Sample Chapter #3

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Who Succeeds?

Money, Money, Money. People are always talking about money! But, is money a good thing, or is money a bad thing?

Most people would probably say that money is a good thing. I do think money can be a good thing, but sometimes money can actually be a bad thing.

I've had a chance to meet so many incredibly successful people during my life - movie stars, professional athletes, presidents, millionaires, and even billionaires. As you can probably imagine, most of these people have a great deal of money. I have learned from these people that money is not always a good thing and, more important, I have learned that money cannot make you happy. Now, don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with money. I happen to like money, but before we get too far into a book about money, it is critical to understand that money cannot and will not make you happy. In fact, I have more miserable rich friends than you can count. This is sad, but true.

When people believe that money will make them happy, money can be a bad thing. Most people who believe this also believe that the more money they have, the happier they will be. This leads to wanting money for the wrong reasons, and when you want money for the wrong reasons, life is miserable.

On the other hand, when you want money for the right reasons, money can be a very good thing. You can do several things with the money you earn, but generally speaking, you have four choices:

1. Spend It
2. Save It
3. Invest It
4. Give It Away

Teens spend more than $175 billion each year.

Habits - Good or Bad?

Spending money is not optional. If you want to live, you're going to have to spend money. That's a guarantee. So the question is not if you're going to spend money, but rather, how much money are you going to spend and on what will you spend your money.

Everybody has to make these decisions. Whether you make $6 per hour working at a fast food restaurant, or you make $100,000 per year working as a computer programmer, you still have to face the same two questions:

1. How much of your money will you spend?
2. On what will you spend your money?

Obviously, the computer programmer and the burger flipper will probably have different answers, but the questions will always be the same.

When I was a teenager, I made lots of stupid decisions - way too many to describe in a short book like this. Every once in a while, though, I made a really good decision. I made one of those rare good decisions when I was about 14 years old. I got a job.

I always worked when I was a kid - part-time after school, sometimes on weekends, and always during the summer. Some of my friends never worked while they were in high school - not even during the summer. I actually liked working. I liked having my own money, and I had a feeling that working as a teenager would pay off later in life. I had no idea why I believed that - I just did.

Well, for me, later in life is now. Over the years I have been blessed with good fortune in several businesses. Through those experiences I've had a chance to meet many successful business people from all over the world.

One day a few years ago, I started thinking about all of those successful people I had met. I was wondering what all the successful people I had met have in common. I was wondering if they all made straight A's in school, or if they all grew up in big cities. I wondered if they all had blue eyes, or if they all had brown hair. I wondered if they all grew up in two-parent families, or if they all had a lot of money when they were kids.

I didn't have to wonder if all the successful people I know are white or if they are all black. They are not all 'anything'. They are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American. They are male and female, old and young. They are from big cities and small towns. Some grew up rich, and some grew up poor.

The answer became very clear as I started to break it down. The successful people I know come from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, and from all cultures. But the common denominator among almost all of these successful people - the one thing that kept popping up every time their stories of success were told - was that almost every one of the successful people I know worked part-time when they were teenagers.

They understood at an early age that some day they would be working full-time, and the best way to prepare for full-time work was part-time work. Why? Because it was through those early work experiences that they learned a lot about earning money and what to do with the money that they earned. They also learned how tough it is to earn each and every dollar, so they were careful about how they spent their money.

Sam Walton worked part-time as a teenager.
He later started a company called Wal-Mart.
Ray Kroc worked part-time as a teenager.
He later started a company called McDonald's.
Most successful people worked part-time as teenagers.

These successful people developed good spending habits when they were young that stayed with them throughout their careers. With spending, as with anything, bad habits are really hard to break.

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