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 meaningful.

  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 immortality.
  5. Effective marketing and selling are the most valuable and highly paid skills in the business world.

    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 of you.

  8. Good health is the number one asset of every human being.

    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 yourself.

  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 business.

  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 irreplaceable education.

  12. Entrepreneurs are the unsung heroes of the world.

    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 humans.

  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-ending fortune.

    Plus, great business ideas are usually remarkably simple.

  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 count on.

    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 around it.
  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 wealthy people.

  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 you can.

    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 non-U.S. currencies.

  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 sharing plans.

    Not only is the investment in benefit plans tax deductible. Passive income also accumulates tax free.

    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 vehicle.

    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-appreciated.

    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 should you.
  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 selfishness.

    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 anyone’s part.

    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.

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

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 information marketing.

“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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