The secret to success

It is perfectly normal to look at successful people to try and learn how they do it and get tips that you can follow yourself. When doing this, you will likely begin to see that the habits of some of the most successful business people are based on philosophic beliefs that proclaim the benefits of living within one’s means. This belief that stoicism and staying humble are important aspects of success can be witnessed in the words and actions of some of the world’s most successful business people, such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

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Do as others do

When it comes to living stoically, it may seem strange to look for tips from some of the world’s richest individuals. However, as you will see, many of these people do not measure their wealth in terms of expensive cars and clothes. Warren Buffett, the famous and much lauded American CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is well known for his frugal lifestyle, apparently never paying more than a few dollars for breakfast and remaining in the same home he purchased for less than $40,000 in 1958.

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, is one of the world’s richest individuals with a personal worth of approximately $60 billion. Whilst such riches would enable him to buy any vehicle in the world – regardless of cost – according to Bloomberg News, Kamprad drove an old Volvo for more than 20-years; only giving up the vehicle after being persuaded by his daughter that driving such an old car could be dangerous.

Similar examples of such frugality include that of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, and CEO of Facebook. Young, rich and powerful, Zuckerberg could be forgiven for driving to work in a supercar. Instead, he prefers to drive a normal, everyday car worth less than $30,000 because, in his worlds, “It is safe, comfortable and not flashy.”

So why do these billionaires choose to spend so little when they could spend much more without it making any real difference to their worth? We will now look at why these individuals place more worth in other areas, and what these areas are.

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Don’t live beyond your means

Wherever we look, again and again, we can see examples of rich individuals living way below their means. One such example is Lebron James, the famous US basketball player with a net worth of around $440 million, who refuses to pay for expensive subscriptions, preferring free WIFI and music-streaming sites instead. Staying with US sports, there are numerous other stories of athletes earning millions of dollars every year but who have limited their spending to just a few thousand dollars each month.

Like Buffett and Zuckerberg, these individuals have chosen a lifestyle way below their means; exhibiting spending habits that show their focus for being successful lies elsewhere from money. Just because these individuals are extremely wealthy, it does not mean that wealth is their driving focus. Being clear about what matters to them provides them with clarity and freedom. This freedom is a freedom from possessions and is important as it enables these individuals to concentrate on what makes them happy.

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Admit you do not know everything

Billionaire and humble are not two words that you would normally associate with each other. However, many of these individuals are the first to admit that they do not know everything. Such successful business people are often ferocious readers – understanding the need to continue to learn in order to be successful. Such understanding that there is always more to learn is not a new discovery, with Socrates himself stating, “All I know is that I know nothing.”

The understanding and acceptance that we can be wrong are important. Once we realise that imperfection and failure are perfectly natural and that there is no shame in being wrong – we can much more easily move forward and focus on what really matters. Making mistakes is an important part of life and enables us to learn from such events. It was Einstein who famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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Time can be your most valuable asset

Of all their many assets, successful individuals know the importance of time. Our time is valuable, and therefore anything and everything we can do to make the best use of it is encouraged. However, whilst we may be protective of some of our assets, such as physical property, we are often less concerned with our time and what we do with it. One simple way of better protecting our time is saying no to requests. Whilst we are not saying you cannot help people, you must ensure that others do not set your agenda in life. As Buffett himself states, “You have to keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no.” When saying no, remember why you are doing so – that of protecting your time and energy so that you can focus on what is important to you. Remember, time should be considered your most valuable asset, and one that you cannot buy more of.