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Discussion #15 - Success

As much as the world loves to categorize people as winners and losers, we human beings are far more complex and interesting than this. The psychology behind the world's obsession with success is not rocket science. We are quite simply attempting to establish or increase our perceived significance, contribute to, provide for, and live well within our given or chosen societies.

Everyone has a different definition of what success is for them.
Some would say it's a great family life, some would say financial, friends, health, etc. The priority mix is always unique. The common denominator, is that almost everyone wants it, & to be perceived as having it. It's a fantastic motivator, can be extremely exciting to strive for/achieve & (without obsession), is very healthy.

Another common denominator, is that almost everyone is very concerned about providing a good quality of life for their families, & for themselves. This creates a bit of a problem for the Western world, as many middle class jobs slowly & quietly migrate east. From 1940 to 1970(ish) companies in The West prioritized treating (& paying) their people well. Then things started to change, & companies began prioritizing shareholders & owners more (who are not evil people). It's just that things are now getting far too extreme, & the short-term bottom line is all that matters to large Western companies.

Meanwhile, countries like India and China are enjoying a rising middle class (which is a good thing). In essence, our loss is their gain. The big danger here (& what we are all seeing), is that a lot of hard feelings are beginning to develop, as people's livelihoods & lifestyles are very important to everyone. This is a very big issue, & it's about time we start openly discussing it between countries. Globalization is going to continue happening, whether we like it or not.

The most important aspect of this new global village that we're living in, is that we all need to get along & be fair with each other. All human beings are of equal worth on this planet, & it's about time we all get over ourselves & really believe this. Many people pay lip service to equality, but deep down inside believe they are vastly superior. If we truly believe in equality & make decisions accordingly, the global economy will evolve naturally & we will all enjoy a much better quality of life.

The obsession for success is fairly extreme in our world today. Some might say it's become a bit of a religion for many. To be perceived as not having it in many of the richer countries, is viewed as being almost on par with having a deadly disease. Unfortunately, an unhealthy preoccupation with achieving success could potentially contribute to this occurring. The trick here is to monitor how your work activities are making you feel. If you're noticing a lot of stress, it may be time to make some changes (and I don't mean quit necessarily). Virtually any form of work can be extremely enjoyable with the right attitude.

Achieving success can be the most exciting experience on Earth, and it can also be the most stressful. My personal opinion is that the people who succeed the most are actually enjoying the process as well. It not only enhances your frame of mind, but also gives you more energy, stamina, creativity, and clarity of thought. Many of the world's most successful people live to be a ripe and healthy old age. All of this is assuming that economic conditions in your country are not completely oppressive, which unfortunately is a massive problem for many in the world today.

Also, it's not just the most glamorous and exciting of careers that are necessarily the most rewarding and enjoyable. I personally believe that if a person finds the job or career that suits their (your) personality the best, then they (you) will never work a day in your life! How can you actually call it work if you are enjoying yourself most of the time (except that you're getting paid to do it!).

Similarly, if a high-paying (normally high-stress) career is what thrills and excites you, then go for it! But, if your version of happiness is just to enjoy your life (most of the time), then in my book (and in reality), that is extreme success as well. This is because most people are far too busy and focussed on their own lives, to have the time or serious interest in being overly impressed by ours. That, and there are not enough glamour jobs to go around.

Then, once you've built up some financial steam in the job world, you'll likely want to (and really should) make the leap into the investment world. This is where you'll most likely make the majority of your wealth. In fact, even companies like Walmart, for example, make much of their wealth from real estate investments, not just from the daily operations of their business. They own the vast majority of their brick-and-mortar commercial property, and not surprisingly, this is what's generating much of their overall wealth.

When you look at the numbers, they have around 11,000 Supercenters around the world, each one requiring quite a bit of extremely valuable commercial land, (even more valuable now that THEY own it). This land will only climb in value over the years. (Each Supercenter is around 182,000 square feet, on average, with around 300 employees). They even rent out space within their stores to hair & nail salons, McDonald's (or similar) restaurants, etc.

Even some celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, did not become billionaires until they stopped working at their more "grindy" daily routine, and started focussing more on their business activites. This same principle also applies to some pro athletes. They build their brand by working extremely hard in the beginning (for decades typically), and then push the turbo button by amplifying or leveraging it in the business world.

A celebrity's brand is usually more-or-less themselves, and this brand becomes an investment worth millions, or sometimes billions. What a brand really is, is the perception of what people think of when this thought is triggered somehow. It can take decades to build, but can eventually become obscenely valuable.

