What makes the difference between success and failure? Why do some people—those who may not even be smarter or as hard working as you—always seem to succeed while you’re stuck with your pockets turned out?
If you’re putting in the effort, but not getting the results you need, then maybe it’s time you start working smarter. You need a strategy for success that revolves around you, not around what other people are doing.
“There is no secret to amassing wealth,” said one millionaire. “The key to wealth is within your reach. But you must design your life or someone else will.” My research on black millionaires in my book, The Wealth Choice, has revealed many surprising secrets to me, and one of the most powerful of them is this: the black financial elite are extremely goal-oriented.
Madame CJ Walker started out just a step above slavery and it seemed like her fate was set in stone. Born a scant four years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Sarah Breedlove was the first of her siblings to be born free from slavery but the harsh conditions of sharecropping in Louisiana were only a small step up from a slaver’s chains.
Defying the conventions of the time, Sarah started selling her own pomades and hair perfumes to black women. With some smart marketing savvy—particularly for the 1800s—and a name change to Madame CJ Walker, Sarah built a beauty empire. In a span of six short years, Sarah had risen from earning $1.50 a day as a washwoman to becoming the first black millionaire in American history.
My story of course glosses over the extreme poverty and hardship that Madame CJ Walker endured, but through it all, she kept her eyes on the prize. And what a prize it turned out to be!
Once you decide to take your life in your own hands and focus on your own goals, there is no telling what you can achieve. It’s time to stop believing that your circumstances are what will make you successful. News flash: they’re not.
The average GPA of the modern black millionaire is between 2.9 and 3.4. These aren’t astoundingly high scores, but these people have done amazing things with their lives. Sarah Breedlove didn’t even finish grade school, but she accomplished far more than White women in her time. This is because they aren’t limited by what other people think of as worthy or acceptable; they defined their own success and live it every day.
If your goal is to make money, then you need to let go of the old assumptions that you aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or well-off enough to succeed. Those assumptions are only holding you back; to move forward you need only keep your goal fixed in your mind…and achieve it.