Monday July 15th 2024

Old DR info


For reasons I’m about to explain, when I was in my early twenties I developed the habit of observing people who excel at what they do, because I wanted to learn their secret.

Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to encounter a great number of successful and wealthy individuals. Many of them I now consider as close friends or associates. They’ve taught me some valuable lessons.

But let me start from the beginning.

I was born into a typical working class family. My father was a lorry driver and my mother worked part-time at a Co-op grocers.

Nobody on either side of my family had ever gone to University so, although I achieved reasonably good exam results at age sixteen (‘O’ Levels), it never appealed or occurred to me to continue my formal education.
Many of the friends I had at the time were somewhat older than me, and were already at work and earning money, and I couldn’t wait to do the same.

My first job, from leaving school, was as a laboratory assistant in a large Pharmaceutical Company. It was a condition of employment that I attended night classes, as well as college for one day a week, in order to study for the ‘A’ Levels that I would have taken had I stayed in full time education.

It wasn’t for me.

It didn’t take long before I realised I was the wrong person in the wrong job.

But at the weekends I had a Saturday job, working on a mobile greengrocery van, and had been able to save enough money to fix up my father’s car. It was a very old Morris Ten which hadn’t been driven for several years because sadly my Dad couldn’t afford to run it.

Soon after my seventeenth birthday I passed my driving test and began driving to work. On the way, I often spotted my boss waiting at his bus stop, so I would stop to give him a lift.

That was when I knew for certain I was in the wrong job! If he was my boss, but unable to afford his own car, how was I ever going to become rich doing the same job as him?

Eventually I gave up my illustrious career as a laboratory assistant, much to the disappointment of my mother and father, and set out to earn my fortune as a commission only Vacuum Cleaner salesman…..which was the only sales job I could get at 18 years of age.

My First Car

Not really the best job in the world, but looking back now I realise it was to play a big part in teaching me the importance of overcoming inertia and fear.

But more of that later….

After about ten months of ‘cold calling’ and knocking on the doors of some of the biggest houses I’d ever seen (my knees were often knocking louder than I was!), one of my uncles got me a salaried job in the furniture department of a large Department Store.

At least the hours were more civilised and I was working indoors!

However, after about four years there, I again looked for a way to earn more money as although I enjoyed selling furniture, carpets and electrical goods; a career in retail was not particularly well paid.

By the time I reached my early twenties, I again became a ‘commission only’ salesman, this time selling Personal Accident Insurance. I’d been enticed by the promise that I could earn a big income.

But ‘commission only’ means if you don’t make any sales you don’t make any money. You only get paid on results.

During my first year in the job I sold quite a lot. My camera…my stereo…my car…!

Just kidding!

But in reality that’s not too far from the truth. I was certainly not making enough money to pay all the bills.

Gradually I discovered what it was like to be absolutely broke and falling deeper and deeper in debt.

This wouldn’t have been so serious but for the fact I was now married with a wife and baby son to support, with another baby on the way. We had bought a large house which, at the time, was considerably beyond what we could afford. Needless to say, I had taken on a big mortgage, having implied to the Building Society that I was earning more than I really was.

All this was a long time ago now, but I still vividly remember the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and the desperate feelings of panic as the debts mounted up.

Looking back I’ll be forever grateful to the person who was my manager at the time.

When I was at my lowest point he took the trouble to drive over a hundred miles from his home in order to sit down with me and help me sort out the mess I’d got myself in.

He didn’t give me money. He gave me something which turned out to be much more valuable. He gave me encouragement and good advice. He made me face up to my situation and work out exactly what condition my financial affairs were in.

Above all, he gave me the courage to start battling my way out of the serious amount of debt that I’d allowed to build up.

As a result of that meeting I became determined not to have to sell the house of which I was so proud, and that ‘if some people earn high incomes, so could I’.

The alternative would have been to throw in the towel and admit humiliating defeat.

The lessons I learned during that period of my life have since enabled me to achieve things which, at the time, would have been beyond my wildest dreams.

That’s when and why I became so eager to learn what it was that separated the winners in life from the ‘also-rans’.

W Clement Stone
One of my many meetings with W. Clement Stone
Amongst the people that have influenced me in my life was W.Clement Stone. He was the Founder and Chairman of the American owned Insurance Company I was working for. I met him many times. He was a passionate believer in the importance of positive thinking and was the co-author with Napoleon Hill of the book ‘Success through a Positive Mental Attitude’.

Previously Napoleon Hill had authored a book which is still regarded by many today as the greatest self-help book ever written. The book is entitled ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and has been responsible for thousands of its readers becoming multi-millionaires.

Certainly I know that I benefited enormously from being exposed to some of these success principles so early in my life. This is what has motivated me to share with you what I’ve learned.

Since those days, I have continually endeavoured to recognise the qualities, and the strategies of people who consistently demonstrate the ability to succeed.

The one thing that quickly became obvious is that, regardless of whether these ‘high-flyers’ chosen field is business, sports, the arts, or one of the professions…, the similarities between them are far greater than the differences. I recognised with stark and undeniable clarity that they all share several common traits. They employ and practice the same habits; they demonstrate many common qualities, and display remarkably similar attitudes.

As a result of my abiding interest about ‘what makes winners tick’ several years ago I began to document a list of the principles which I considered critical to getting the most out of myself – and eventually as a business executive, getting the best out of others also.

So I have gradually developed an account of what has evolved to become my own philosophy – unashamedly learned from scores of ‘high-flyers’ whose success I have admired and tried to emulate.

I’ll be forever grateful to all the individuals who have had a profound and lasting effect upon me.

I have a lifestyle that allows me to do pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want.

At the end of 2007 I decided to ease back from working full time. I have had a fulfilling, varied and long career, and have accumulated more wealth than I could have ever imagined possible when I was that young laboratory assistant!

Our children have grown up and left home and my wife and I are able to travel regularly and take long trips. We can also spend more time with our friends and family. We intend to continue enjoying life to the full.

Now please don’t think that I’m on some ‘ego trip’ trying to impress you. I simply want to establish my credentials. Frankly I’m not ‘super rich’ in the way that a Richard Branson or a Felix Dennis are, and I haven’t been invited to join the panel of ‘The Dragons Den’, but I have become wealthy and financially independent, and I can teach you to do likewise.

So how did I get from where I was, when I was totally broke, to where I am now? Free to do whatever I wish, live how I want to live, drive the cars I want to drive and travel to the places I want to see?

The Definition of Frustration!!! A more recent acquisition arrived just a few days after a mishap on the ski slopes!

And more important, as far as you are concerned, how can you do the same?


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