This is typically also referred to as "good will" in the business world. This means that investments are not always "hard assets". Sometimes they're simply memories or "brand recognition" in the minds of millions (or billions). Every company or brand in the world is usually a mixture of both hard & soft assets, but the mix can really vary quite a bit.

The vast majority of people on this Earth, however, will be far more concerned about investing, than building a brand. This is something that, in my opinion, we should all be doing, at some point in our lives. While many individuals turn to the stock markets for this purpose, real estate historically outperforms virtually all other investment vehicles.

Two of the biggest reasons for this, are that it's very simple to turn property (of any type) into an income earning entity, all the while going up in value as well. Basically performing double-duty, (triple-duty if you also live in it). The second reason why real estate outperfoms historically, is that land is THE most finite resource on this planet. No one will ever figure out how to make or mine more of it, all we can do is chop it up into smaller pieces.

If you google this subject, you will undoubtedly get various different opinions, depending on who you're listening to. If it's someone who's trying to sell you stock market products, like an investment planner, you'll likely get the opposite opinion. Even real estate agents often have the attitude that they should be the only ones making money from real estate. Speaking from experience however, and according to investment experts such as Investopedia (for one), real estate does outperform all others.

The extremely finite nature of land, along with it's ability to easily create additional revenue and positive cash flow, are what make it such a great investment. Stock market investments are usually "single-duty", meaning they're either designed to go up in value, or provide income, but rarely both. The best way to demonstrate how important this finite nature is to creating long-term, stable wealth, is to compare it to things like the trendy new cryptocurrencies.

Many people are under the impression that Bitcoin, for example, is a limited resource. Mainly because there will supposedly only ever be 21 million digital "coins" ever released, or "mined". The problem here, is that along with the future ability of simply modifying the protocol to allow an infinite number of coins to be eventually "mined", there are many new cryptocurrencies being created every single day. As of mid-2021, over 10,000 in total thus far. This number is also doubling roughly every six months. While they won't all become superstars like Bitcoin, many are becoming extremely popular, and this number will also continue to rise indefinitely.

So, as you can easily see, there is virtually nothing finite about cryptocurrencies. Even investment vehicles such as gold, silver, or diamonds, which are excellent, are not as limited in supply as land, since more will always be mined from the Earth. Even buying shares in companies is nowhere near as fininte a resource, as many new companies will always continue to pop up every single day that goes by.

This one aspect of investing is not everything, but it is huge. Of course, with land, a little thing called "location, location, location", is also extremely important, but you get the general idea. The more limited the resource, the more it generally increases in value over the long term.

Whether cryptocurrencies are a trendy fad similar to Cabbage Patch Kids, waterbeds, or Pokemon trading cards, remains to be seen. The hard fact however, is that like everything else in the digital realm, there is absolutely NO finite nature or limited supply to digital currencies. In fact, it's the opposite, their supply is infinite. This means that there's virtually no difference between governments simply printing more cash, which creates inflation, and the planet being flooded with more cryptocurrencies.

When more cash or currency is pumped into the global system, the value of all existing currency, or "narrow & broad money", simply goes down in value. The value of "real" assets, such as real estate, go up in value as a result. This means that if cryptocurrencies really take off in a big way, the effect will be that all existing currencies/money will simply go down in value. Similar to how governments around the world have been printing trillions of extra dollars in stimulus money to combat the effects of the covid pandemic.

In other words, more money and currencies pumped into the global system dilutes the value of all that is currently in the system, and this in turn pumps up the value of "real" assets. Therefore, to be truly financially successful, my advice would be to work hard when you're young, and then invest in assets that are far more "real" in nature. Crypto is extremely popular with the younger generations, mainly because of it's volatility and "techie" nature, but it's long-term future may be nothing more than a passing fad.

Since health and wealth are equally important, make sure that you can sleep well at night with your investment strategy. If you enjoy sitting on a much more "wild" roller coaster ride (extreme highs & lows), then great, maybe crypto or similar is for you. If not, maybe stick to one that will likely outperform (dramatically) down the road, AND allow you to sleep well at night all the way along.

The big picture on success, is that it's not all financial. In fact, quality of life is far more important. Health and wealth really do need to hold hands walking down the path of this life. Those who can figure out how to do this, and also treat the people around them well, will enjoy real success.

Financial wealth is relative. Unless you're the richest person in the world, there's always going to be someone who is richer than you. Even if you are lucky enough to be this richest person in the world, you could be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, and be gone a year from now. That's why success should never be measured by these ridiculous yardsticks.

