Most Self-Made Millionaires Started Out as Ugly Ducklings and Transformed Themselves into Swans

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In Hans Christian Anderersen’s classic The Ugly Duckling, a swan is born into a family of ducks. He is perceived by the other ducks on the farm as an ugly duckling. They tease and belittle the ugly duckling relentlessly. Wherever he goes on the farm, the ugly duckling encounters other animals who shun him for the same reason. Because he is made to feel like he does not fit in, he runs away from the farm. While sitting alongside another pond, he encounters a group of elegant white birds. The ugly duckling sees how beautiful they are and aspires to one day be as beautiful as them.

After a long, cold and lonely winter, the isolated ugly duckling, now fully grown, decides to swim out to the group of elegant white birds, hoping they will not shun him. To his great surprise they allow him to swim along with them, welcoming him into their flock.

One morning, while swimming along with his new friends he happens to catch a glimpse of his reflection in the water and realizes that he wasn’t a duck after all – he has grown to be the most beautiful swan in the pond.

Many are born Ugly Ducklings. When you surround yourself with others who make you feel bad about yourself, you will remain an ugly duckling. 

You can allow the circumstances you were born into control your life. Or, you can devote your life to changing your life circumstances. You can seek out others who make you feel good about yourself.

I’ve seen it in the stories of the hundreds of ugly ducklings in my study who went on to become self-made millionaires. These individuals, many of whom were born into poverty, found other swans who made them feel good about themselves and helped them see their inner swan.

Do not accept your circumstances in life. Take control of your life. Seek to be exceptional. Never stop growing, learning and improving. Surround yourself with other success-minded people, other swans. Inside each one of us is a beautiful swan waiting to burst forth.

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, Effort-Less Wealth, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, Rich Habits Poor Habits and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”

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1 Comment

  1. Khadija on December 14, 2023 at 9:12 AM

    I value these articles a great deal. Always checking my gmail for the next topic. This article has touched me on a personal level. Where it says ‘do not accept your circumstances in life. Take control of your life. Seek to be exceptional …’ has hit a chord with me.