Advice from the World's Most Successful People
Billionaires around the world have a lot of advice to give to young, ambitious workers. Luckily for us, they're also very willing to share that advice. Here's a collection of some of the best that they've offered, from some of the most successful, and most wealthy, people in the world.
One of the most common pieces of advice given by the wealthiest people in the world should also be one of the most obvious: start early. Carlos Slim Helú founded the business conglomerate Grupo Carso in 1990 and was the richest person in the world from 2010 to 2013. With a net worth of about $50 billion, he's a guy worth listening to. In a letter from 1994 that he sent to students, he wrote, "Work well done is not only a responsibility to yourselves and society; it is also an emotional need." Besides acknowledging the basic advantage of starting early, which he did by buying shares of a Mexican bank when he was twelve, he frequently talks about success in spiritual terms. "Success," he wrote, "is the harmony between the soul and your emotions."
Living with Discipline
Another seemingly obvious piece of advice but one that's incredibly difficult to follow is to discipline yourself. Especially in the early stages of wealth building, the keys are to spend less and save more. As much as possible. More than you think is possible. Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, wrote, "Save your money. Save as much money as you possibly can. Every penny you can. Instead of coffee, drink water. Instead of going to McDonald's, eat mac and cheese." Strict budgeting and unpleasant money-saving lifestyle choices are the difference between a money-conscious spender and a person passionate for success. Cuban also said, "Cut up your credit cards. If you use a credit card, you don't want to be rich."
Ouch. That's harsh, but even long-time billionaires maintain the need for financial discipline. Warren Buffett, for example, still lives in the same Omaha, Nebraska house he bought in 1957.
No-brainer, yes, but sometimes it helps to hear it from someone for whom it's actually worked spectacularly, rather than that high school teacher or college advisor. Elon Musk is one billionaire who, we can safely say, is genuinely interested in saving the world (in addition to building huge personal wealth). In a commencement speech in 2014, he said, "If someone else is working 50 hours and you're working 100, you'll get twice as much done." Not only does this prove unequivocally that he is good at math, but it puts simply the most obvious advice for success. Working harder will get you farther. Opportunities are an important part of many billionaires' success stories, but working hard is the soil from which their money trees grow.
Author Justine Musk gives us another, less talked about angle on the hard work principle: take care of yourself. She wrote, "It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. …Make it a point to get into the best shape possible. There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp."
Passion and Creativity
These are aspects of business and financial success that are more difficult to pin down and, consequently, more interesting to explore. The adage goes something like, "Do what you love and you'll never work a day." Doing what you love is certainly important for achieving the drive and perseverance necessary for grand success, but no one's being truthful who says there's no "work" involved.
Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager), was the son of a brewer and one of the leaders of the craft beer craze. He loves what he does but holds no romantic ideas about never working a day. He said, "Pursue something you love, because a small business is going to be very demanding of your time, your energy — it just eats your life. And if you're doing something you love, then you will accept and even enjoy that." It eats your life—that's a graphic image. But his advice is more realistic: you'll enjoy the insane commitment and you'll accept the immense work involved because you love the process and you'll love the result. He continues, "If you're just doing it to get rich, you're gonna lose heart. I tell everyone, getting rich is life's biggest booby trap." The takeaway: "Do what makes you happy."
J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, knows the value of this and its connection to creativity. "Imagination is not only . . . the fount of all invention and innovation," she said in a 2008 commencement address at Harvard University. "In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared." The once-billionaire author has demonstrated the enormous potential value of imagination in its purest form: fiction. But its value extends to entrepreneurship and wealth building, as well.
After the executives at Apple fired Steve Jobs in 1985, Jobs began his own version of an imaginative venture. In 1986, he funded the departure of The Graphics Group from Lucasfilm and became the majority shareholder of the graphics company that would become Pixar. He helped found what is now a global leader in animation, bought by Disney for $7.4 billion in 2006. Jobs is even credited as an executive producer of Pixar's first film, Toy Story. And Apple, Inc. is no stranger to invoking imagination in its products and in its ads.
