To become one of Hollywood’s best directors,” etc.
You just need a dream, a goal big enough that every time you imagine it, your heart begins to beat rapidly. This is a gift of God; the word desire comes from the word “From The Father.” Ignoring your gift and deciding to live without trying to accomplish your dreams just because you don’t want to take the risk or because you think a family member would not approve will eventually cause you to get into a state of mediocrity, and at the end of your life, it will be your biggest regret.
This book will not magically turn you into a millionaire overnight; no book will. It will not teach you the secret formulas to wealth, simply because there are none. It’s no secret one can become wealthy by building a business, selling a product or investing in income-producing assets or products, whether they are real estate, toys, paper assets, TV repair, deodorants or drinking water. It’s no secret that to lose weight you need to exercise and eat right; it’s no secret that to be happy you need to get rid of negative thoughts; it’s no secret that to be healthy you need to use your body and your mind in a healthy way. There are countless books, seminars, self-help gurus and preachers who teach you how to accomplish these things, but didn’t you already read them? Didn’t you read the “How to Get Rich” book that teaches you how to start a business or invest in real estate? Didn’t you read the “How to Lose Weight” book that teaches you how to take better care of your body? Don’t you know cigarettes will definitely kill you? Yes, you do, but you don’t do anything about it. Maybe you want to, but you just can’t bring yourself to take action. Maybe you are already trying but not getting any results. Maybe you are getting results but want to take it one step further. Regardless of where you are, I believe this book can help you.
This book is all about identifying your wildest dreams and doing whatever it takes to achieve them. Just like building wealth, it sounds simple, but it will be the hardest thing you will ever have to do. If you want to stay where you are, I advise that you do not read this book; it will only confuse you and may cause you to take risks you would otherwise avoid, and then I’ll get an angry email from your lawyer threatening to sue me because I ruined your life. So, if you are happy, if you are satisfied, if you are filled with joy and abundance, I salute you, but I also advise that you give this book to a friend or someone who is unhappy. But I must warn you: if you decide to read this book and act upon the advice I give you, you will become temporarily unhappy. I can pretty much guarantee it.
This is real life. Anything really worth doing will not be as easy as you think it is and will probably cause you a serious deal of stress and pain during the first few months before you can finally reap the rewards.
Starting a business from nothing is easy, making it a success is hard; deciding to be an actor and moving to California is easy, living in the back of your truck with no money to eat without going home to cry to mommy is hard; deciding to overcome people’s judgments of you and climb the corporate ladder to be the first female executive in a billion dollar company is easy, actually doing it is a totally different story; making a sketch of a skyscraper in Manhattan is easy, turning that sketch into reality is not; deciding to run for Congress is easy, making it happen is a different story altogether. So if you want an easy fix, buy a quick magic pill or a “get rich quick” book and see how that works out for you. But if you decide to follow the advice in this book, know that you will become frustrated, you will be unhappy and you will want to quit. You can bet your life on it. However, when you do achieve it, when you reach the peak, when you master the process, you will not only be happy, you’ll be satisfied. You will not believe you failed to act upon your dreams sooner, you will discover a new world and a new you in the process.
This is not the advice you were hoping for from a book about how to build wealth and achieve your dreams, but do you want some author who will sell you pink stories about how beautiful and simple the process is? Or do you want to hear the truth? This is real life, and it is real-life advice; when you are happy and satisfied with your life, finances or weight, you would not take any action to make any changes in your life. But comfort is the worst place you can be in. The one human emotion that can help create more millionaires, help people lose weight and help more people achieve their most desirable dreams is frustration. Yes-frustration is the best motivator; if you know how to use it, if you can hone it and turn it into motivation, it will serve as the much-needed fuel which will drive you towards your goal. If you fail to understand it, it will only give you a heart attack and will lead to more frustration. In this book you will also learn how frustration can be used to create the ‘you’ that you want to create and how to use it as fuel to push yourself towards achieving your dreams, whatever they may be.
