Maury Klein, in his book The Change Makers, grouped the twenty six (26) richest people who lived in the last century (as at the time he wrote) into five (5) categories based on their undertaking: investors, merchandisers, organizers, producers, and technologists. The current World’s Richest recently released by Forbes can be classified into the same broad groupings; a proof that the more things change the more they remain the same.
As I looked through the list of the World’s Richest, I thought of the lessons one can learn from the message on each of them. The key lessons are:
1. Service to many leads to greatness
Everyone on the list is meeting one human need or the other. There’s nothing like something for nothing. Our success is hinged on the number of people we meet their needs.
In writing this article, I made use of Microsoft Word. On a few occasions I had to search for one thing or the other using Google. Is it any wonder then that Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) and the duo of Sergey Brin and Larry Page (co-founders of Google) made the list?
Jesus said: “If you want to be great, look for ways to serve many people” (Matthew 20:26 paraphrased). What applies to spiritual things apply to wealth creation also.
2. Technology is the best leverage
The Business Dictionary defines leverage as the ability to influence a system, or an environment in a way that multiplies the outcome of one’s efforts without a corresponding increase in the consumption of resources. In effect, technology multiplies the result of human efforts through the efficient utilization of resources.
In serving many, World’s Richest rely on technology. Some make use of core plant and equipment (for production of tangible products) and others rely on information communication technology in delivering service to their customers.
While human beings are highly valuable in product / service delivery, human effort is limited when the objective is to serve many. You need technology to amplify your service.
3. Results of our actions go beyond us
Some people made the list by virtue of the accomplishment of the significant individuals in their life – parents and spouses. We act alone but the consequences of our actions go beyond us. This fact should make us do more than we would ordinarily do.
Our positive and focused actions have the potentials of liberating those coming behind us from poverty. The book of Proverbs says: “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (Proverbs 13”22). Let’s be good for the sake of our children.
4. Freedom is paramount
As always, United States citizens dominate the list. Love or hate the Americans, one thing we can’t take from them is freedom. Freedom has a lot to do with wealth creation; the reason why wealthy people are said to be financially free.
Freedom is a mindset (an attitude of the mind) that reflects on the outside. To be free is to be void of limiting beliefs. Free people believe they can do anything – a critical attitude for wealth creation. The pathway to wealth creation starts without freedom and goes through self-belief.
Jesus said to a man, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
5. Life is temporal
As I mentioned earlier, some people made the list on the strength of the successes of their parents and spouses. For this class of World’s Richest, those that created the wealth are no more.
It is desirable and, in fact, imperative that we make a success of our lives. However, we must not trust in riches because sooner than later we would leave our riches. It is therefore imperative that as we create wealth, we don’t lose sight of the life after now – where we go when we leave this earth.
Jesus came to set us free from the shackle of sin so that we can believe in Him and reap eternal life.
In I Corinthians 9:25, apostle Paul admonished us to be temperate in our approach to the affairs of life bearing in mind that, unlike others who get a crown that will not last, we will get a crown that will last forever.