If you haven’t read George Clason’s seminal classic “The Richest Man in Bablyon”, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy or just look for the full text online. Originally Clason distributed his financial wisdom thru a series of informational pamphlets distributed by banks and insurance companies. But in 1926, the pamphlets were bound together and published in the book form we now hold as a classic of wealth building literature.
Clason’s valuable little book dispenses great financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. Through their experiences in business and managing household finance, the characters in the parables learn simple lessons of financial wisdom.
The story springs from the characters Bansir who is a chariot builder and Kobbi who is a musician. The two had become the best at their craft yet they had no money to show for it. They struggled in life and sometimes didn’t have food to put on the tables for their families.
Utterly disgusted with their situation, they went out to seek the advice of their childhood friend Arkad, who in contrast, had grown very rich and had amassed fortunes.
Now, much has been written about the nuggets of financial wisdom found in this book that Arkad passed onto Bansir and Kobbi. Indeed most summaries of Clason’s book focus on his 7 simple rules of money, described in the parables:
1. Start thy purse to fattening: save money.
2. Control thy expenditures: don’t spend more than you need.
3. Make thy gold multiply: invest wisely.
4. Guard thy treasures from loss: avoid investments that sound too good to be true.
5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment: own your home.
6. Ensure a future income: protect yourself with life insurance.
7. Improve thy ability to earn: strive to become wiser and more knowledgeable.
And while these 7 principles should be the bedrock of anybody’s plan to improve their finances, for me they are not the most important section of Clason’s book.
A little, if any, talked about section buried away on page 11 of the book…
As Bansir and Kobbi approached Arkad to gain his financial advice, they asked this question:
“You, Arkad, are more fortunate than we. You have become the richest man in all Babylon while we struggle for existence. You can wear the finest garments and you can enjoy the rarest foods, while we must be content if we can clothe our families in raiment that is presentable and feed them as best we can.
Yet, once we were equal. We studied under the same master. We played in the same games.
And in neither the studies nor the games did you outshine us. And in the years since, you have been no more an honorable citizen than we.
Nor have you worked harder or more faithfully, insofar as we can judge. Why, then, should a fickle fate single you out to enjoy all the good things of life and ignore us who are equally deserving?”
In a phrase, Bansir and Kobbi were saying this – “why not us?”.
Those are the three most powerful words that anyone can ever ask themselves regarding success. They are the genesis of enlightenment. Everything you always wanted to know about yourself can be learned by asking yourself these three little words – why not me?
Have you ever wondered why you read about other’s success stories instead of others reading about yours? That’s not a rhetorical question. I think you should ask yourself that question. Seriously. Right now. Why do you think you’re not a success story yet? Why not you?
Let me give you a minute to think about it.
We have all heard some variation of the question “Why you?”. It rarely takes such a direct and abrasive form, but ultimately the connotation is the same:
“Is that a realistic goal?”
“You’re just kidding, right?”
“You want to achieve what?”
“You don’t really think you have what it takes to be wealthy?”
Each variation is the same question that undermines your pursuits in life. Its brevity, sharpness, and pessimism make “Why you?” more of a statement than a question: you do not have a chance.
I do not think that people are inherently negative, hoping for others to fall short of their goals when they ask these types of questions; rather, I believe that most people project their own self-doubts and insecurities on those around them. If a person constantly questions their own abilities, how can they believe in the success of others?
Which brings me to the most damaging source of doubt for some people – themselves. For some, they are innately wired with crippling levels of self-doubt. Their own lack of confidence rarely has any logical base, but they constantly besiege their own progress with self-limiting thoughts. They flip the script and ask not “Why not me?”, but this dis-empowering question – “Why me?”.
So I’d like to propose a better question. For just a moment, consider replacing, “Why me?” with “Why NOT me?” Or to say it another way, “Who am I NOT to dream big?”
Really. Who are you to play small, stay in your comfort zone, and live a mediocre life? How does that help you or anyone around you? It doesn’t. There is no absolutely no benefit to the “Why Me’s?” or to the “Who Me’s?” questions.
Here’s my reply to those who ask “why me?” – Isn’t there some spark that’s kept you seeking something different than what you have right now? It’s not anyone else’s spark that’s seeking, is it? You’re reading this article right now for a reason.
And why now — what’s the big deal about now? Well, why not now? You have this moment — not yesterday, not tomorrow. This moment — how you choose to use it — is like a magnet drawing tomorrow into being.
So it’s time now to create your tomorrow with some new awareness — to find you, to be you, to live you! It’s your time to keep the promises you made to yourself.
Jim Rohn said this, “Why not you soaking up history in London or having lunch at one of those neat sidewalk cafes in Paris? Why not you to one day gaze directly at the Mona Lisa?” Why not you? Why not you to visit the Palace of Versailles? Why not you?”
The answer to those questions hold the key to a life of freedom. Indeed, it was Arkad’s answer to that very question that is the key hidden wealth-building message in “The Richest Man In Bablyon”:
“…I decided to myself that I would claim my share of the good things of life. I would not be one of those who stand afar off, enviously watching others enjoy. I would not be content to clothe myself in the cheapest raiment that looked respectable. I would not be satisfied with the lot of a poor man. On the contrary, I would make myself a guest at this banquet of good things.”
Will you make yourself a guest at the banquet of good things?
Why not you?
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
P.S. Why aren’t you wealthy yet? It’s because of something you don’t know. Otherwise you’d already be rich! Isn’t it time to learn what you don’t know? Consider signing-up for my newsletter below, to help you build wealth faster.
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