A Rich Man’s Greatest Secret

He’s rich, powerful, respected and proud of the fact that he has the same best friends since he was an early teenager.

Nothing was handed to him; he earned it all.

If you ask him, as I did in 2011, he’ll tell you his unusual success all comes down to consistent application of his “greatest secret to success”.

Think of it like a formula for gaining power and just about anything else you want in life.  This formula can work for you.  I’m sure of it.  It can turn you into a powerful, wealthy man if that’s what you want.

However, here’s the rub… You’ll probably reject it as too simplistic. Most people do.  You’ll see it as risky.  You’ll have to start giving a lot more of yourself and, odds are, you won’t want to do it.   You’ll think it’s unfair so you won’t really try.

Nevertheless – if you can get over yourself, apply and evolve the formula over time, you can have virtually anything you want.

Early in life, you probably discovered there are two ways to get what you want.   You can try to take what you want or you can find a way for the things you want to be given to you.  Of course, ‘taking’ can often be unethical so that’s not a long-term formula for success, which leaves us with convincing people/world to give us things.

How does one encourage the world to give its fruits?

It sounds a bit harsh when put this way, but it’s true: much of life is transactional.  We give when we get.  If I want something from the world, I know I have to earn it.   Whether it is love or a job or even a pleasant greeting from someone, you can have it all if you’re willing to give in advance.

As my friend put it,

“If you wanted people to do nice things for you and be a part of your life, you had to always keep the “friendship bank” in the black.”

A tactic to get what you want from others

‘Giving to Get’ is the first step in developing a value creation disposition and value creation is the secret to getting everything you ever wanted.  You can make great progress by developing the habit of always asking yourself, “how can I add value to this person/situation?”   It won’t come naturally.  It will require focus and training as you learn to set aside your desires so that you’re more objectively able to help another.

A Giving to Get approach can take you pretty far and most of the successful folks I know have mastered at least this step.  Giving to get is a tactic.  It’s manipulation and political maneuvering.  It is self-serving, first, which isn’t necessarily evil, but certainly can be.

Still, Giving to Get, or giving first and hoping for benefits later is the root of all successful relationships.   Give love if you want to receive love.  Give a kind word first if you’re hoping for one in return.  Give trust if you hope to be trusted.  Give your full faith and effort toward common cause if you want the same.

Giving to Get vs. Going to Bat

Giving works all the time, but most feel it’s risky so they hold back.   That’s precisely why the Give to Get crowd finds such greater success then average.   Being willing to take on the little bit of risk and give in advance moves Give to Getters up the ladder quickly.

Giving to get is effective and is why, unfortunately, most folks stop here, at step one, thinking they’ve reached the top.  Giving to Get produces results, but only in relatively tiny ways and in limited circles.  The truth is, Giving to Get is superficial.  It’s a start, but it’s the two dimensional version of value creation… productive in the short term and simply unwise in the long game.  [The “long game” is a topic for another day, but trust me, this is the game you want to be playing.]

So, what’s better than giving to get?

Try this for a change.   Try going to bat for someone.   Look to a friend or colleague who’s been struggling to beat back some demon or overcome an overwhelming obstacle… steel yourself and say to them, “don’t worry.  I got this one.”

I’m suggesting you do this without regard for any gain on your part.  I’m telling you to throw down for them.   Make their plight your own, not to be swept up in the drama of it, but to sweep it aside as a demonstration of your power and love for that other person.

In his words,

“It is truly amazing how learning to be generous, at all times, can change your life. As you know… it’s not an effort to “buy” people — that doesn’t work. It’s just an effort to let people know that you’re not ever going to “take” from them. And being with you — whether it’s dinner out on the town or working in your company — is always going to be over-the-top.”

Try it and see what happens.

Preparing for dramatic moments…

There’s going to to come a time when you, going about your day in your normal routine, are going to find yourself in the midst of a dramatic and perhaps defining moment.  It’ll come quickly and unexpectedly and how you respond in the crucial seconds depends on how you’ve prepared in advance.

Last night, my wife and I were having dinner in a popular area in Buenos Aires.   There were many people out enjoying the pleasant summer night.  It was nice and perfectly predictable…until it wasn’t….

I heard the sounds of the violence long before I saw what was going on. If you’ve never been part of or witness to a serious throw down fight, let me tell you that the thumping of fists on bodies is a unique sound.   When you hear it, you know what it is right away.

I looked first at my wife, then turned 45 degrees to face the scene.  About 30 feet from us we saw two men beating the living shit out of another man.   The victim had been sitting outside the cafe throughout dinner strumming on his guitar.   It was clear he was homeless and just trying to entertain to generate some money from the passing hordes of tourists.   When I noticed him earlier, I figured the homeless guy was either high on something or just plain crazy.   In any case, the guy certainly wasn’t aggressive or acting like a threat.

Two guys in there 20’s beating the shit out an older, crazy, homeless man.  It was a bad scene.

Within a few seconds I was in the middle of it.

What never ceases to amaze me is that we, as humans, have become watchers of events around us rather than participants.   After a min or two, I’d stopped everything and, frankly it didn’t take much.

When it was done… still on the ready, and fueled with a rush of adrenaline, I took a look at the scene around which the violence occurred.

The homeless man was bleeding from the mouth and nose, but standing (remarkably).  The two attackers were still talking shit, making stabbing motions but now retreating.   And around me stood dozens of watchers.   Dozens of capable men, mouths slightly agape…just watching.

Not one of them, man or women did anything (except my beautiful, ballsy wife who was yelling something in spanish I didn’t understand).   Would they have stood there and watched this homeless guy get beaten into a coma or killed?   Would they have watched if, as I tried to intervene, I was overwhelmed?

I think they would have.  Here’s why…

Our lives are so predictable, so normal and relatively easy that we don’t really worry about these moments even though they happen all the time.

I’m a strong believer that if you want to act a certain way in a particular situation, you need to think about it in advance.  You need to prepare yourself mentally before the moment comes, so when it’s upon you… when you are witness to an accident, or see a man roughing up a woman, or a child in a dangerous situation… you don’t stand around like everyone else.   You don’t just wait for the man with the uniform to show up and take care of it.

Instead, you act.

I decided long ago that I would act each and every time I found myself in these moments.   And I beg you… literally… I beg you too to decide to act when the moments come.

Beg you?  Yes, that’s right.  The world needs leaders like never before.  Real leaders, who in moments of need stand up while everyone else remains seated.

You are what you do when it counts.

As a Misc. item;  Many people have asked me about where I own property in argentina.    I actually own property in Cafayate argentina as well as Buenos Aires.