Lessons From The World’s Richest Man

I have been reflecting on the recent billionaire list released by Forbes this week. I have made some interesting observations. In the top 5 list, there are 3 people from the developed world, 1 from Mexico and 2 from India. In fact the richest man is now Carlos Slim Helu a Mexican with Lebanese parentage. The most interesting fact is that there have been some come backs into the list, and even new additions despite the fact that the world has been hit by an economic crisis. While this is all about money, the lessons and conclusions I have made from this could apply in any area of your life. In any event there is nothing wrong about money because we all need it, and when we have it we can do much more for ourselves and others.

Open Your Eyes

How do you explain the fact that there are new billionaires this year, and someone like Carlos Slim Helu has made USD 40 billion in just two years? Yet there has been a crashing recession! The natural instinct when there is chaos around is to close eyes. However there are a few people who open their eyes when there is chaos, and those are the people who get all the opportunities. During tough times a lot of people close their eyes, and hide their heads in sand waiting for times to get better. By the time things get better those who had their eyes open will have creamed all the opportunities. Like an eagle soar above the storms of life and be watchful for opportunities in the chaos below. Once your train your eyes on the opportunity go for the kill.

Take Risk

When the Mexican government was selling assets in the 1980s everybody was holding back not trusting the ‘socialists’ intentions. Not Carlos, he opened his eyes and saw the future. He bought some his companies at about 5% of their real value. He bought one company for USD44 million and sold it for USD 1.2 billion a few years later. Every crisis or chaos presents a risk and an opportunity. Minimize the risk and amplify the opportunity. Instead of asking yourself the question “what if it doesn’t work out?” ask yourself the question “what if it works out?” I imagine Carlos asked himself the question “what if it works out?” I have shared before, telecom entrepreneur and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa and his wife once risked their life savings including their family to pursue their telecom dream.

Aim for Dominion

In a previous article, I shared about the spirit of dominion. Dominion gives you the ability to claim naming rights in your industry or profession. The world’s richest man, Carlos controls over 200 companies, and 92% of the fixed telecom and 73% of cellphones in his country. He contributes 7% of the total economic output for Mexico. His companies account for a 3rd of the stock market index in Mexico. In a country with more than 100 million people that is a massive contribution for one man to make. John D Rockefeller at one point contributed 2.5% to the US economic output. He dominated the oil refining industry in the US at that point. Such dominance is on the cusp of a monopoly. This is what dominion is about – filling up your world with your brand, influence and impact.

Understand The Times

Carlos has read books by Alvin Toffler. For 30 years Toffler argues that the world is entering a ‘third wave’ post-industrial society, in which the flow of information is key for the production of money. Carlos has followed this advice and invested heavily in information technologies. Wisdom is the ability to understand the times and respond appropriately. With wisdom you are more directed and specific in what your pursue

You can apply these lessons to every earlier of your life. You may not become the world’s richest, but you can become the world’s or your country’s “best, first, most, highest, most accomplished, celebrated…” The choice is yours.

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