I recently started to get engaged with Clubhouse (CH), the UK’s fastest growing social networking platform. This is where I first got introduced to John Lee, who is a serial entrepreneur, making his money initially in the world of property. Lee and his business partner Vincent, have written a book on how smaller investors can benefit from the knowledge they have acquired in property investment over the years. I do not normally review books on investment, but this one caught my attention because it spoke more to the mindset needed for success.
I have been extremely impressed with some of the nuggets in this book, as they apply to all areas of life, and not just property investing. I work with several fintechs and individuals looking to drive innovation in their chosen industry, so thought some of the techniques for managing the growth psychology may help others looking to start-up, or scale-up.
Big Message/ Key Quotes:
- Behind every successful person is ONE key decision,, that when made resets the course of their life permanently, and normally for the better. In Lee’s case this was the decision to work for himself, leaving Framestore, and turning down a better paying role offered by a rival company, to start up his property company instead
- Two heads are better than one, mostly, when it comes to the world of business. When Lee met Vincent Wong, Wong was not entirely convinced, but there was enough room in the market for them to coexist. This clearly has proven not to be the case as both have partnered very effectively over the last two decades. They created Wealth Dragons through bringing their different experiences to the table, and were able to co-create something valuable, that is also accessible to the masses
- Personal and public authenticity is critical for overall mental well-being. Wong points out one of the key lessons that he picked up from being brought up in a traditional Chinese family. In traditional Chinese culture, saving face is deemed to be more important than being honest about where you really may be in life. “when I am broke, I tell people I am broke; when I am doing well, I love to share the good news. I believe excessive pride is dangerous. It’s dishonest and dysfunctional to put too much of a false show; I tried to tell the truth, with my head held high, at all times. Lies always lead to problems in the end”
- The relationship between wealth, that being monetary wealth and moral wealth, is a complicated topic. What Lee and Wong observe here is that there is an inter-play between acquisition of wealth and moral behaviour; by the way it does not necessarily follow that morally created wealth, leads to morally acceptable behaviour. One thing does hold true, which is each of us has an obligation to contribute beyond ourselves, for the sake of the greater good. That can only be achieved if you have your own oxygen mask on first, before you try and help others
- When it comes to looking at money and power it is a well-documented belief that power comes from having an abundance of wealth or money. The converse is true, in that most individuals have a latent power within them which if unleashed will result in monetary improvement. Lee and Wong believe that most people do not live up to their potential, and their goal in setting up Wealth Dragons, was to support such individuals in bringing forth their true ability. Again, the philosophy here is if individuals can enjoy financial freedom it frees up capacity for them to help others around them, hence undertaking their moral and societal duty
- Improving an individual’s BS (belief system), is based on the ability to tackle undesirable truths or myths. Some of the notable ones from the Wealth Dragon Way are as follows:
- People with the best grades get the best jobs. In reality self-education is the better mechanism to create and face off to better opportunities
- Save money for a rainy day. Another way of thinking about this, which is perhaps more desirable, is you need to invest money carefully so that there is enough for all days irrespective of the weather
- Money does not buy you happiness. Experience shows that this can be the case but arguably money is also a mechanism by which an individual can enrich their own life, and the lives of others
- Failing is bad. Here failing should be regarded more as a steppingstone on the path to success, as failing is also a very good indicator of the need for a recalibration
- Being frugal is virtuous. The undesirable truth is that frugality is in direct contradiction to the natural direction of the universe i.e. expansion. Most things are set up to expand, and if we do not accept the role of expansion and are working against it, this will be counter productive
- Work hard and you will get promoted and rewarded. When you work for someone else it largely does not matter how much effort you put in, as the return on your time investment will always be diminishing. Hence it is much better to work for yourself as soon as you can
- It is much better not to work longer hours to attain success, but to work smarter. Working smarter essentially means you can achieve far more by focusing on the things that will really move the needle on your venture, as opposed to trying to tackle your “To Do” list perfectly
- Wanting more is deemed to be greedy. This concept again is looked at unfavourably, as the authors believe the more you have, the more you are able to improve your life, and also positively impact the lives of others
- We are frequently told to contribute towards company pensions and private pensions to be comfortable in retirement. The undesirable truth is you need to build your own pension fund, i.e., your ability to create passive income instead of relying on pension schemes. As Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, pointed out in a recent CH room “this is the era of the creator”, when anyone with a talent for creating will prosper
- “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast will wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind “ – The Buddha. Be mindful of the people you hang around with, as eventually you become the company you keep. If you are looking to maintain a positive demeanour and make progress across all areas of your life, it is much better to hang out with “radiators” than it is to hang out with “drains”. Radiators being individuals that amplify your positivity and support your ideas, drains being people that quite literally, drain your energy through their criticism or negative talk
- Some parting thoughts from the authors highlight that any conversation with any individual who has enjoyed success will tell you that it’s always been more about the journey than the destination. In fact, there is no destination as goals evolve, and the process for achieving those goals will continually require the need to hit a refresh. It is also wise to accept this irrespective of how much experience you have under your belt, that you will not necessarily be successful in all endeavours… the key is to continue to pave the way for further success. For moments of doubt think back to the famous quote from Rocky Balboa …
“let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it in. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life . But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much can you take and keep moving forward. This is how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not to be pointing the fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that “
Why Read this book?
If you feel beat-down by events, the lockdown, work, or are experiencing stagnation in any aspect of life, this is a must-read book. A real, and practical set of principles from which any individual can develop a winning mindset. Lee and Wong are living proof of the method working, and it is amazing to see them both paying it forward in the form of The Wealth Dragon Way and the time John puts in on Clubhouse.