It should be a very personal thing, a feeling in your soul that you're living the very best life you can. And if you are a hyper-competitive person, you'd be very wise to compete more in the area of health, not just wealth. This means that peace of mind and quality sleep should always be far bigger priorities than having the most money in the bank.

The crazy thing about success, is that once you've achieved a certain level of it, you DO actually sleep better at night, and have incredible peace of mind. But only if you can become reasonably satisfied with it. If all you do is obsessively pine away for more, then this robs you of all that amazing peace in your soul. You'd be amazed at how many ultra-wealthy people are stuck in this trap. In fact, the hardest part of being truly successful in life, is knowing when to be satisfied with having enough of it.

The wisest plan is to not wait until you're on your death-bed for this to happen. If you know you already have plenty, then chill out!! If you still must continue to make more, at least try to relax and enjoy what you've already achieved, or it really is all just a waste of time. People driven enough to become billionaires often really do struggle with this.

One of my own business associates had $3.5 billion (US) when he passed away from cancer at the age of 67. He achieved some amazing things in his life, but prioritizing health was possibly not one of them. He was extremely physically fit, but also a bit aggressive in business, which is very typical of people who achieve this level of success.

It's interesting how many ultra-wealthy people can often be generous & philanthropic in life, and at the same time be viciously competitive in business, to the point of wanting to crush their competition. In their defense, they see this as protecting their own business interests, along with the careers and livelihoods of all employees and associates within the company.

As we all know, there is always some genetics involved in the area of health, but I personally believe that if we really knew how much control we do have in this area of our life, it would be shocking. Finding the right balance between competition and compassion for others, can be a huge help in this area.

For those who may be envious of people with extreme wealth or celebrity status, there are pros & cons to this lifestyle. There is a layer of extra stress & strife that is simply not necessary, and it can definitely take a toll on a person's health. Extreme fame can be even more aggravating, with the loss of privacy. (I've never experienced either of these things myself, but do know people who have).

Don't kid yourself, there is a serious price to pay for this extreme way of life. There is a sweet spot when it comes to success, and it is definitely very sweet. I would say, however, that extreme wealth, fame, and yes, extreme poverty, are not the tickets to this lifestyle.
Discussion #15 - Success

As much as the world loves to categorize people as winners and losers, we human beings are far more complex and interesting than this. The psychology behind the world's obsession with success is not rocket science. We are quite simply attempting to establish or increase our perceived significance, contribute to, provide for, and live well within our given or chosen societies.

Everyone has a different definition of what success is for them.
Some would say it's a great family life, some would say financial, friends, health, etc. The priority mix is always unique. The common denominator, is that almost everyone wants it, & to be perceived as having it. It's a fantastic motivator, can be extremely exciting to strive for/achieve & (without obsession), is very healthy.

Another common denominator, is that almost everyone is very concerned about providing a good quality of life for their families, & for themselves. This creates a bit of a problem for the Western world, as many middle class jobs slowly & quietly migrate east. From 1940 to 1970(ish) companies in The West prioritized treating (& paying) their people well. Then things started to change, & companies began prioritizing shareholders & owners more (who are not evil people). It's just that things are now getting far too extreme, & the short-term bottom line is all that matters to large Western companies.

Meanwhile, countries like India and China are enjoying a rising middle class (which is a good thing). In essence, our loss is their gain. The big danger here (& what we are all seeing), is that a lot of hard feelings are beginning to develop, as people's livelihoods & lifestyles are very important to everyone. This is a very big issue, & it's about time we start openly discussing it between countries. Globalization is going to continue happening, whether we like it or not.

The most important aspect of this new global village that we're living in, is that we all need to get along & be fair with each other. All human beings are of equal worth on this planet, & it's about time we all get over ourselves & really believe this. Many people pay lip service to equality, but deep down inside believe they are vastly superior. If we truly believe in equality & make decisions accordingly, the global economy will evolve naturally & we will all enjoy a much better quality of life.

The obsession for success is fairly extreme in our world today. Some might say it's become a bit of a religion for many. To be perceived as not having it in many of the richer countries, is viewed as being almost on par with having a deadly disease. Unfortunately, an unhealthy preoccupation with achieving success could potentially contribute to this occurring. The trick here is to monitor how your work activities are making you feel. If you're noticing a lot of stress, it may be time to make some changes (and I don't mean quit necessarily). Virtually any form of work can be extremely enjoyable with the right attitude.

