Filthy Rich Advice

Years ago I did some video work for a man I was told was worth about $100 million dollars. I can’t verify that figure, but there was absolutely no doubt this man was filthy stinkin’ rich.

Ranches, banks, airplanes, you name it, he owned them. Sometimes many of them. He was always impeccably dressed, surrounded by the trappings of the super-rich, and always seemed to be having a ball sitting on top of the world. And to top it off, I was told he’d built his empire from scratch.

[sociallocker id=”1846″] While my face-to-face time with this man was limited, I spent a great deal of time with one of his assistants during the course of our project. This assistant had apparently been “groomed” well as he shared precious little personal information about his boss. All work, this fellow was. Except for one day when it appeared he’d had a little too much “happy juice” during one of our editing sessions.

He mostly just griped about his boss and how difficult he was to work for, but at least he was opening up. That’s when I asked him the question I was just dying to ask:

How did this man get so rich?

The assistant perked up and shared what his boss had told him about this very question. His boss pointed around his palatial home at all the treasures it held and told him something like this,

“You don’t get to live like this by trying to live like this. You get to live like this by trying to live the way I live when you’re not looking. Working beyond the point of exhaustion, being unreasonable as hell, focusing on a single goal at the expense of everything else and taking risks that would scare the crap out of most people. And if you’re lucky, it pays off. And if you’re really lucky, you learn to love the process whether it pays off or not. That’s how you get to live like this. And that’s also why most people will never live like this.”

Of course, this advice is paraphrased as I heard it years ago and second-hand at that. Still, I am certain I have captured its essence correctly.

I know it isn’t “pretty” and it isn’t “nice” advice. But the old man just might be onto something.

Originally published July 18, 2005