Forbes Magazine recently asked 20 rich business people — I'll call them "Richies" — a series of questions. One of them was, "What was the hardest lesson you ever learned?" I thought the answers were insighful.
1. Don't Lose Focus. One Richie said that losing focus caused him to go bankrupt. Don't try to be all things to all people. Focus doggedly on what you do well and you're practically guaranteed to succeed.
2. Money Doesn't Buy Happiness. Money is good. But the business world is littered with unhappy billionnaires. Divorce, disappointment, broken business relationships. The love of money is indeed the root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) Earn money, don't worship it.
3. Patience. Three Richies said patience was a hard fought virtue. Patience comes with wisdom and practice. (Proverbs 19:11) It doesn't come easy, but the rewards of practicing it are priceless.
4. Leaving $50Million To The Kids Is Too Much. I agree. Better to leave it to charity and teach the kids to fish for themselves.
5. Immediate Problem Solving. Letting problems fester until they explode is a poor way to manage a business. Better to prevent them to start with, but if you can't do that, address them sooner rather than later.
6. Incompetent Attorneys. This could apply to any professional service provider. Get favorable recommendations from others before hiring anyone.
7. Delegation. Two Richies said learning how to let people make decisions without them was hard to do. Truth is, if you're not an expert, you probably know just enough to be dangerous. Do what you're good at and leave everything else to the experts.
8. People First. Love your family, cherish your friends and respect and support your community.
9. Ignore Mean Spirited Comments. Do your best and get on with it.
10. Wealth Corrupts. One of the most corrupting influences in life is wealth because it's so easy to use and manipulate it to hurt other people.
11. Don't Fret Over The Competition. Invest your energy in your own ideas instead of worrying about how you can copy someone else's or about how others are copying yours. Assemble your vision and then get in the car and drive it.
12. Don't Be A People Pleaser. Some people will hate you no matter what. Take what you can (if anything) from them and keep doing what you were called to do.
13. Don't Throw In The Towel Too Soon. If you believe in it, but you give up on it, you're the loser.
14. Be A Solid Manager. The only way to learn this is by doing it. Don't beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Fix it, apologize and keep on truckin'.
15. People Are Not Created Equal. I disagree. I think we were all created equal by a loving Creator. However, we don't treat each other as if we have equal value and that's the problem. Let's all do our part to fix it.
You can enjoy the entire survey here. I appreciate their wisdom, don't you? Too bad none of the Richies were women. So, Indie ladies? What's the hardest lesson you've learned?