Adam Khoo is a well-known entrepreneur who made his first million at the age of 26. He is my first mentor in wealth creation and personal development.
Back then, I had debts amounting to six figure to pay off, but I didn’t know how. I was damn tired of being harassed by loansharks, dealing with debt collectors. Inspired to change my life, I attended the Wealth Academy and Patterns Of Excellence courses conducted by Adam Khoo.
In Wealth Academy, one of the exercises that all participants had to do was to calculate our net worth. The formula is total assets – total debts. My net worth turned out to be negative $200,000. Morale damn low.
Eight years have since passed, I have ZERO debts now and have paid up my house. At last I get to enjoy financial security. Not bad for a boy who used to shoplift for instant noodles and canned food.
Today, I just want to share three lessons that I learnt from Adam Khoo. I hope you will find them useful in your pursuit of an abundant life = )
1. Model after successful people
The starting point of his courses is that everyone has the same potential. If someone can make a million dollar, so can you, it’s just a matter of finding the right strategy.
He said the best way to find the right strategy is to model after successful people, so that you can cut short your learning curve, and ‘profit’ from their mistakes.
It’s true that there are troves of free information online on how to invest or set up up a business. So it’s possible to learn on your own, but we all know that learning through trial and error is slower, and in the long run can cost you more money when you make mistakes.
I’ll explain using academic studies as an analogy. There are plenty of assessment books, studies guides, and past year examination papers available. But do you see parents or students choosing self-study just to save cost?
Yes, there are a few who prefers home-schooling, but the overwhelming majority of people attend schools. Some even pay good money for extra classes at tuition centres. Why? Because these teachers can teach you the proven study methods and short-cuts. They point out your shortcomings, and correct your mistakes.
In a similar vein, learning from experts helps to accelerate your success. Instead of struggling to make sense of all the complex financial theories — I was not a business or finance major —Adam was able to distill these concepts into simple, practical action steps that I could apply immediately.
I didn’t have to waste time in learning unnecessary theories. It’s just like you need not understand electricity in order to use it, right? Today, I spend about 20-30 minutes to analyse a stock. I profited from the panic of 2008 financial crisis, and in recent times from stakes in Apple, and oil stocks.
2. See things from a glass half-full perspective
“I really feel hurt and damn sian, when I see my house door being splashed in red paint. I would have no mood to do anything. What can I do?”
This was my question to Adam during a training break.
He replied: “Eng Beng, the more the ah long splash paint at your house, the more you should feel motivated to work harder. Turn your anger into motivation!”
He said that these unfortunate events in life do not define you, it is how you interpret these circumstances that determine your destiny.
He put it elegantly in a formula: Event + Response = Outcome. Your circumstances do not define your future. It is how you respond to these circumstances that would shape the kind of life you will live in future.
I learnt how to do reframing, which means to see things from a glass half-full perspective. There is always a silver lining to everything in life. Whether something is a curse or blessing depends on your perspective.
When we interpret an experience as negative or bad, we get into a lousy state of mind, make bad decisions, and produce terrible results. But if we look at the same experience from a glass half full perspective, we get into a resourceful state, and take positive steps, and produce good results.
For example, Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and legs, but he did not let his severe disability stop him from living a great life. He could swim, surf and even completed a degree.
Many people gave excuse like, “I was born stupid”, “my life sucks because bad things happened to me”. But if Nick Vujicic can be successful with no limbs, what’s my excuse?
So when things go wrong, I would ask myself powerful questions: What can I learn from this? How can I turn things around? Are there opportunities in this crisis?
“I come from a poor family, but this only means that I have the hunger to succeed.”
“I have to work so many jobs to buy a house while I am still studying, but means that I have an early head start and will gain financial freedom faster.
“I come from a Chinese-speaking background, my English is not good, but because my stories are written in very simple English, I can reach out to a lot more people.”
3. Make it a must to succeed
One of the most powerful lessons that Adam Khoo taught is: Unless I am committed to making it a must to succeed, and do whatever it takes to succeed, my dream would remain… just a dream.
Everyone wants to succeed, hopes to succeed, and wishes to succeed. But only a few turn their dream into reality. Why? Because most people don’t see it as a must to succeed.
This is so true. As human beings, we are all programmed to survive, so we’d do just enough to stay alive, and make ends meet. Unless something is a must, we probably wouldn’t do it.
You complete your work because you have to answer to your boss, and because you can’t afford to get sacked. But getting financially ahead is just a good-to-have for most people. It is not a must.
Most people’s goals are weak desires. They always find excuses to stay within their comfort zone and procrastinate. The only way to achieve anything is to commit to making it a must. When we give ourselves no choice but to succeed, we will always find a way.
I hope you will find these three lessons useful: 1) model after successful people, 2) see things from a glass half full perspective, and 3) make it a must to succeed = )