For the first time in history there are 30 billionaires under the age of 40. This not only proves that there is more opportunity for wealth than ever before, but also teaches us an important lesson about ourselves. By looking at this small wonder group of early achievers we can piece together a strategy for how to live our lives in order to get the most out of it. In this post we will focus on the even smaller group within these 30 people, those who are self made.
The two youngest billionaires Evan Speigel and Bobby Murphy, started with a project called Future Freshman. This project failed miserably. They then had the idea to start a social media platform that deletes photos after sharing, however it wasn’t successful and the user base didn’t want to use it. Evan Spiegal said “We would experiment and fail. We must have attempted nearly 34 projects.” After cease and desist letters, constant failures and other problems in life, the two young entrepreneurs pivoted their idea and renamed it Snapchat.
“In times of despair, you may believe the cynic who tells you that one person cannot make difference – and there are times it may be hard to see your own impact. I beg you to remember that it is not possible at this time or any time to know the end results of our efforts.” – Evan Speigal
This young billionaires most powerful lesson is knowing that your efforts will have results, and imagining what those will be. The cynics are all around us and inside us, telling us we can’t make a difference. Don’t listen, take action and create something that will impact the world.
Another young self-made billionaire is Elizabeth Holmes, although terrified of needles, she focuses on blood testing and healthcare and with her innovations and business savvy she has amassed a fortune. There is another theme here: the concept of hard work and dedication. She said “People talk about the pursuit of perfection, I’ve always thought about it as the perfection of the pursuit.” So don’t try to get it right, but instead just get going. Perfect the pursuit.
Drew Houson had 6 startups before creating DropBox. Another story of failure after failure until the persistence become success. He says, “The hardest-working people don’t work hard because they’re disciplined. They work hard because working on an exciting problem is fun.” So find an exciting problem, something that you want to work for, and you will work harder than you ever have in your life.
Drew is a great example of the growth mindset and the ability to evolve. He says “You have to adopt a mindset that says, ‘Okay, in three months, I’ll need to know all this stuff, and then in six months there’s going to be a whole other set of things to know — again in a year, in five years.’ The tools will change, the knowledge will change, the worries will change.”
The lesson is to keep learning and moving forward, and as you take action you will have to learn more. As technology changes, the people change and the world changes, you have to learn to keep up and be non stop in your pursuit.
There are many more, and the patterns are all the same. Wether its Brian Chesky who started Airbnb, Garret Camp who started Uber, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, or Jan Koum with WhatsApp. They all understood something larger than themselves. Failure was not a reflection of their ego, but a necessary stepping stone to success. Hard work and persistence pays off and it’s especially important to create something that people need.
There is always an element of luck involved, however there are obvious patterns that emerge when you look at the bigger picture. You don’t have to become a billionaire, you don’t even need to care about the money. What you do have to care about is creating something that the world will find valuable, and being persistent through failures, setbacks, rejection and seemingly impossible challenges.
To close off, here are some questions to ponder:
Who is the cynic in your life, and how can you avoid it by envisioning the positive outcome of your results?
How can you stop trying to be perfect, but instead perfect the pursuit of your goals?
How can you adopt and implement a growth mindset into your life?
What exciting project can you work on that will allow you to work your hardest?
How can you face failure so you keep on moving with even more vigour and persistence?