Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Secrets to Success - Part 1

Sometimes when life has its difficulties it is important for a person to reevaluate their choices. Life is sometimes complex and not be able to adjust can mean that one will remain stagnant. It is my belief that people, no matter their intelligence, education, or religious beliefs, have been given the ability to excel.

Sometimes people don't excel because of external situations, from which they have no control. Even under those circumstances there are people who don't accept that reality as a permanent reality, and they do whatever they can to change the paradigm. There are also those who have all of the physical and intellectual tools to succeed, but they do not due to fault or lack of correct choice making on their part.

Jack Canfield: The Success Principles

I am firm believer that most human beings were created with the ability to be successful, given the right external and internal circumstances. I also believe that a smaller number of people have the ability to be successful no matter what the external or internal circumstances. I remember once listening to a KRS-1 song Hip-Hop Knowledge where he mentioned the following statement. You know life is funny. In order to be successful you have to recreate the elements of you pas success. You have to have your own ingredient, your own formula. You have to know what made you, you.

This video from Seinfeild, though an extreme case, presents an interesting view of how sometimes the paradigm we create for ourselves may lock us into a cycle of lackluster living.

George Does the Opposite

Willie The Salesman

All of this brings me to a story of a friend I had in high school. His name was Willie, I can't remember his last name. We all called him Willie the Salesman. The reason was because from about age 16 to the time he graduated he was always trying to start some kind of business scheme to make money.

Willie did not grow up in the lapse of luxury nor was he in poverty. I never met Willie’s parents, but I knew that his mother was a police officer and I didn't know anything about his father. Willie was also the first person I ever met with a cell phone. That's right, he had a working cell phone in high school at about 16 or 17 and this was about 1994. The cell was those big clunky Grey cell phones with those huge suitcase charging kits.

I remember him as a very charismatic person, but mainly because he seemed to have dreams bigger than what I believed his grasp was able to hold onto. I was not the only one for there were a number of people who used to laugh at Willie and his dreams of success. It was not because success was considered impossible or because the environment was full of hopelessness. It was primarily because Willie’s approach was non conventional that he became known to us as “The Salesman” because it seemed like every week or every month he had a different business venture he was trying to engage himself with. Being that this was high school one doesn’t normally equate manageable business ventures from kids who are only 16 or 17 years old. This was I believe the crux of Willie’s delima back then. Often his business schemes seemed to be outlandish in terms of their scale and reliability.

Some of Willie’s business ventures I remember at various points in high school were:
  • Alcohol delivery person for parties (mind you he was 17 at the time, and even had business cards)
  • Music label and producer
  • Gun dealer
  • Specialty car parts (stereo, wheels, rims, etc.)
Willie once approached me with a proposition to buy a gun from him. He explained to me that he acquired 100 9-Millimeter caliber pistols. My first question to him, since he was only 16 years old, was “Willie how did you get your hands on 100 guns that are still in the boxes? What did you do knock over a military convoy?” For the most part I did not believe that Willie had the weapons or that he was actually going to sell them for the prices he claimed. Yet, he seemed totally convinced that he actually had the guns, and his response to me was, “A friend of mine got them for me. I don't know where he got them.” So for all of us Willie was a good laugh amongst us even though we were his friends.

In our young minds Willie should have just simply settled for a job at a fast food restaurant or any other teen driven market. Yet, for Willie this was never enough and even he though he did it for a time he always had his sights set higher.

Years later I was talking an old friend of mine Brandon and I asked him about all of the people we knew from high school. When Willie’s name came up Brandon said, “You know how we used to laugh at Willie when he was always trying to start different business? Well it looks like he got the last laugh.” Brandon went on to explain that Willie did not go to college, but instead he got into the insurance business and eventually began buying real-estate.

The last I heard, Willie was making good money and happily married with children. I related this story to my mother who said, “Maybe Willie played around with the idea of selling and business so much that he finally figured out how to make it work for himself. He though initially most of his ideas were not of any worth or long lasting the experience was like training for him.” I think she was 100% right about this since Willie always believed in whatever schemes he had, no matter who laughed at it and no matter whether it succeeded or not. This was the key to his success.

1 comment:

Felicity said...

I got the book known as 'The Secret' and it is very good.