Start early. Work hard. Discipline yourself. Follow dreams. Do what you love. Exploit opportunities. Take risks. Be creative.
Without a for Dummies book on getting rich—well, there sort of is—the best we can do is listen to those who have already done it, understand their advice, and use it to forge our own paths up the treacherous climb to success.
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
The world of travel is not the same as it was two years ago. From the surge in "revenge travel" to the TikTok-inspired itineraries that make the most random destinations suddenly the most popular, there's so much about traveling that's out of your control.
What you can control — to some extent — is how much you pay for it.
According to CNBC, “Between dining out and taking trips, Americans are now spending an average of $765 more a month compared with last year when much of the country was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the MassMutual Consumer Spending & Saving Index … Young adults, in particular, are determined to make up for lost time. Millennials and Gen Z, who reported feeling the financial impact from the rise in reopenings and social gatherings, said they are shelling out $1,016 more a month, on average, than they did during the summer of 2020. MassMutual polled 1,000 U.S. adults from July 21 to 28.”
While some are okay with making up for lost time by gleefully spending all their money, not everyone has the desire to blow up their budgets on trips. Yet, the allure of travel still calls. Thus, the appeal of travel hacking.
Travel hacking has been around as long as credit card rewards have. But during the pandemic, travel hacking gurus found unprecedented fame on TikTok and Instagram. With time to learn about the points and miles community, suddenly people were planning for future travel using tips and tricks gleaned from experts sharing their knowledge on social media.
Though it might sound complex, anyone with a fair credit score can enter the travel hacking game. Here’s how:
What Is Travel Hacking?
Travel hacking is using reward points and miles from airlines, hotels, and credit cards towards free or heavily discounted travel. This ranges from opening a number of credit cards for the reward bonuses, optimizing your normal spending in order to max out your points per shopping category, and leveraging loyalty and status for awesome perks.
To a lot of people, the term “travel hacking” can sound shady. The “hacking” scares people off. Is it illegal? Is it a scam? Can you get punished for opening too many cards? Will you ruin your credit score? The answer to all of these concerns is no.
There’s no hidden trick to travel hacking. It’s not a game of risk or cheating, it’s a game of research and planning.
Travel Hacking 101
Most commonly, travel hacking hinges on the points you can get from certain travel credit cards. Credit cards aren’t merely a way to manage cash flow. Many offer rewards programs that give you points for each purpose. These points can then be repurposed to pay for part or all of a trip.
Different networks have different systems, but most can be transferred to a range of partners. Top credit cards are with Chase, Amex, Citi, and Capital One. Simply accumulate points on your credit card, then you have the option to transfer those points to airlines, hotels, and more — for free.
When learning travel hacking, The best tip is to go backward. Don’t just open popular cards with high bonuses. Identify where you want to go, then find out what actions to take. Which airlines travel there? Which cards’ points can be transferred to that airline? Where do you want to stay? Which hotels can you book with points? Once you’ve planned out your dream vacation, see how many points you need. Then strategize for the best way to nab them.
Choose which cards are right for you, then start stockpiling those points towards free travel.
One way to quickly amass points is to take advantage of sign-up bonuses. Many credit cards use sign-up bonuses to entice users. And if you play smart, just one or two sign-up bonuses can account for one entire flight cost. However, there’s one catch: you must meet a minimum spend requirement to qualify for the bonus.
The best way to approach this is to funnel all of your regular expenses through those credit cards to chip away at the minimum spending. Pro tip: open your card right before you need to make a lot of purchases. The holidays are a good time to open a card so the cost of festivities ends up working for you.
And remember: it’s key to always pay off your monthly credit card balance before the due date! The benefits of those points are useless if you go into debt to accrue them.
And here’s a hack for you newbie travel hackers out there — be sure to manage your money and keep track of how much you’re spending for that bonus with the MeetCleo app.
MeetCleo is the personal finance tool that’s actually fun to use. Taking control of your money while “earning” free travel using your credit cards? Finances have never been more fun.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!