I live in one of the richest counties in the U.S. surrounded by other rich counties, median household income is on average around $125K a year. I live where numerous fortune 500 companies are headquartered, I'm talking about Capital One finance, Mars inc., Freddie Mac, Northrop Gruman, MicroStrategy, Rosetta Stone, Hilton, Long and foster.
Home to Jacqueline Mars, an American heiress and investor worth about ~$28bn, granddaughter of Frank C. Mars who founded Mars inc. Needless to say, there is some ridiculous cash flowing around this area and some folks around here are creative enough to cash in on such cash flow. In my journey towards financial independence, I sought these individuals who can retire today and never worry about money for the decades that follow, the folks who invested their cash wisely at an early age, the ones that own small establishments that they have worked on for many years, some moving on to their next big project. I've had the blessing and opportunity to come in contact with these great minds, either in person to grab a quick coffee, through email, through a phone call, or sometimes by a mere coincidence. Nonetheless, the time spent with them, be it a few minutes to a few hours, were all a great learning experience, dare I say, better than going to school? Anywho, here is what I learned:
1. Follow your passion and the money will follow
As corny or as cliché as it may sound, they pretty much beat this concept into my head. Figure out a way you can profit from your hobby, skill, or talent. Find people that are in need of your knowledge or skill set that could use your help, entertain people with your certain talent. Maybe there's a cause or problem that no one is talking about, be the pioneer that brings attention to the problem and solve the issue, potentially making the lives around you safer or life overall easier. Life is way too short for you to not do what you love day in and day out. And it's too long for you to feel miserable everyday doing something you hate.
2. Continue learning
It's foolish to believe that you stop learning as soon as high school or college is over. Big mistake there, this sort of mindset is certainly dangerous as we currently live in a fast paced and ever changing era. Going back to my previous point discussing about skill sets, obtain one. Then learn how you can improve on a daily basis. Figure out ways to approach and solve problems differently, in a more innovative and faster manner, while, you guessed it, learning. Remain at the top of the food chain. It doesn't even have to be about your industry or job, it can be whatever the hell you want, it can be cooking, a new language, playing an instrument, your relationships, make your curiosity hungry and feed it. Every time I write another word or upload anything on this blog, I learn more about my audience, about myself, and the type of content I should produce.
3. Learn to Adapt
A few months ago, I bumped into a real estate investor/agent who mentioned he has been in the market since 1997. I was surprised to hear that he's been going at it for 2 whole decades, pondering how he survived the brief recession in 2001 followed by the United States housing bubble in 2008. I asked how he maneuvered through 2008, he shuddered the moment I asked as if I had brought back flashbacks that haunt him. (Felt a bit bad to bring back some awful memories.) Finally, he composed himself and said: Adapt. Adapt to the trends, adapt to the markets, adapt to new ways to solve problems, adapt. If a certain plan you had in mind goes south, quickly go back to the drawing board, and maneuver around the situation. If by tomorrow morning, tax rates were to be cut and suddenly programs that relied on tax payer dollars panic, the only thing they could do is adapt. If by tomorrow morning, tax rates suddenly went up, and business owners start to panic, the only thing they could do is adapt. Standing still and in shock, like a deer in the headlights, will get you trampled. You have no control over outcomes or the overall macroeconomics, the only control you have over is how you react to it.
4. Just Start
The problem with the "great" ideas you might have today, sometimes don't become a reality, and remain just that, an idea, a week later, a month later, a year later. Just execute. Even if you're lacking resources, money, talent, knowledge, etc. just start. That's the same excuse you tell yourself to avoid starting. The hardships and failures you will inevitably run into will be the fundamentals and building blocks to your idea. The point is for you to just start, persevere, adjust accordingly, continue persevering, improve, persevere, and adjust some more. All you must do is just start. When I started this blog, I had no clue what the hell I was doing (I sure do know what I'm talking about, I'll say that much) but that initial step forward to start this project was just the fundamental of this dream I want to turn into a reality one day.