Friday, April 17, 2015

Going to top 1%

Here is a question and answer from Quora on getting to top 1%

Quoting the interesting takeaways... summary...


1. Be mentally tough. Learn to get over your fears. I might have been lucky to have been born what is the tail end of the Cultural Revolution, a time of mass chaos and destruction, both figuratively and literally. I might also have been blessed with a natural tendency of being rebellious, going against the grain and paid no respect for authority, all qualities that could have made life miserable in a conservative Asian society. But I was lucky, I left not by my choosing. The point is, I had plenty of personal turmoil at an early age, where there wasn't a lot of security and stability, so you sort of get use to it. It is also this experience that made me realize that most people are afraid, and for the most part, irrationally afraid. What happens when one is afraid? You retreat, you hold back, you dither, you procrastinate. Worse, you become more prejudice, or even take on extreme forms of hate. You miss out on opportunities, you become a prisoner of your irrationality. So learn to ask a simple question when you are uncomfortable with something, what have I got to lose? In most cases, nothing, nothing but that quickening of your heartbeat, nothing but that little burning sensation on your face, nothing but that ego of yours getting pinched. Here is thing, once you realized the absurdity of those fears, you soon realize that vast majority of people around you are pre-occupied with those same idiotic fears! So if you really want to get head and shoulders above the rest of people, you don't need to have better looks, you don't need to have more money, you don't need to have better education, you don't need .... well the list goes on and on. But you only need one thing that is actually in all of us, just reach down a bit more. You have the courage, the toughness, yours skin is thick enough, your time here is only getting scarce... so get over it already!
2. Live within your means. Don't be an idiot like me.
3. Learn how to make money, not how to save money.
4. Learn how to scale yourself and the business. This means learning how to delegate, how to motivate others and recruit great talent to do works you don't know how or can't. My company is filled with people I recruited and most of them are unconventional successes as well. My sales guy Joe is a great example of this. Without the efforts of others, there is no way I am where I am today.
5. Learn all the time, I read 10-20 books on Kindle or Audible a month.
6. Learn from history and previous success as well as failures.
7. Ask a lot of whys. Usually 5 whys in a row will help you dig out the truth of the matter.
8. Work with smarter people, people who like to hack mostly. Learn, steal their ideas, they won't mind.
9. Travel as much as you can afford, you will have a much broader perspective. Go get your passport already!
10. Laugh at adversity, have fun. Life can be really hard, don't take it personally, even Bill Gates have really really shitty days.
11. Don't be a victim, don't make excuses. Nobody gives a shit about your problems.
12. Learn a trade that can make you money in good times and bad. I personally can always fall back on my trading no matter what. This makes me fearless.
13. Find an outlet for your stress. When I really really feel like I can't deal with things anymore, or just don't want to face anything I get in my car and go on a road trip, all by myself. I am fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful part of the world, so I don't have to venture far to find peace. So of my favorite places to drive have been Death Valley, Highway 1 up and down the West Coast of USA. The other option for me is to go sea kayaking. There is no way I am going to get stressed when I am sitting down in a kayak paddling around the ocean. When I didn't have much money, I spent my zen time listening to music, mostly classical music to escape.
14. It's good to have a chip on the shoulder, it gets you motivated. But it is an annoying personality quirk too, so balance it well.
15. Maybe you are just not born with it, I mean motivation. My brother is nothing like me, he is perfectly happy being average and couldn't give a shit about my struggles and successes.
16. It is nice to be in a county or a system that has plenty of opportunities. I was lucky to have been in US all this time. If you can, move.
17. Don't believe the BS about inequality. The real inequality is the level of personal drive and intelligence. I came from nothing, dropped out of college with IQ no higher than George Bush. If I can join the 1% 3 times, so can a lot of people.
18. Yes, it is you against the world.
19. Learn how to sell. This is perhaps one of the easiest way to get above everyone else. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, accountant or any other professional, you will notice the ones on top are usually people who can sell. They sell themselves, they sell their ideas, they sell and motivate others to do their bidding (this is scaling). Bottomline, sales people are some of the highest paid out there, and it requires no specialization or education.
20. Don't take yourself too seriously. Make sure you are having fun. The American cliche about working on something you love or having passion is grossly overrated. It is far easier to find something you can fun in. Business can certainly be fun. Often times fun and not taking yourself too seriously can be the key differentiator for your business success. Who wants to do business with a bunch of boring and sour puss?
21. For most people this is the part that is hard to take: you will never get rich working for someone else. You might still be able to join the 1% if you have a highly paid job, but you are still someone else's wage slave. Fair or not, capitalism is about the ownership of capital, the means of production. In a world where long term growth stagnates (Europe, Japan and even America), ownership takes on even more importance because access to capital is constrained and return on capital is low (try to get a small business loan these day). So the only way out for most people is through entrepreneurship. Try and figure this out early in your life. I got lucky because I didn't arrive at this notion twenty years ago through thought and analysis, it was pure drive.
22. I am probably going to offend a lot of people with this one. Yes, I am Chinese, or what might be considered a minority in US. But I never view myself as such. I mean I never considered myself as Chinese, Asian, yellow-skinned and so on. It absolutely helps to be in a country such as US where there is such a mix of race and culture. BUT, the race and culture aspect has been played far too much by the minority groups, including the Chinese. I am not suggesting there isn't racism, nor am I saying there isn't a glass ceiling for some. You can decry all the "unfairness" that is in life or you can ignore it and fight on anyways. I am grateful for the likes of MLK who helped to pave the way for minorities and the disadvantaged, but life is short, you don't want to wallow in your self-pity just because your circumstances. Race, skin color, where you are from are just some of the small bumps in your long struggle in life, so get over it. I have personally experienced what some might considered racism, but I never let it get to me. I simply try harder. You will be surprised that even racist appreciates someone who doesn't give a fuck and simply out hustles. Effort is infectious!

I should add this little tidbit. My son was diagnosed with a rare form of blood disease in 2009, while I was going through my divorce. He nearly died if not for the efforts of Children's Hospital in Seattle. He spent a month in chemo at the time he is now in remission. I am not exactly an old man yet, so this may be presumptuous at this point. If I get to stay in the 1% and even get to be a billionaire, I have no intentions of going back to my former young and stupid lifestyle again. I'm living in a middle class neighborhood this time around. I don't have multiple properties or a bunch of fancy cars. My only splurge is travel. I want to live way beneath my means and leave all of my money to Children's Hospital when I die. This doesn't mean I won't do my best to make as much money as I can at the meantime :)