There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little. – Jackie French Collar
Sometimes a stray statement, a position taken by someone, can make you wonder whether we’re shackled by anything more than our own thoughts.
Not, of course, if you’re literally in chains but, assuming you live in a free and democratic society, when it comes to everyday living.
There is a famous photo of Steve Jobs taken in 1982 which shows him living in a sparse, unfurnished space despite already being rich.
Some people see that minimalist streak in Jobs brought to life through Apple products, with their emphasis on design, minimal interfaces and intuitive use.
So, when you hear of someone complaining that they don’t have a desk to work at, what do you think? What does that say about how free they are?
There is a story about Amazon, about when they started and needed desks. But desks were expensive and doors weren’t. So they bought some doors, fitted some legs and used them as desks.
Frugality is still a big thing at Amazon, as are desks made from doors, even though they are now one of the most valuable companies on the planet.
If you’re the kind of person that, when you don’t have a desk, can work anywhere else without complaining then you have what it takes to start and run a business.
If you can think of alternatives, come up with suggestions, sit and work on the floor if you need to, then no one can stop you from getting things done.
Because much of business is about being resourceful and inventive, about seeing opportunity where others see nothing. About solving problems, big ones and little ones, day after day.
And there are certain principles that are worth remembering when we try and deal with what comes at us every day.
When you’re selling, for example, after a while you’ll realise that most people you meet have pretty much the same questions about what you have to offer.
There’s also little excuse for not doing your homework before you meet someone. There’s so much information that people put out about themselves and their businesses that you can get a good idea of what they are all about before you meet them.
So, if you know what questions they have and have done some homework on who they are then, really, the main thing you need to do is to listen to what their problems are and see if you have a solution.
Your presentation becomes less about you and more about trying to get them to open up and engage with you. You know it’s working when they start asking questions, ideally ones to which you have the answer on the next slide.
There is a difference between this kind of approach and one that tries to tell your prospect everything about you.
It’s like a child with a box of toys, every one of which is special and important to him, so he wants to talk to you about each and every one.
You listen politely, but really, your mind is somewhere else.
But when that child wants something from you, his tactic changes. Now he is laser-focused on that one thing – that one toy and nothing will divert him from it.
What do these different concepts – minimalism, frugality, focus – have to do with anything?
Well, if you can craft a message that shows your prospect just what is important to them, shows them how you make it for them, at the lowest cost possible, and how it solves a problem that they are focused on, how do you think they will respond?
And I wonder whether if you want to be the kind of person that can pare down a message to just what is important, you also need to be the kind of person that can pare down what you have to just what is important.
Because, of the two ways to get rich quoted at the start, the second is the one more likely to set you free.