Achieving success can be the most exciting experience on Earth, and it can also be the most stressful. My personal opinion is that the people who succeed the most are actually enjoying the process as well. It not only enhances your frame of mind, but also gives you more energy, stamina, creativity, and clarity of thought. Many of the world's most successful people live to be a ripe and healthy old age. All of this is assuming that economic conditions in your country are not completely oppressive, which unfortunately is a massive problem for many in the world today.

Also, it's not just the most glamorous and exciting of careers that are necessarily the most rewarding and enjoyable. I personally believe that if a person finds the job or career that suits their (your) personality the best, then they (you) will never work a day in your life! How can you actually call it work if you are enjoying yourself most of the time (except that you're getting paid to do it!).

Similarly, if a high-paying (normally high-stress) career is what thrills and excites you, then go for it! But, if your version of happiness is just to enjoy your life (most of the time), then in my book (and in reality), that is extreme success as well. This is because most people are far too busy and focussed on their own lives, to have the time or serious interest in being overly impressed by ours. That, and there are not enough glamour jobs to go around.

Then, once you've built up some financial steam in the job world, you'll likely want to (and really should) make the leap into the investment world. This is where you'll most likely make the majority of your wealth. In fact, even companies like Walmart, for example, make much of their wealth from real estate investments, not just from the daily operations of their business. They own the vast majority of their brick-and-mortar commercial property, and not surprisingly, this is what's generating much of their overall wealth.

When you look at the numbers, they have around 11,000 Supercenters around the world, each one requiring quite a bit of extremely valuable commercial land, (even more valuable now that THEY own it). This land will only climb in value over the years. (Each Supercenter is around 182,000 square feet, on average, with around 300 employees). They even rent out space within their stores to hair & nail salons, McDonald's (or similar) restaurants, etc.

Even some celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, did not become billionaires until they stopped working at their more "grindy" daily routine, and started focussing more on their business activites. This same principle also applies to some pro athletes. They build their brand by working extremely hard in the beginning (for decades typically), and then push the turbo button by amplifying or leveraging it in the business world.

A celebrity's brand is usually more-or-less themselves, and this brand becomes an investment worth millions, or sometimes billions. What a brand really is, is the perception of what people think of when this thought is triggered somehow. It can take decades to build, but can eventually become obscenely valuable.

This is typically also referred to as "good will" in the business world. This means that investments are not always "hard assets". Sometimes they're simply memories or "brand recognition" in the minds of millions (or billions). Every company or brand in the world is usually a mixture of both hard & soft assets, but the mix can really vary quite a bit.

The vast majority of people on this Earth, however, will be far more concerned about investing, than building a brand. This is something that, in my opinion, we should all be doing, at some point in our lives. While many individuals turn to the stock markets for this purpose, real estate historically outperforms virtually all other investment vehicles.

Two of the biggest reasons for this, are that it's very simple to turn property (of any type) into an income earning entity, all the while going up in value as well. Basically performing double-duty, (triple-duty if you also live in it). The second reason why real estate outperfoms historically, is that land is THE most finite resource on this planet. No one will ever figure out how to make or mine more of it, all we can do is chop it up into smaller pieces.

If you google this subject, you will undoubtedly get various different opinions, depending on who you're listening to. If it's someone who's trying to sell you stock market products, like an investment planner, you'll likely get the opposite opinion. Even real estate agents often have the attitude that they should be the only ones making money from real estate. Speaking from experience however, and according to investment experts such as Investopedia (for one), real estate does outperform all others.

The extremely finite nature of land, along with it's ability to easily create additional revenue and positive cash flow, are what make it such a great investment. Stock market investments are usually "single-duty", meaning they're either designed to go up in value, or provide income, but rarely both. The best way to demonstrate how important this finite nature is to creating long-term, stable wealth, is to compare it to things like the trendy new cryptocurrencies.

Many people are under the impression that Bitcoin, for example, is a limited resource. Mainly because there will supposedly only ever be 21 million digital "coins" ever released, or "mined". The problem here, is that along with the future ability of simply modifying the protocol to allow an infinite number of coins to be eventually "mined", there are many new cryptocurrencies being created every single day. As of mid-2021, over 10,000 in total thus far. This number is also doubling roughly every six months. While they won't all become superstars like Bitcoin, many are becoming extremely popular, and this number will also continue to rise indefinitely.

So, as you can easily see, there is virtually nothing finite about cryptocurrencies. Even investment vehicles such as gold, silver, or diamonds, which are excellent, are not as limited in supply as land, since more will always be mined from the Earth. Even buying shares in companies is nowhere near as fininte a resource, as many new companies will always continue to pop up every single day that goes by.

