A second secret look into the mind of the super-rich and ultra-successful; and how you can copy them | Inquirer Business

A second secret look into the mind of the super-rich and ultra-successful; and how you can copy them

/ 04:10 AM June 20, 2022


Anybody can reach extraordinary levels of success. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are.


What you need to master to accomplish extraordinary levels of success are the beliefs of the super-rich and ultra-successful and make them your own. The ingredient that sets those people apart is not some super talent or hidden gene in their DNA. Their secret is that they think very much alike.

If you do not realize that, it will be painful. Why? Because every day you are investing so much of your life, your hopes and dreams, and your financial expectations into your career and your business, and every day you will fall far below your potential. And all the hard work you put into your career and your business could be lost.


We all know businesses that had been great at some point, maybe even global market leaders, and then lost their glory because the new people at the top did not have the same mindset and beliefs as the founders or the ones who brought the business to greatness. From Pan Am to Compaq to General Motors, Kodak to Nokia, Myspace to Blackberry, Xerox to Yahoo— all of these were once giants. The same can happen to you and your business.

As a coach to the world’s top Fortune 500 CEOs, the “mentor of the giants” and a consultant to some of the world’s most famous brands, from Johnson & Johnson to Coca-Cola, including some of the wealthiest families and their businesses, I can tell you from experience that all of the high achievers at the top share very similar mindsets and beliefs.

This is the second part of a series in which I will share some of these beliefs in the hope that you will adopt them, make them your own, and skyrocket the success of your professional career and your business.

1. View reality as is it— don’t sugarcoat problems!

Sugarcoating is a boardroom disease, especially in Asia. In my global experience, I have seen many examples of business failures because people do not tell each other the truth. Recently, the owner of a family business, a market leader in Southeast Asia, approached me because of our reputation to find the hard facts and give owners a correct view of reality as it is. When I asked him whom they had hired before, he told me that they had a series of consultants who failed because they kept telling the owners what they wanted to hear, not reality as it was.

The “boardroom sugarcoating” challenge is so prevalent in certain cultures that my team and I even developed a proprietary system that allows companies to address challenges and each other’s strengths and weaknesses without losing face and without escalating into internal conflicts.

If you go to a doctor for a checkup, would you want him to give you the care facts or lie to you? Of course, you would want him to tell you the truth. The same must happen in any organization, especially in the boardroom. Otherwise, you cannot create the solutions to your challenges. As a consequence, you will not reach your objectives.

As a business leader, you have to be a practical idealist. That means: keep the long-term vision for your business in your mind but then, face the facts. Close your eyes and dream, but then, open your eyes and see.




Clarity breeds success. Be ruthless about what reality is like because only then you can design solutions to your challenges.

Without the facts, you fly blind, and you cannot create the right solutions.

You need to create a company culture of radical transparency and open-mindedness. A culture that encourages people to openly address each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and address challenges as they arise.

2. Know that challenges only get bigger with time.

This leads us to the next belief all high achievers share: they know that challenges only get bigger with time.

The main reason why so many businesses fail is that they think the music will last forever. It will not. Only if the people at the top are hyper-vigilant or even a bit paranoid about what they could be missing, will the organization survive and thrive.

The most successful business leaders and self-made entrepreneurs I have worked with, coached, or advised, address challenges head-on and are even happy about discovering them when they do. Because they know they can nip them in the bud.

However, this is not the reality most businesses face. In most organizations people are afraid to address challenges and play the “head in the sand” game: if we ignore the challenges long enough, they will go away. No, they won’t! Instead, they will grow exponentially, and it won’t be long before the small challenges have grown into a giant.

3. Know that we all have blind spots

I have written about this before, and it bears repeating: The legendary business leaders of this world know that they are only smart in spots. Even Warren Buffet repeats that often. Get experts to complement your views so you see reality as it is, and not as you want to see it.

There are walls you cannot see through because most business owners and C-suite executives are too close to the trees to see the forest.

Arrogance and ignorance precede the downfall of any major business. Stay humble and know that you only see a tiny portion of reality. You need expert eyes to let you see both challenges that could threaten the survival of your business but also the unexploited opportunities lying there in easy reach.

4. Failure is feedback

The super-rich and ultra-successful know that failure is feedback. You analyze it, derive the necessary lessons from it, design solutions around it, then you move on.

Do not dwell on it. Do not let it sip away your energy. If you need to, cry for a bit, then move on. Even Richard Branson had a moment in his career where he cried after selling Virgin Records. Those were not tears of joy.

5. Circumstances are what you make them

This brings us to another belief shared by the most successful self-made billionaire entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 CEOs. They know that whatever cards life deals them, they can still come out winning. They never blame circumstances for failure. They only blame themselves. 100 percent accountability. They hold themselves accountable above all and everyone else.

6. Forget fear

The only two fears we are born with are the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Yes, you heard me correctly. Those are the only two. All others are learned.

What do most people do when they become afraid? They stop. Not the ultra-successful. If they feel fear, they do it anyway. Push through!

3 next steps.

  • Block out 15 minutes in your schedule this weekend where you will be uninterrupted. Go through each of the mindsets above and ask yourself: “Is this already one of my beliefs or not? If yes, do I act accordingly?”
  • Then, focus on the ones that you still need to make your own. Answer the question: what can you do to adopt this mindset and belief? How can you remind yourself daily to incorporate this belief into your life and your business?
  • List those next actions and execute them. INQ

Tom Oliver, a “global management guru” (Bloomberg), is the chair of The Tom Oliver Group, the trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential family businesses, medium-sized enterprises, market leaders and global conglomerates. For more information and inquiries: www.TomOliverGroup.com or email
[email protected]

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