Episode 7: Skills Are Tools

Welcome back to the Toolbox. We’ve talked about broad based tools like belief systems and active imagining.  Now let’s start getting more specific.

No one would think of building a house without tools and materials, hammers, nails, lumber, etc.  So what tools do you need for financial success? Over a lifetime, there may be many, but if you start with these two, all the rest can be mastered as needed.  What are they?

1. Master the English language and how to use it to persuade others to meet your needs!

Let me get personal for a moment.  I have started 10 successful companies in biotech, medical devices, finance, and other fields.  Did I have skills in those fields? No!  I never had a math course beyond high school algebra; never had a science course at all, and didn’t study accounting until my second year of law school.

What I did study was how to use language to persuade, excite and explain my dreams to others and get them to support them.  I found scientists who would develop the products, I found financial experts to fund my companies, and I found accountants and lawyers to guide us through the process.

If you truly understand the power of language—English in particular, and other languages if you can—you can learn anything else you need to know or find someone who already knows what you need to help you.

But if you don’t know why “Me and him went to the store” is bad grammar, or if you think the language of some ethnic group is “cool”, and you use it in business, I can just about guarantee you will fail.  So learn to use language as the powerful tool it is.

With a command of language, skill in public and private speaking and writing, and the understanding of how money works as a tool and not an end in itself, there is no reason to fail. 

Learn from those who are already successful. You don’t have to re-invent every skill.  You can, instead, find someone who is already successful and learn from him or her just by observing, or, if you have the chance, by asking questions.  

Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker who built his early fame by convincing people they could walk on a bed of coals did not just build a fire one day and try walking on it.  He found someone who actually did it, asked how they did it, and then put that knowledge to work to begin building his fortune. 

Warren Buffet, the most successful investor of all time, learned from his mentor, Ben Graham, how to find undervalued stocks; then improved on that technique and became one of the richest men in the world. 

There are hundreds of other skills and techniques you can learn, but it all starts with realizing that everything you learn, in school, on the job, or just living life, can be a tool to help you achieve success.  Learning some of those skills can sometimes be hard work.  But who cares?  Once you realize that the skills are the tools to your success, the work can become pleasurable—because it has a purpose: to make your life better.

We’ll talk more about converting skills into investment assets in the next blog.