This one aspect of investing is not everything, but it is huge. Of course, with land, a little thing called "location, location, location", is also extremely important, but you get the general idea. The more limited the resource, the more it generally increases in value over the long term.

Whether cryptocurrencies are a trendy fad similar to Cabbage Patch Kids, waterbeds, or Pokemon trading cards, remains to be seen. The hard fact however, is that like everything else in the digital realm, there is absolutely NO finite nature or limited supply to digital currencies. In fact, it's the opposite, their supply is infinite. This means that there's virtually no difference between governments simply printing more cash, which creates inflation, and the planet being flooded with more cryptocurrencies.

When more cash or currency is pumped into the global system, the value of all existing currency, or "narrow & broad money", simply goes down in value. The value of "real" assets, such as real estate, go up in value as a result. This means that if cryptocurrencies really take off in a big way, the effect will be that all existing currencies/money will simply go down in value. Similar to how governments around the world have been printing trillions of extra dollars in stimulus money to combat the effects of the covid pandemic.

In other words, more money and currencies pumped into the global system dilutes the value of all that is currently in the system, and this in turn pumps up the value of "real" assets. Therefore, to be truly financially successful, my advice would be to work hard when you're young, and then invest in assets that are far more "real" in nature. Crypto is extremely popular with the younger generations, mainly because of it's volatility and "techie" nature, but it's long-term future may be nothing more than a passing fad.

Since health and wealth are equally important, make sure that you can sleep well at night with your investment strategy. If you enjoy sitting on a much more "wild" roller coaster ride (extreme highs & lows), then great, maybe crypto or similar is for you. If not, maybe stick to one that will likely outperform (dramatically) down the road, AND allow you to sleep well at night all the way along.

The big picture on success, is that it's not all financial. In fact, quality of life is far more important. Health and wealth really do need to hold hands walking down the path of this life. Those who can figure out how to do this, and also treat the people around them well, will enjoy real success.

Financial wealth is relative. Unless you're the richest person in the world, there's always going to be someone who is richer than you. Even if you are lucky enough to be this richest person in the world, you could be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, and be gone a year from now. That's why success should never be measured by these ridiculous yardsticks.

It should be a very personal thing, a feeling in your soul that you're living the very best life you can. And if you are a hyper-competitive person, you'd be very wise to compete more in the area of health, not just wealth. This means that peace of mind and quality sleep should always be far bigger priorities than having the most money in the bank.

The crazy thing about success, is that once you've achieved a certain level of it, you DO actually sleep better at night, and have incredible peace of mind. But only if you can become reasonably satisfied with it. If all you do is obsessively pine away for more, then this robs you of all that amazing peace in your soul. You'd be amazed at how many ultra-wealthy people are stuck in this trap. In fact, the hardest part of being truly successful in life, is knowing when to be satisfied with having enough of it.

The wisest plan is to not wait until you're on your death-bed for this to happen. If you know you already have plenty, then chill out!! If you still must continue to make more, at least try to relax and enjoy what you've already achieved, or it really is all just a waste of time. People driven enough to become billionaires often really do struggle with this.

One of my own business associates had $3.5 billion (US) when he passed away from cancer at the age of 67. He achieved some amazing things in his life, but prioritizing health was possibly not one of them. He was extremely physically fit, but also a bit aggressive in business, which is very typical of people who achieve this level of success.

It's interesting how many ultra-wealthy people can often be generous & philanthropic in life, and at the same time be viciously competitive in business, to the point of wanting to crush their competition. In their defense, they see this as protecting their own business interests, along with the careers and livelihoods of all employees and associates within the company.

As we all know, there is always some genetics involved in the area of health, but I personally believe that if we really knew how much control we do have in this area of our life, it would be shocking. Finding the right balance between competition and compassion for others, can be a huge help in this area.

For those who may be envious of people with extreme wealth or celebrity status, there are pros & cons to this lifestyle. There is a layer of extra stress & strife that is simply not necessary, and it can definitely take a toll on a person's health. Extreme fame can be even more aggravating, with the loss of privacy. (I've never experienced either of these things myself, but do know people who have).

Don't kid yourself, there is a serious price to pay for this extreme way of life. There is a sweet spot when it comes to success, and it is definitely very sweet. I would say, however, that extreme wealth, fame, and yes, extreme poverty, are not the tickets to this lifestyle.
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