“There is nothing that belief plus a burning desire cannot make real.”
By applying the proven principles of preparation, competence, hard work, and sincerity devised by legendary motivational author Napoleon Hill, Lionel Sosa advanced from painting signs at $1.10 an hour to running the largest Hispanic ad agency in America. In this indispensable guide to prosperity, Sosa shares his inspiring story of achievement, as well as those of other respected members of the Latino community, including:
• Alberto Gonzales, who rose from humble roots in San Antonio and Houston to become the first Hispanic attorney general of the United States
• Linda Alvarado, who defied both racism and sexism to head the biggest construction company in America led by a woman
• Jeff Valdez and Bruce Barshop, the team that created SiTV, the first and only twenty-four-hour English-language cable channel aimed at Latinos
• Patricia Diaz Dennis, who triumphed over many obstacles and personal tragedy to serve as the first Latina chair of the Girl Scouts in the United States
In a clear and encouraging voice, Sosa reveals how Napoleon Hill’s positive, practical, and empowering ideas can help Latinos overcome self-esteem issues, thrive while embracing change, and map a clear-cut plan to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.02(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.64(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Five Minutes That Changed My Life The first time I heard about Think & Grow Rich, I was twenty-three years old. Married with two kids and another on the way, I was doing what I thought I should be doing—working like hell to earn a living. The year was 1963 and minimum wage was a dollar an hour. I was doing better than that: $1.10. I was okay with that. I had a desk job as a neon sign designer at a small shop called Texas Neon. Still, my weekly take-home pay after taxes and deductions was only $37.50, hardly enough to make ends meet. I worried every day and prayed, hoping one of the kids wouldn’t get sick. How would I pay the doctor?
One day, I got lucky. A woman by the name of Sally Pond came into the shop and asked us to design a small sign for her office building. She wanted it to read, “The School of Personal Achievement.” As she explained her business, my ears perked up. She promised that anyone who took the course and followed the teachings of Napoleon Hill and his seventeen principles of personal achievement would get rich. Every bit as rich as he or she wanted.
Napoleon Hill? Who was that? Was he French? Was he related to Bonaparte? Was he dead?
“No,” she said. “This man is alive, living in Chicago. And as far as I’m concerned, he’s more important than Napoleon Bonaparte. This Napoleon will make you a millionaire.”
In about five minutes, Sally Pond signed me up. And in those five minutes, my life changed. Not only did I get a chance to design her sign, I got a chance to design my life, and to acquire the knowledge I would need to lead a happy life and earn millions. I borrowed the money to pay for the course, joining fifteen other would-be millionaires at the Napoleon Hill School of Personal Achievement. Those seventeen weeks in class changed my life forever.
Hill’s mantra was: “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.” I believed every word. After all, his philosophy was not just one man’s opinion. It was the shared wis- dom distilled from the minds of hundreds of the most successful people in the world. Napoleon Hill had spent more than twenty years compiling this treasure. He had spent hours, days, and weeks interviewing presidents, heads of state, inventors, and captains of industry. His work was a gold mine of information and success secrets.
My eyes were as wide as baseballs. The excitement inside me was huge. Imagine. I could be rich! I could be happy! I could make important contributions to society by learning and applying Hill’s seventeen principles of personal achievement! Even before the first day of class, something inside me began to change. For the first time in my life, instead of worrying, I was thinking positively about the future.
The course was taught in seventeen installments. Every Monday, we would report promptly at 5 pm, and each week we were introduced to a new lesson. With each lesson, we learned a new principle. During the first twenty minutes of instruction, we were shown a 16-mm movie of Mr. Hill giving an overview of the lesson of the week. Week one: Definiteness of Purpose. Week two: The Mastermind Alliance. And so on. Class discussion was encouraged, and the conversations were spirited. We had workbooks to fill out and homework to do. Sally invited successful people to guest lecture and tell their stories of how their dreams had come true by applying Hill’s principles. Many of the students became good friends, though we didn’t socialize much after class. We tended to rush home to do our homework and get ready for the following week.
Had I been older and more experienced, I might have been skeptical of the whole philosophy. I might have questioned some of it as being too simple, such as the idea that you can achieve whatever your mind believes you can achieve. I might have questioned some of the instruction as being too offbeat, such as the concept of autosuggestion, the idea that you can talk yourself into believing anything, good or bad. Being young and naïve can be a great asset. For me, it was a blessing. I didn’t question anything. My mind was open. I drank it all in.
Whatever your age, experience, or level of maturity, pretend you’re a kid again as you read this book. Keep an open mind. Don’t come on this journey carrying the baggage of cynicism and doubt. Understand that baggage of this sort is the by-product of experience and rationalism—behaviors we learn as adults. This baggage is too heavy to take on our trip to success and riches. Lose it.
Also, soak up all seventeen principles. You may not master them all. That’s okay. Several of the people I interviewed for this book (many of whom are disciples of Napoleon Hill and Think & Grow Rich) tell me that they apply no more than a handful of these principles each day. But they do apply them each day. That’s what’s important. Looking back, I realize that I have mastered only four of them. Yet, those four were so powerful, they were all that I needed and exactly what I needed. Later in the book, I’ll tell you which four I mastered and how they continue to work for me.
Latinos and Success
Perhaps you’re reading this book because you are Latino or Hispanic. Perhaps you are simply curious about the almost fifty million of us who reside in the United States and Puerto Rico. Maybe you want insights into the one billion of us who inhabit the continents known as the Americas. Did you know that the Americas are two-thirds Latino?
Note that I use Latino and Hispanic interchangeably. Personally, I prefer “Latino.” I agree with the comedian George Lopez, who shies away from the term “Hispanic” because it has the word panic in it.
Why do Latinos need their own version of Think & Grow Rich, a book that has been around since the 1930s and has helped turn tens of thousands of ordinary people into leaders and millionaires? Italians didn’t get their own version. Jews didn’t. Why Latinos?
Good question. Two reasons:
1.No group of people is better prepared to take advantage of Think & Grow Rich than Latinos.
2.On the other hand, no group of people is more poorly prepared to take advantage of Think & Grow Rich than Latinos.
Sound crazy? It’s really not. Let me explain.
Latinos in the United States have a lot to be proud of. We are the largest minority population in the nation. That makes us big and powerful. We’ve come a long way since the days when restaurants would hang signs that read, “No Mexicans or Dogs Allowed.”
Today, there’s plenty of good news: Hispanic income is at an all-time high. So is our buying power, and also our home- ownership levels. Our entrepreneurial spirit is legend. Every year, Latinos start more small businesses than any other group of Americans. We have the political power that has helped elect two presidents. Latinos are big in popular culture, music, entertainment, and the arts. Many Anglos aspire to be Latino. It’s wonderful!
Some of the news is not, however. Our high school- and college-completion rates are the lowest of any ethnic group. We earn less money per capita than non-Latinos. Few of us are represented on corporate boards or in top management. Our immigration woes still get national attention.
Professor Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard University wrote a book titled Who Are We? In it, he depicts Latinos as a menace to all that America has achieved and represents. He disagrees with my position that the Americano Dream is for everyone to share and says so in his book. “[Sosa] is wrong,” he says. “There is no Americano Dream. There is only an American Dream created by an Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English.”
Who says Mexican Americans don’t dream in English? We dream in two languages, and English is one of them. It is Dr. Huntington who is wrong. Dead wrong. Latinos are attracted to America for the same reason every other immigrant has ever been: for the opportunity to make it big, based on our own talent, heart, hard work, and initiative.
For all the press we get, good and bad, very little is known about who we really are. Truth is, we know precious little about ourselves. How many of us know that Hispanics settled in North America seventy-eight years before the Pilgrims ever landed at Plymouth Rock? Or that Spain and its territories such as Mexico and Cuba, in large part, financed the American Revolution? Or that Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Cubans, and other Latinos together have earned more congressional medals of honor to date defending our country? How many Americans can name a dozen of the fifteen hundred cities and four states in the United States with Spanish names? We know the city of San Franciso by its Spanish name. Otherwise, we’d call it St. Francis. The same is true for the state of Nevada. In English, it would be called Snowfall. Hispanics named those cities and states because we were in North America before the British. Spanish-speaking Americans comprise the third-largest Spanish-speaking “country,” right behind Mexico and Spain.
That’s just the beginning. What’s more important is who we are now, how we think, and how our success will impact this America.
The Latino Experience
Let’s get down to business. Just who are Latinos? For starters, we are a complicated group—an amalgamation of people from twenty-five countries throughout Mexico, South and Central America, and the Caribbean, as well as Spain, and Portugal. As we grow and become part of the mainstream, we become more complicated, more difficult to understand.
Some gringos (I use the term affectionately) think we are aliens. To many Latin Americans, we are some sort of gringo hybrid who has forsaken the mother country. Other minorities in the United States are easier to understand, perhaps because they share a common experience, and often a common injury. For Jewish Americans, it is the Holocaust. African Americans get their sense of identity and unity from slavery. Even non-minorities have their symbols: Texans have the Alamo, Southerners have Appomattox.
What do Latinos have? As Cantinflas, the Mexican comedian, used to say, “Allí está el detalle.” Loosely translated, this is a hedge that really means “who knows?” Our story is hard to define. Our injury is not apparent. Yet it must be there. Why else would we be labeled a minority even in cities like San Antonio where we have always been a majority? Why else would we have higher levels of poverty and lower levels of achievement?
The experts all have answers. Some say the situation is caused by the steady wave of new immigrants who enter this country poor and undereducated. Others say Latinos are inhibited by lower expectations of themselves and of their children that stem from their history and culture. Still others dismiss us as simple optimists who measure success differently. Roberto Suro, in his book Strangers Among Us, believes that whereas we may see ourselves as being respectful, American society sees us as being subservient. Raul Yzaguirre, founder of the National Council of La Raza, believes that the “system” works against Latinos and that prejudice and lack of adequate government funding is to blame.
Maybe they are all right. But there’s something else that impacts our low economic status. My own research of the last twenty years indicates it may have to do with a lack of self-identity. And thus a lack of self-confidence. Did the conquest of the Indian by the Spaniards and Portuguese leave an imprint that makes us feel less worthy today? To explore this issue, we must peel back the onion. One layer at a time. Even if it hurts.
Noted theologian Father Virgilio Elizondo often makes this observation in his writings:
We are the mestizaje or “mixture” of the Spanish and the indigenous native of the Americas. As such, we were both the welcomers and the welcomed. We were both the explored and the explorers. We were both the settlers and the settled. We were both the conquered and the conquerors. We were both the victims and the victimizers. We are the mother and the father as well as the children of this land we call the USA.
And because our origin is so new—500 years, compared to Europe’s 48,000 years—we were here to witness and record our own conception, as well as our own birth.
Pretty heady stuff, huh? Father Virgil is a genius (you’ll find his story in the final chapter of this book). Examining his insights, two big things jump out at me:
1.We share a uniquely Latino injury, the conquest. It produced an unconscious macho/servant dichotomy. We can be as tough as a conqueror one minute and meek as a slave the next. In public, many of us put on our subservient hats. At home, the macho steel helmet.
2.We share a uniquely Latino characteristic. Our quiet but relentless energy and optimism arose from the need to survive in the face of recurring oppression.
Now let’s see how we can make these observations work for us in terms of thinking and growing rich.
Making Think & Grow Rich Work for You
The cultural baggage derived from our roots subtly influences our successes and failures. Our roots make us who we are. They determine our core values. These values dictate our beliefs, and our beliefs drive our behavior.
Are you carrying negative cultural baggage on your journey to riches? Are you carrying some you are unaware of?
To make Think & Grow Rich work for you as a Latino, first understand what makes us tick:
1.our unconscious servant/macho psyche
2.our relentless energy and optimism
3.our values compared to Anglo values
Let’s explore these points, one at a time.
1. Our Unconscious Servant/Macho Psyche
Many Latinos get upset when I bring up the concept of “unconscious servitude” (although they don’t seem to mind the “macho” part as much). They assume I’m putting down our value system. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love our conservative core values. I believe them. I embrace them. But I always press on.
“Okay, tell me something. What did your parents teach you to say when an adult called your name?”
“What does ‘mande usted’ mean?” I ask.
“It means, ‘Yes?’ It’s an acknowledgement.”
“Come on, what does it really mean? Think!”
“It means, ‘Huh?’ Only much more respectful.”
“Think,” I urge.
I spell it out. M-A-N-D-E—M-E.
“Command me? Order me?”
Have you ever heard an Anglo parent calling out to a child and the child responding, “Order me?” Of course not. Yet we Latinos say it every day. Gladly. Thinking we’re being respectful. Kids respond to their elders that way. Workers to their bosses. Maids to the ladies of the house. It’s so engrained, that even after we realize what we’re saying, many of us keep right on saying it.
Other examples of this phenomenon:
A sus órdenes, “At your command.”
Para servirle, “Here to serve you.”
Con su permiso, “With your permission.”
Como usted mande, “As you command.”
Por nada, “For nothing,” after Gracias or “Thank you.”
In Mexico, we’re being respectful. In the United States, we’re being subservient. That’s unconscious servitude! There’s no disgrace in being polite and service-oriented. In fact, it’s good for business. However, as Latinos, we must be very aware of the fine line be- tween being service conscious and having a subservient consciousness.
Note that the Mande usted phenomenon applies to Mexico, Central America, and the northern cone of South America—that is, where the mixing of the races occurred after the conquest. It is not a term used in all of Latin America.
2. Our Relentless Energy and Optimism
In most of Latin America, the average Joe (José) and Josefina get their feet cut out from under them every time they’re about to get ahead of the game. Frequent and major monetary devaluations are common. From one day to the next, their money can become virtually worthless. Devaluations usually happen when governments are being handed over from one administration to the next. People lose their savings, their homes, and their futures.
What do they do? They start over. Tenemos que seguir adelante, “We must continue forward,” they sigh. And they do move forward. Their faith in God and love of family keeps their hopes alive.
That’s relentless energy and optimism! It’s in every one of us. And we can make it pay off when we understand the principles of Think & Grow Rich.
3. Our Values Compared to Anglo American Values
It’s important that we are aware of these values, where they diverge, where they converge, and the roots that drive them. Latino values are based on Catholicism, Spanish colonialism, and respect for authority. It is a culture of interdependence and of personal responsibility that focuses on family closeness.
•family helps family
•total faith in God
•respect for authority
•God loves the poor
•I accept life’s problems
•small success is good
•whatever God wants
•I hope someday . . .
The Anglo American culture is quite different. It is based on the formation of a new free and independent nation where “all men are created equal.” Individuality and freedom of expression are huge. Anglo American values are rooted in Puritan, Protestant, and Calvinistic philosophies that promote the idea that those who are born rich, or have made themselves rich, are especially blessed. And because they are blessed, they have a responsibility to the greater society.
•helping self helps family
•faith in self and in God
•paying your dues
•What’s new? What’s next?
•toot your own horn
•God loves the rich, too
•I solve life’s problems
•big success is better
•what I want
•I will achieve
These core values are almost taken for granted country by country. And while they are not written in stone anywhere, they quietly and deeply influence the beliefs and behavior of the citizenry.
When you put the Latino values and the Anglo American values side by side, an amazing thing happens. A tension is created by the bipolar natures of the two sets of value systems. The following chart illustrates this.
Latino ValuesAnglo Values
Based on Catholicism,Based on Puritan, Protestant, Spanish colonialism, andand Calvinistic thinking of respect for traditiona new and free America
Family FirstMe First
Family Helps FamilyHelping Self Helps Family
Faith in GodFaith in self and in God
Work HardWork Smart
SacrificePay Your Dues
StabilityWhat’s New? What’s Next?
Respect for AuthorityChallenge Authority
ModestyToot Your Horn
God Loves the PoorGod Loves the Rich, Too
I Accept Life’s ProblemsI Solve Life’s Problems
Small Success is GoodBig Success is Better
Whatever God WantsWhat I Want, Too!
I Hope to AchieveI Believe I Will Achieve
SacrificioTo a Point
SufrimientoAvoid At All Costs
SudorOkay, But Not Forever
RespetoEarn It First
“Lo Que Dios Quiera”“The Sky is the Limit”
Look at the bottom section of the chart. The words on the left in Spanish are very familiar to Latinos. They are: Shame, Sacrifice, Suffering, Sweat. These words are baggage. We use them often—especially vergüenza, which means shame. We use it so often, in fact, that we don’t hear it—only a person learning Spanish can pick it up, particularly if they’re overhearing a conversation.
My wife Kathy has a little story about that. She is an Anglo girl from Alabama and came to San Antonio when she was fifteen. She’d never seen a Mexican before. She became fascinated with the accent and dark skin and hung around Mexican families a lot. When she visited a friend’s home, the family’s conversation turned to Spanish. Kathy was trying to understand what they were saying and asked her friend, “What is this word? Everybody keeps saying it—Qué vergüenza! No tiene vergüenza! Sin vergüenza!”
I almost fell over when Kathy first told me this story. “Oh, my God, shame is a bigger part of our lives than I thought!”
Could it be that a needless feeling of shame was drummed into the heads of our ancestors by their conquerors five hundred years ago? Could it be that even the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans inculcated the feeling in the minds of their slaves to keep them subservient? Sounds plausible. The amazing thing is that these thoughts and feelings are still with us five hundred years later. We were taught a new language. A new religion. And a new way to act. Mande usted.
Now you know all the baggage.
Lose it for good.
You are ready to think and grow rich!
Definiteness of Purpose —Charles Patrick Garcia—
If you have read the foreword, you know this book is based on the work of my hero, Napoleon Hill, who spent his entire life learning the ways of some of the world’s most successful people. He then took the wisdom he collected and distilled it into seventeen clearly defined principles for success. His findings have proven to be so accurate and practical that today Think & Grow Rich and Napoleon Hill’s Law to Success continue to be among the world’s bestselling motivational books.
Why? Because they are as relevant today as they were the day he introduced them. Tens of thousands of people have adapted these principles, put them to work, and achieved success beyond their dreams. If you want to achieve success, this book will show you how.
Once Napoleon Hill identified the seventeen principles of personal achievement, he put them in order of importance. Heading the list was “definiteness of purpose,” and for good reason. After years of interviewing the super-successful, he discovered that they all built their fortunes based on this common characteristic: They had a definite purpose.
The Advantages of Definiteness of Purpose
All seventeen principles are important, to be sure. But make no mistake, you won’t get to first base without having a definite major purpose. A definite purpose is more than a strong wish. It is a clear, definite goal fueled by great passion. Definiteness of purpose focuses all your energy on making your goal your reality. It makes you believe. When you believe, you forget your doubts and fears. Pessimistic thoughts vanish and optimistic thoughts become habit.
Lo que Dios quiera is not a definite purpose. Neither is Como lo quiera Dios. “I want to be happy” is not a definite purpose. Those are wishes. Do not confuse wishes with real purpose and real goals. That would be like trying to build a cathedral with only a sketch on a napkin as your guide. Your contractors would make so many mistakes and adjustments trying to interpret your sketch that you could never be sure of the result. Your cathedral might get built, but probably not the way you wanted it.
How to Find Your Purpose
How do you find your definite purpose? Is it difficult? Does it come easy? How do you know when you have found it? Let’s look at a Hispanic success story that inspires and motivates.
Charles Patrick Garcia is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, A Message From Garcia: Yes, You Can Succeed. If you have never heard of this man, keep your ears and eyes open.
In the mid-1990s, he founded a financial services company in an empty broom closet. Number of employees: three. As I write this chapter in the summer of 2004, his Florida-based Sterling Financial Investment Group has sixty offices in seven countries and some four hundred employees. His company, with a large Latino customer base, provides research, trading counseling, investment banking, and wealth management.
The journey that brought him to this lofty destination was full of unexpected twists and turns. Garcia was born and raised in Panama. He came to the United States in 1979 to enroll in the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served as a highly decorated military officer in Central America in the 1980s. He earned a master’s degree in public administration. He was a White House Fellow and attended Columbia law school. All while in his twenties.
Here’s where his story takes an unusual turn. In 1994, having just graduated from law school, he had a promising future. He had been offered a clerkship for a federal judge in Florida. His bags were packed. He was ready to move with his wife and two-month-old daughter from New York to Miami. At midnight Charles Garcia changed his mind.
Don’t misunderstand. He knew he could be a good lawyer. Even a great one. His success in law school had proven that. But something didn’t sit right. He just wasn’t feeling passionate about a career in law.
Listen to Your Gut and Be Alert to Opportunity
Charles began listening to his gut. He knew he wanted something else, but didn’t yet know exactly what. Maybe that’s what you’re feeling as you read this book. If so, do what Charles did. He took an aptitude test. One called the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test. It showed a natural bent for leadership and entrepreneurial pursuits, not law. This idea excited him. It stirred passion and desire in his heart. Ganas, as the great educator Jaime Escalante prefers to call it.
“I could have been a good lawyer,” Garcia explains, “but ‘good’ wasn’t good enough. To truly succeed you must follow your heart. You can earn a living, even a good one, doing what’s expected. But you can’t gain great wealth without having a deep, burning passion. Without true definiteness of purpose.”
The choice became clear. His own passion would drive him, not the expectations of others. So Garcia went into business instead of law. When he shared his decision with his family, his father-in-law Seymour Holtzman made a suggestion—that Garcia apprentice with him for a few years to gain some hands-on experience. Holtzman was a brilliant, self-made businessman who had built and operated a number of successful companies. Garcia knew he must seize this opportunity. Holtzman became his mentor.
Get Good Advice, Find Good Mentors
“My father was the first to introduce me to the concept of mentoring,” Garcia writes in his book. Charles’s father’s mentor had been Dr. Charles Huffnagel, a top heart surgeon who treated presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. “Mentoring is a good way to find out if a career is as glamorous up close as it is from afar was the lesson learned.” Charles continues, “Mentoring gives you a firsthand look into the field that excites you. It helps you see the good, the bad, and the ugly up close. It helps you separate the dream from the reality. It gives you a chance to evaluate your choice.”
Aside from his father-in-law, another of Charles’s mentors was General John Galvin, a four-star general who later became NATO supreme allied commander. “One of the biggest lessons I learned from General Galvin was to always think of at least three solutions for every problem, and then choose one over the other two,” remarks Garcia. “That way, you can be sure you’re not grasping at the first solution that comes to mind.”
You can use that bit of advice in choosing your definite purpose. Don’t pick the first idea that pops into your head that seems exciting. Think of at least another two paths you can take and be passionate about. Evaluate the plusses and minuses of each one. Only then should you choose one over the other.
Another of Charles Garcia’s mentors was John C. Whitehead, former Goldman Sachs CEO. Garcia worked for him while serving as a White House Fellow. Whitehead influenced his decision to go into financial services, and when Garcia founded Sterling Financial in 1997, he put into practice what he learned from Whitehead. Something called the “culture of success,” a set of philosophical principles that had taken Goldman Sachs to the top of the Wall Street ladder.
William Bennett, President George H. W. Bush’s “Drug Czar” and bestselling author was still another mentor.
“From Bill Bennett I learned the value of getting out from behind the desk and getting my hands dirty,” says Garcia. “I learned the importance of setting high goals without fear of the repercussions. I even learned the importance of balancing work with play. My colleagues and I played many spirited games of touch football with him.”
So what does all this mean to you? In deciding on your definite purpose, take the time to seek out a mentor. Or two or three. Work as closely as you can with him or her. Don’t wait for someone to come to you. Go out and find one. You’ll be amazed at how willing they can be to help you define your definite purpose.
The Power of the Subconscious
Garcia believes that reading stories about people who believed and achieved can provide a life-altering dose of inspiration. Indeed, his book, A Message From Garcia, includes a tapestry of such anecdotes that illustrate his success beliefs and success principles.
“When you read about men and women who succeeded against all odds, or who made amazing strides and advances, it gives you hope,” he says. “You think, ‘If he can do it, or if she can do it, why not me?’ And it’s true. It’s our subconscious mind at work. We all have that incredible inner resource at our disposal. To fail to access it out of laziness or apathy or fear is shameful.”
I asked Garcia if he could give me several examples of people whose stories might prove motivational to Latinos.
“I have three examples,” Garcia replied. “First, a Latino who has achieved greatness. Second, a successful immigrant. Third, a non-Hispanic with our hopes and dreams with a strategy that any Latino can model.”
Putting Definiteness of Purpose to Work
Wenceslao Casares is a shining example of bold thinking and definiteness of purpose. He was born to a family of sheep ranchers in Patagonia, Argentina. At age twenty, he had dropped out of college to pursue his entrepreneurial dream, to found a personal finance website.
He was working as a bellboy in Argentina when he began looking for money to finance his new company. Raising the capital for such a radical and unproven idea like an online brokerage firm was a big challenge in those days. The Internet was in its infancy and nobody could be sure whether the concept would ever be successful.
Tough as it was, he and his partner Constancio Larguia persevered. They never wavered. They never backed down. They never gave up. They believed in their idea with all their might. They stayed the course no matter how bleak things looked. It took the partners a year to raise the one million dollars they needed to get started. They were ready to prove their concept was sound.
Their definiteness of purpose paid off. By early 2000, at the age of twenty-six, Casares and his partner sold 75 percent of the business to Banco Santander of Spain for an estimated $580 million!
Casares had a technique. Beginning at age seventeen, he would sit down every year and ask himself: “If I knew I couldn’t fail, what goal would I set?” He would fantasize. Visualize. Dramatize. Anything was possible. Why? Because he did all this with the idea that he couldn’t fail!
His next step was to carefully commit his dreams and goals to paper. This made them seem more real than ever. He went a little further, plotting on paper the steps needed to achieve his dream. He reviewed his plan frequently, and each year in January he would repeat the exercise.
One of his early dreams as a young boy was to buy a sailboat and sail around the world. He kept focused on this goal, and on May 18, 2004, he left a marina in Miami, to journey around the world on his forty-four-foot-long catamaran.
Creating a Plan
On the back cover of Garcia’s book is an endorsement from Arnold Schwarzenegger. It reads in part: “America is the land of opportunity. I came to this country with empty pockets, a head filled with dreams and a desire to succeed. I tell young people all the time that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything.”
If the American Dream is about creating your own destiny, Schwarzenegger is the perfect example. He had a plan. Every amazing goal he has set for himself, he has attained through definiteness of purpose. Born in 1947 in Austria, he got his start as a champion bodybuilder by working out in conditions so cold that his hands froze to the weights. He had a goal: to be the greatest and most famous bodybuilder ever. He won numerous awards and was crowned Mr. Universe a record five times! He promoted his feat with the movie, the cult classic, Pumping Iron.