James Altucher, an American, is a fund manager, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. James has founded or co-founded more than twenty companies, seventeen failed, and the remaining three made him tens of millions of dollars. He doesn’t know how to quit.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine, Barry Pretorius, dropped out in grade ten and I never saw him again until, many years later, I walked into a coffee shop where I was sitting at a table and re-introduced himself. He was living on a drug rehabilitation farm with his new wife and her three kids. He had no money and no car and he dressed like a drug addict on the street. He asked me what I was doing since I looked “successful” to him. I was about 36. (See picture above.)

I told Barry that I was an independent distributor for Success Motivation International (SMI) and that I had 15 salesmen working for me. I told him our products helped people become more successful and use more of their potential. Barry asked if he could be one of my salespeople. I replied, “No, Barry. You need $600 to buy a sales kit and you have no money. You need a car to get to Johannesburg every day for a week for sales training, to get to appointments, to come to sales meetings, and you have no car. You need a phone to make appointments. You have no phone. You need to dress for success. Look at your clothes.”

Barry told me in no uncertain terms, at the top of his voice, that I was a lying hypocrite, because I had told him what my products could do, that they had changed my own life, and that they could change his. He insisted that he would make it happen. “OK, Barry,” I responded loudly, “I’ll give you a chance. But talk is cheap. Be at my office tomorrow morning at eight sharp for the sales meeting, and let’s see what you can do. Now get out of here.”

Barry showed up the next day looking like a million dollars. He borrowed cars from people, hitchhiked to Johannesburg for his sales training, borrowed the money for his sales kit and decent clothes, and made his calls from call boxes and customers. Within weeks he was my best salesman. He paid back all his loans, helped his mother, and rented a nice house with a pool for his family he bought a used car. He never complained or made excuses, and he devoured the SMI programs and the books I recommended.

I had another salesman, George Lindeque. He was in his fifties, lived with his aged mother, drove her car, ate her food, and used her money. He showed up at sales meetings said all the right things, and never made a sale. He constantly made excuses. He borrowed money from his brother when he couldn’t get enough from his mother. One morning I called him at 10.30 in the morning at home and his mother said, “George is in the bathtub.” I fired his lazy, parasitical ass the next day.

We all go through hard times, we all experience ups and downs in life, but we also all make choices multiple times each day. We can choose to complain and make excuses and justify or we can change our attitudes, listen to good advice, and make things happen. It’s never too late to start over. You can be a victim or a victor; it’s up to you. If you’re looking for a way to wealth, see this. Let’s talk.

Robin Elliott