Lessons From My Mentors

As a personal finance blogger, I’ve gone through my fair share of financial advice books. Let’s face it: many of them can be quite dull. They’re filled with investment strategies and tax loopholes but often miss the human touch, making them feel like repetitive lectures rather than engaging lessons.

This is why I’ve turned to classic biographies and success stories for a change of pace. Reading about the lives of successful individuals offers not just financial wisdom but also invaluable life lessons. These stories act as mentorships, teaching us how to enrich our lives beyond our bank accounts.

Here’s a few lessons from my mentors.

  • Never Give Up – More than any other, one lesson stands out from the books I’ve read: Never give up. If you have a goal or a dream, pursue it. If there’s a cause that you truly believe in, then fight for it. That’s not to say that you should doggedly chase greed or gluttony, but that you should do your best to achieve those things that are important to you. Great people struggle through daunting obstacles to reach their destinations.
  • Be Accountable – There’s nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence. But when the indulgence becomes a habit — or worse, a vice — this can affect your life. Even destroy it. If you have habits that prevent you from fulfilling your potential, find a way to boost your self-control. You’ll never achieve anything worthwhile until you can be accountable to yourself and your dreams.
  • Live With Integrity – Have a code of honour and live by it. Your code of honour might come from your faith, or from your education, or from your family values. Whatever the source, live by these values. Life is filled with temptations. The more you accomplish, the more people will tempt you with offers for quick gains or passing pleasures. Don’t cheat. Be honest. Work hard. And do the right thing, even when nobody is looking.
  • Pay Yourself First – If you will set aside 10 – 20% of all that you earn, your fortune will grow far beyond that of your peers. When you save — when you pay yourself first — you are using the strength of your youth to insure your uncertain tomorrow. Many a man is poor today, although he has worked like a slave, simply because he did not save.
  • Health Is the Real Wealth – Your health is your greatest asset. If you lack health, you cannot work, and cannot produce an income. Health allows you to engage in productive activities, at work and at play. It allows you to enjoy the company of your friends and family. And it allows you to live with vigour. Guard your health. Do not neglect your body.
  • Envy Is The Enemy – It never pays to compare yourself to others. Focus only on yourself and how the things you own and do relate to your goals. Don’t be jealous of others. Instead of looking elsewhere for wealth, look at your own life.
  • Live Modestly – Just as you should not allow the behaviour of your friends to influence your spending decisions, so too be conscious of your influence on them. If you have money, don’t flaunt it. And if you don’t have money, don’t pretend that you do.
  • Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day – In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes that the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is 10,000 hours. That is, those who achieve mastery have patiently practiced their craft for at least 10,000 hours — the equivalent of five years of full-time work. Practice may not “make perfect”, but it certainly breeds success.
  • We All Have Something To Teach – One book I strongly recommend (especially considering the state of the economy) is Hard Times by Studs Terkel. Hard Times is an oral history of the Great Depression. Terkel interviewed scores of men and women about their experiences during the 1930s. Their stories are amazing, and they offer great insight about how we can live better lives today.
  • Embrace an Abundance Mindset – Believing in abundance means recognizing that there is enough for everyone and that your success does not have to come at someone else’s expense. This mindset encourages collaboration, empathy, and generosity. When you view life through an abundance lens, you focus on opportunities rather than limitations.
  • The Golden Rule – Last but certainly not least, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

By deeply understanding and applying these lessons, we can navigate both our financial and personal lives with greater wisdom, empathy, and success. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.

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