BOY | MAN [Aris’ Journey to Success]

It was the year 2006, Germany was hosting the world cup, Italy were champions that year. At the start of the championship, I remember being in the dormitory watching the opening ceremony as it unfolded with a couple of my closest friends. We were all excited about the world cup prophesying which teams were going to win and why, we also talked about how we were going to be done with university and be in attendance for the next world cup which was going to be hosted in South Africa, we would fly in on our private jets and would be leaving a life of luxury. We would all be partners in a conglomerate that would bring about a new era of entertainment to a generation of viewers that we felt were missing out on good TV. We were young, naive and life had not yet thrown its curve balls at us.

Fast forward to the present,  we never went to see the world cup or subsequent ones there after, we experienced a financial melt down due to cheap interest rates and irresponsible money lenders so that didn’t help our cause to owning our private jets, we are not partners in a conglomerate, we don’t even leave in the same country hence keeping in touch has been quite difficult even in today’s modern world where there is Skype and Whatsapp. The different challenges of life have seemingly dampened our appetite for great risk and reward. We are yet to achieve any of the goals we had thought we would have achieved by now, plus I think our goals differ greatly right now.

Looking back now, I see the importance of starting out early and having a realistic plan towards ultimate success. Today, although I am still chasing the dream, I am happy to settle down to a life of a decent mortgage and just being comfortable but Paul has never lost his enthusiasm or the verve we all once had. He is the one who stood the test of time and followed his passion. I am not surprised there have been tough times but he has managed to make it work. He is enthusiastic about his work because it is his passion, he lives and breathes his dreams.

In preparation for this post and me getting my shit together I asked Paul how he managed to accomplish all that he has and I will be sharing with you a few points I got from the discussion with him. I hope to implement some if not all in my life and at the end of the year hopefully, I will do a personal tally of where I am with what I had set out to achieve.

Paul’s Guide To Success

  1. Pay yourself first : When Paul first told me this: I thought to myself, how the hell do you do that? I mean the system we leave in is geared towards making you spend, companies want you to spend more apparently so that we could boost the economy back to financial health. You pay out your expenses before even thinking about saving. We pay mortgages, utilities, phone bills, credit card payments, etc. but Paul made me understand that he always paid himself first. He sees it as his right and any lack in doing so makes him feel like he is cheating himself. If he save’s 10% of what he earns for this month, the next month he will have 10% more than he did the previous month. This extra 10% is free to play with, he can invest it, spend it or keep it, tax free.
  2. Never stop learning: Paul has an insatiable appetite for books, when we were in university he was always reading, he became so good that he could read about 4 books in a month and by the end of the year he would have read 48 books. When I asked him why he read so many books and if it was to improve his vocabulary so he could win at scrabble or prove that he was a wordsmith like the famous rapper Eminem so that he could dominate the world of HipHop. He would often laugh and say no. Recently he let me know that the reason he read was so he could surround himself with smartest people out there and learn from them, go figure…  Basically his theory is that the closest he or I would ever get to meeting the real Warren Buffet, Robert Kiyosaki or Sydney Poitier was by reading their books and learning from them. Learning about their mistakes, struggles and what it is they have gone through to get to were they are. I was pleasantly surprised to see it from that point of view. To me, self help books always seemed a waste of time. They talked about a lot of things without really telling you anything. I also mentioned this to Paul, but he explained to me that it wasn’t about finding the tricks of the trade in those books but understanding the philosophy of the authors and their way of thinking, which is what makes them special and also putting those philosophies into practise. 
  3. Stick with it: The idea here is to find what you are good at, get undeniably better at it and persist. Do not be afraid to fail as that would only help you learn and get better. He strongly advised not to chase anything I was passionate about. This surprised me  because I strongly believe in working on things I am passionate about. I told him that was the only way I could stay motivated. He pointed out that I have been very passionate about past relationships, past projects and past new Jordans but all have either failed or were left hanging due to the fact that once things got tough, my passion was not strong enough to keep me going. By getting involved in something that I am good at will eventually get me passionate about it, therefore keeping me motivated to go on. 
  4. Try to be good at more than one thing: This basically means diversify or diversity and I am not talking about diversity in the workplace. I am talking about diversifying your skill set or income set. You need to have multiple areas where income is being generated, whether it be investments in stocks and shares or starting a business or businesses. Diversify your income, make it work hard for you.
  5. Feelings will fuck you up: This lines up with the above Stick With It but it is slightly different. One of the things Paul strongly stands by is to not allow his feelings get in the way of his rationality. For example, we might be feeling tired, we don’t want to go to the gym, we might be feeling we should have that last piece of strawberry cheesecake disregarding the bulge around the stomach area, we might even say I feel so down right now, I will leave my dreams for tomorrow, I will catch up. Paul says being able to push past his feelings and do what needs to be done has set on a path where he will always be the last man standing when we had all given up. He gives me a quote to ponder on, which I believe he got from one of the many books that he reads

“the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”

And I totally agree with him.




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