Around every corner you meet people who claim they are the real deal, who tell you how amazing their life story is, how they started from a McDonald’s shift and made their fortune out of hard work and genius, how, from a penniless job seeker they turned in their first million and whatnot. You see this pattern over and over again on TV, Social Media, self-help books and audiotapes on success and wealth, but at the end of the day they all sound fake, repetitive and too idealistic to be real. If you are fed up with these tales and want to hear about someone who not only made billions out of creative genius, but also managed to have such an influence as to twist policies and make heads of state stop by to lick his sandal, then Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal is your man!
Now wait, Prince Al Waleed? Isn’t he a rich Saudi royal who made his money from the oil wells his father left for him? Might be true for a lot of royals and princely figures, but Prince Al Waleed is unlike others. The guy, whose parents were a Saudi prince and the daughter of a Lebanese prime minister, was far from being a pampered douchebag driving his Lamborghini around; on the contrary, Prince Talal would escape his palace and hang out in poor districts and sleep in unlocked cars. The early urge to explore the real tough life took him to the military high school where discipline is a must. Thanks to these early escapades, the prince today might be flying up top, but he still keeps a firm foot on the ground. This is a great asset to have as a businessman and an influential figure. Money can get to your brain, power might suck you in, and if you ever give in, say goodbye to being realistic and down to earth. Why? Because your entourage and lifestyle will make you an arrogant a**hole who will either go mad or bankrupt.
Education is wealth
Prince Al Waleed, however rich and powerful, gives a strong message to the youth of today: Money ain’t nothing if you’re not smart enough to keep it flowing, and if you want to be smart, there is only one way to go about it: College! Prince Talal is a Menlo College and Syracuse University graduate with honors. A man, lawyers and employees can’t screw, because the guy knows his shit. Education, regardless of how controversial it is in facilitating your success, not only defends you against being seen as a fool, but also upholds your reputation when pricks try to claim that you grew up with a silver spoon up your ass. Education is wealth; so don’t underestimate it just because it doesn’t show up on your bank balance as a bunch of zeros.
One thing to learn from Prince Talal that can change your life, is his business mindset and philosophy. A philosophy shared by visionaries like Warren Buffet and co, a philosophy that made him his Billion $ in Citigroup when everyone thought he was a novice not knowing a damn thing about finance: If you’re going to invest, go for the struggling companies, put millions on the table, get a big piece of the pie and turn the company around. Put simply, this is called Value Investing, and the good news is that it is not only applicable in the investment and finance world, but also works fine as a lifestyle, that is if you want to make success your best friend! Value Investing works for everything; so read carefully if you want to use it to your advantage: Don’t be like everyone who follows trends and does the same shit his peers do. Don’t be mister everyone and no one, avoid falling in the lamb mentality and don’t gaze at where the crowd is heading. If you want to be the matchless successful guy who everyone looks up to, then you’ll have to do things differently. In Investment it may be looking for a struggling company you have faith in and bringing it back to the spotlight, but in life it can be an opportunity not many are willing to grab. It can be a lifestyle everyone stays away from, or it can be a job only crazy people would take up.
You have to be willing to spend a part of your life like nobody won’t so that you can live most of your life like nobody cant!
Spending extra hours on that project, traveling to the Middle East regardless of how different and unfamiliar it is, taking up language courses in summer instead of enjoying a nice vacation in Monte Carlo, investing in a dream no body wants to believe in, doing things differently and not caring about people’s criticism: this my friend, is value investing in life! Never judge an opportunity by how rewarding it is now, think beyond your nose and look up years ahead to see how valuable something is for you in the future. A startup is in the red and just sucks in money without return, but you know it is the next big thing and will make you millions if you stick with it longer? Then go for it and sacrifice what you have now for what you can have in the future. Prince Talal embodies this philosophy, and that’s why he is such a powerful and rich personality (Richest and most powerful figure in the Arab World, and 26th richest dude walking on earth). Whether in Business or Politics, he moves in fast and big, takes messy corporations or governments by surprise and works his magic!
Build a strong network
What is more important than your 20-26 Billion dollars? Your network! Prince Talal is by far the greatest networker moving around, setting dinners in his palace for heads of states, celebrities, religious figures and military icons. His involvement in Politics, Business and philanthropy makes him a “must go to” whenever we’re talking big projects or large scale ventures. The Prince received hundreds of honorary medals, state recognitions and prizes for his pioneering vision and involvements in saving economies from collapsing, mediating between conflicting parties and leading world humanitarian efforts thanks to his numerous charities. Your network is your net worth, and this is some of most celebrated yet least practiced concept. You don’t have to get Bill Gates and the Pope in the same table to be called a networker, but you can start working up your portfolio of contacts now so that in few years time, you can place a few calls, send some emails or ask for a few favors to get anything you want! When you’re in trouble, there will be someone to save your ass. When you want to get that potential investor of yours pampered when he visits Dubai, you can send a text to your friend with the spectacular pent house to ask a favor: Next thing you know you just got that million dollars in seed funding! Networks are crucial for your success, so invest in them accordingly!
Pay it forward!
Making money is one thing, leaving a legacy is another! You might be the richest person on earth, but people will forget about you once you go bankrupt or hit the grave. There is nothing more frustrating than spending a lifetime working hard and making big bucks than being sent down the history drain once there is no more money to pay the checks. If you want to be a successful and wealthy figure, then buy paragraphs in the book of history rather than a new gold plated Lamborghini. Prince Talal, like most of his peers who look down at us from the top of their success temple, understood the importance of having their names associated with something greater than their balance. Do you remember Rockefeller? Slightly because of the conspiracy theories right? But Bill Gates, Prince Talal and others are not people anymore, but icons! Whether it is the fight against Polio or interfaith dialogue, their philanthropic work has engraved their names forever, not only thanks to the millions in donations, but also thanks to their spirit and vision to pay forward for what they have had the chance to get in life. Success is not a personal achievement as Obama points out so often, but the cumulative and collaborative work of many. Enjoy life, work hard, play hard, and all the crazy shit you ever dreamt of, but don’t forget to share a piece of the pie with everyone else, because that will make you standout from all the billionaire douchebags who everyone grew up to hate!