Of all of the self-made millionaire stories I encountered in my Rich Habits study, there was one that really stuck with me. What made this millionaire’s story so compelling was the anguish he described during his pursuit of success. At one long stage during his journey things were going very badly. He was on the verge of bankruptcy. All of the money he and others in his family had invested and all of the money he had borrowed was close to being depleted. During this very difficult stretch of time, 20 months, he told me he would have to force himself to get out of bed, shave, shower, dress, and drive to work. He felt like a zombie each day during this 20 month period. He wanted to run away and hide from everyone. He was severely depressed. He said he tried to avoid looking at himself in the mirror each morning because all he saw was a miserable failure. To avoid looking in the mirror, he shaved in the shower. Nonetheless, he kept at it very day. He never quit. He showed up every day.
Today, this individual is worth over $20 million. He has two magnificent homes. Both on the ocean. He travels frequently. Sometimes for months at a stretch. He’s happy. But interestingly, he says he looks back on that 20 month period fondly. It was during that period that he found the greatness within him. The anguish he encountered forced him to grow and get better. It also infused him with enormous confidence.
The pursuit of success is not easy. Growth and change is not easy. But it is necessary. You’ve got to show up every day, especially when it seems the world is conspiring against you. It is during those moments of great anguish, of great struggle that the butterfly eventually emerges from the cocoon.