However, as I said before, frustration is only the beginning; you will need to start the business, write the plan, invest the time in making it real and then you’ll need to manage it and close your first deal-and it will not be easy. To sign your tenth client, while at the same time feeling frustrated, will not be easy. To jump from making $400 a month to making $4,000 a month will not be easy; to manage the money will not be easy; to deal with angry clients will not be easy; to handle a lawsuit will not be easy; to reach deadlines and battle stress will not be easy; convincing banks and raising money from investors will not be easy-but you can enjoy the process if you only understand your purpose. If you can really answer the question above, it will not be as bad; even if you lose the business, gain the pounds back, lose the big client, get rejected by agents and get the door slammed in your face, even if you turn homeless in the process, if you are forced to sleep in the back of your car, or suffer a defeat, it will not be the end of the world. As long as you get up the next morning and try again, as long as you don’t quit, as long as you stay focused, as long as you learn to use frustration to push yourself forward, if you let it fuel you and drive you forward-you will succeed. After all-you can’t fail if you never quit.
A good example is one of my personal heroes, Mr. Donald Trump. Back in the early 1990s he was very close to bankruptcy, with nine-hundred million dollars in personal guarantees and over eight billion dollars in business debt. It seemed like it was all over for Trump; newspapers were writing nasty articles about him, and the media presented the ‘fact’ that Trump will never rise again. In a situation where most human beings would quit or run away, and some people would actually commit suicide, Trump stood in the line of fire and negotiated with the banks, slept for three hours a night, fought, stayed optimistic and did what no one else in the world would do. He even managed to convince the banks he was too big to fail, and in the midst of all the debt and the problems, he managed to raise an additional sixty million dollars to save his empire. Today, he is still amongst the richest men on the planet, and that’s just one example.
You may not like or adore Trump as I do, and if that’s the case, look at Tim Blixseth, who refused to quit after going bankrupt. Today he is worth over a billion dollars in net worth. Look at Steve Jobs, who suffered through a severe case of depression after losing his job at Apple in 1985, or David Murdock, who almost lost everything he had when the real estate market crashed. T. Boone Pickens is a genius billionaire who had to ‘start over’ after losing everything when oil and gas prices tanked; Stephen Ross is a brilliant real estate developer who was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 90s and went on to build a sixteen-billion-dollar empire in less than four years.
Be honest with yourself: if you wake up tomorrow and get a call from the bank telling you that you owe nine hundred million dollars, what would you do? Seriously, would you run away? Would you commit suicide? Would you get a job and try to repay it? What if you had a family? Three young kids? And what if, in the midst of the mess, your wife files for divorce and decides to sue you for everything you have? Can you handle that amount of pressure? Can you handle such stress?
As mentioned before, I do not make any promises of changing your life in this book, nor can I promise you that your life will change instantly. I can only hope to educate you and help you better understand the process of going against the odds to achieve what you really want; how not to quit and hold on while everything around you seems to be collapsing; how to identify what you want and how to get it; how to handle enormous amounts of pressure and stress; how to go against the tide when everyone around you is saying ‘no!’; how to ignore the remarks of sarcastic friends, unsupportive spouses and disappointed fathers; how to go beyond defeat and be determined to achieve your dreams.
Yes, I achieved my dream of becoming wealthy. I am abundant in money, health, happiness and success, and I even lost a few pounds. And yes, I still have a long way to go to get to where I want. But I really hope you follow some of my advice and join me in this journey towards making a dream come true, whatever that dream may be.
If you decide to take my advice and chase your dreams, you need to understand you will no longer be in the “Safe Zone.” When you make that decision, you will enter the jungle of life, and for a lion cub who lived in the safety of his zoo cage to move into the jungle is a frightening experience; the chances of failure are great, and you can lose everything. But if you are determined enough, if you work hard and refuse to let your fear of failure dictate your life, and most importantly, if you love what you do-you will succeed! The ability to take action is what separates the winners from the losers. So before you begin reading, understand you will soon be in a position in which you will be forced to act or waste the money you spent on this book and let it sit on the shelf and collect dust.