16 April, 2009

Why are the rich, rich?

Or to put it in other words, how does one get rich? This world would be a fabulous place if there were a success formula for this… for if we follow those seven or ten steps, we can be rich, right?

There is no success formula like that unfortunately, as you might have guessed. Then, how come some get rich and others seem to be plodding along life, without ever getting lucky?

There are certain characteristics & patterns which people who end up being rich have. That should give pointers then about why they become rich, in the first place.

Looking at opportunities

There are lots of problems plaguing the world. The security situation is bad, for instance. There is so much poverty. Dismal, right? It depends on how you look at it. Some look at these as opportunities. Every problem is an opportunity waiting to be solved. And, the problem solver becomes rich in the bargain. One looks at the sun and cribs that it is too hot. Another thinks it is a good idea to install solar water heater & solar panels, to harness this solar power!

Security agencies & companies selling security devices ( like access control, surveillance systems, motion sensors etc. ) have sprouted – started by those who smelt the opportunity and came with a solution. Nirma was an answer to cleaning clothes in hard water. Google is an answer to the problem of finding accurate information on the internet. The founders are now billionaires. Problems abound and hence the opportunities. It’s how one looks at them.

A positive Attitude

Your attitude determines your altitude is a saying, we have heard before. Probably, the rich have internalized it. They have the spirit of making things happen. They know that everything is possible and can be made to happen. They have no use for doom-sayers, of whom there is no dearth. Their can do spirit itself becomes a force to reckon with and helps them in pulverizing the hurdles.

Hurdles & roadblocks

Hurdles don’t deter them. They are merely that- hurdles... which can delay their goal, not stop it. They work on it - get over it, under it, around it… they surmount it, neverthless. They have a missionary zeal and dogged perseverance & even some amount of ruthlessness in their mission to reach their goal. I have heard that a 2nd grade idea will work, if the person working with it is top grade; but even a top class idea cannot succeed, if the person working on it is 2nd grade. Whoever made this statement is probably referring to the ability to fly around storms, as much as the person’s caliber.

They don’t focus on becoming rich

Those who think like the rich, do not have the goal to become rich. They are focused on coming up with a solution to a problem, which is the opportunity they are cashing on. Or they pursue their destiny in their chosen field, with gusto. Money is essentially a byproduct of a job well done. They know that.

Looking for Value

The common perception is that rich have money and can splurge. They, infact, look for value. They are the ones who may ask searching questions about warranties & free service options before buying a car. They are the ones who may opt for an extended warranty, even if it means some additional upfront payment, for they know that it would deliver better value, over time. Total cost of ownership is something which IT companies spout – to indicate the total costs a person may have to incur, during the lifetime of the product. This is innately understood by the rich. They look for value, not necessarily for something that maybe available cheap.

Confidence in themselves and in their ideas

No one can succeed without this. The rich may seem smug, even cocky. But that stems out of self belief, their unshakeable faith in themselves and their ideas. They throw their entire weight behind their idea & channelize all their energy and resources to make it work. That can only happen when one has total faith in themselves and their ideas, especially in the face of nay-sayers. Ratan Tata & Tata Motors were almost written off, when he wanted to launch Tata Indica. He went ahead anyway, put up a Rs.1,700 crore plant and created history.

Making mistakes and recovering from them

It’s not that they don’t make mistakes. In spite of the best efforts, sometimes they fail. It will be devastating personally & financially. But then, one needs to stand up again, dust off and move forward. The rich seem to be cast in that mould. They learn their lessons and move on. Edison is supposed to have said that he knew a ten thousand ways a bulb won’t work, when he failed each time trying to make a light bulb. But, ultimately he succeeded. He is credited to be one of the most prolific inventors of alltime.

It’s difficult to define them, typecast them. We could all learn from them. There are many other traits that they possess. They keep looking for new horizons to soar into, new avenues to explore. We in India, have a socialistic bent of mind. We think being rich is evil. It’s time we learnt from them. Those that are rich or are in the process, become rich and make a difference to others by solving problems, others are just bogged down by. Think what we would have been without the humble electric bulb. Or without the airplane, had Wright brothers just given it up as a lost cause.

Published in DNA Money ( Bangalore Edition 15/4/2009 ; Mumbai edition to follow )

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No comments: