The Most Important Lessons in my Life
The Success Margin
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Today I feel inspired to share some of the most
important lessons that have impacted my life.
Perhaps, dear reader, you too will find them
1. Words are absolutely crucial to human
existence. Reasons? We:
-- Think in words.
-- Feel in words. We place a word label on each
emotion. This description results in a feeling.
-- Communicate in words.
Our unique ability to use words to communicate
makes us different from all other living creatures.
2. Words can make you laugh. Cry. March for
peace. Go to war. Build a skyscraper. Start a
business. Or buy.
A few words can greatly impact you and even
change your life.
3. Words can persuade you to do what nothing
else can do as effectively--change your mind.
4. Mastering the use of words in written or oral
communications as a speaker, author,
entrepreneur or copywriter can provide you many
great benefits. These include fame, fortune and
5. Effective marketing and selling are the most
valuable and highly paid skills in the business
It's a tragedy that marketing and selling often
do not get the respect they deserve, thereby
discouraging many from pursuing these skills.
6. The most cost-effective way ever discovered
to sell any product is via direct marketing.
Any one or several media can be used to directly
reach and communicate with prospective
customers. These include direct mail, space
advertising, Internet, radio and television.
7. There is no wasted energy in the universe.
Make every move you make count and be worthy
8. Good health is the number one asset of every
To achieve radiant health, at minimum you must
exercise every day and sleep for 8 hours a day.
Your diet should be low in meat and heavy on
fresh and organic fruits, grains and vegetables, as
well as 8 glasses of pure water a day. Equally
important is the positive mental food you feed
9. Real happiness rests on balance between
(a) health; (b) career; (c) personal relationships;
and (d) money. When your life is out of balance,
happiness is not possible.
While money is not everything by any means,
unlike common beliefs it is extremely important.
Among other benefits, it can give you increased
choices and result in personal freedom.
10. The business world tends to bring out the
best in people.
No matter how irrational a person is in the rest
of their life, he/she must learn to exchange
(trade) value for value in order to succeed in
11. The three best ways to learn things are:
-- Great books-You are exposed to the
synthesis of the world's best minds.
-- Great seminars given by those rare
practitioners who practice what they preach.
-- Travel-Meeting and knowing people and
visiting new places in different cultures is an
12. Entrepreneurs are the unsung heroes of the
Small business owners, not giant corporations,
create nearly all personal wealth as well as 75%
of all new jobs.
13. Being a great parent is the toughest yet most
rewarding job there is.
If you want to become a better parent, it is never
too late to start making changes.
14. Retirement is highly overrated, and actually
dangerous for most people.
In many cases retirement leads to unhappiness,
alcoholism, divorce and premature death. Like a
muscle, the brain's ability to function
deteriorates from lack of use. It's far better for
most people to never fully retire and keep
working for pay or as a volunteer. A great semi-
retirement choice is to write a book.
I believe there is at least one great book in all
15. Contrary to common thought, a career as
someone else's employee is a far riskier life
choice than that of an entrepreneur.
As an employee you are subject to someone
else's judgment, mistakes and power to lay you
off at any time. As the owner of a business you
are in full control of your own destiny.
16. There is only one way you can manufacture
large sums of money legally.
Starting a successful business can become your
very own money factory.
17. A single good idea can earn you a never-
Plus, great business ideas are usually remarkably
18. In all aspects of life, the rarest yet most
important quality I look for in people is this:
Those who simply keep their word.
Employees, partners, clients and friends who do
what they say are priceless. I love and benefit
so much from relationships with people I can
To encourage others to keep their word, you must
set the example. People in my life also know from
experience that unless I am no longer living
they can count on my doing exactly what I say
100% of the time.
19. To succeed in a big way, identify what you
love most and find a way to build a business
20. Dare to be different.
Being a unique and one-of-a-kind person always
gives you an edge in any endeavor you choose.
21. When seeking superstar employees, hire
attitudes, not skills.
22. Taking risks is absolutely necessary to
succeed in life.
Take many small risks but make sure you can
afford them. Most risks will fail. However, the
ones that do succeed can be built upon and can
create great wealth for you that lasts a lifetime.
23. The way to wealth is via savings and thrift.
Ignore the foolish yet popular advice of those
who say you can borrow and spend your way to a
fortune. No one ever has. Or ever will.
24. Stop taking business advice from poor
people, as you will stay poor.
I became rich just as soon as I started listening to
25. All governments in the world by their nature
are seeking to expand their power.
Governments as well as career bureaucrats cannot
be trusted. Avoid them as much as possible. But
comply with their often ridiculous laws as best
I agree with Will Rogers, who said: "When
Congress is in session, no American is safe."
26. In building wealth, the currency decision is one
of the most important you'll ever make.
Yet, it's seldom discussed by financial experts or
anyone else. For safety of your hard-earned
money as well as diversity, keep your savings in
at least five stable currencies. Some good
choices might be the Swiss franc, English pound,
U.S. dollar, and Australian dollar.
Many of the world's wealthiest people currently
do not trust the declining U.S. dollar. These
include Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and George
Soros, who have invested most of their money in
27. Become financially literate.
While not taught in any school, you have a moral
obligation to yourself and your loved ones to
learn the basics of financial literacy. For my
views on this subject see the March 31, 2005
issue of The Success Margin at
28. To build lifetime value and loyalty from your
clients, it's really simple.
Astonish customers with value. My goal is to
provide at least 10 times the expected value of
any product or services I offer. That's the real
underlying reason why I have loyal clients, many
of whom have been with me since the day I
started in business.
29. Never buy an investment, including stocks or
real estate, that does not pay you passive income.
Passive income can be in the form of interest,
dividends, rent or royalties. Reinvesting passive
income is the real key to wealth. It produces a
compounding effect that accurately has been
called "The 8th Wonder of the World."
30. Invest as much money each year as you
possibly can in IRA's, 401K's, pension and profit
Not only is the investment in benefit plans tax
deductible. Passive income also accumulates tax
Plus, properly invested it cannot be touched by
anyone, including a tax authority or creditor, even
if your company goes bankrupt.
31. Honor the Internet. It is not only a great
communication, direct marketing and research
But it's contributing more and more toward
making the world a much freer place.
The most valuable power of the Web to human
freedom is largely unknown or very under-
Totalitarian dictatorships must have censorship in
order to function. The first thing dictators do is to
stop and control the free flow of information.
With the phenomenon of the Internet, it's
virtually impossible to keep invaluable
information available online out of the hands of
people who seek it. The fantastic power to
distribute information will advance the
cause of freedom more than anything I know.
32. The world's smartest people do not
necessarily provide the best answers. Instead,
they focus on asking the right questions. And so
33. Perhaps the most misunderstood word in any
language is selfishness, normally considered an
extremely negative trait.
To better understand this word in its role in
human affairs, it is crucially important to make
a distinction between negative and positive
Negative selfishness is when any person seeks to
have other sacrifice themselves for him or her.
This is, of course, negative.
Positive selfishness involves humans exchanging
equal values. This does not involve sacrifice on
The free world cannot function without positive
selfishness wherein people trade similar or equal
values with each other.
Capitalism is the only economic system which
rests upon positive selfishness.
The most influential and important writer in the
20th Century in my view is Ayn Rand.
All of her books, especially Atlas Shrugged and
The Fountainhead, have changed my life. I
believe they should be read by every person
seeking personal and economic freedom.
Hope you enjoyed these identifications and
conclusions drawn from my life's journey as
much as I've enjoyed sharing them with you.
P.S. Here is what successful copywriter and author
Bob Bly has to say about my latest book, How to
Turn Words Into Money:
"Ted Nicholas possesses two credentials that make
How to Turn Words Into Money an invaluable addition
to the literature on direct response and
"First, instead of just writing about it, Ted has
actually done it -- making millions of dollars as
a successful mail order entrepreneur.
"Second, he writes so well, his book his a pure
pleasure to read. You get not only the primary
lesson on making money in mail order, but a
second lesson (free) in the art of clear writing."
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