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Where Andrew Carnegie’s true wealth came from

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Born in poverty in Scotland, Andrew Carnegie reached the United States as a 12-year-old with his parents. With no connections and no savings, he had a knack for making money.

Carnegie (1835-1919) wound up becoming the richest man in the world by building a company that became known as U.S. Steel Corp. He negotiated financial deals with bankers John Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.

What made Carnegie so successful? Here are some clues:

Show eternal optimism. When asked for the single biggest key to obtaining his riches, Carnegie cited his optimism. Even amid the worst misfortune, he maintained a sunny disposition and looked forward to a better future.

He once said the most important aspect of his success was his “ability to shed trouble and to laugh through life.” He added that his embrace of optimism was worth more to him than millions of dollars.

“The mind, like the body, can be moved from the shade into sunshine,” he said. By waving off negativity, he rebounded from failures more quickly and spotted opportunities that others missed.

Put problems in perspective. Carnegie didn’t waste time worrying. He realized that many of the problems we fret about almost never happen.

Rather than dwell on worst-case scenarios, Carnegie preferred to imagine more realistic outcomes and plan accordingly. When weighing risks, he didn’t get bogged down in what could go wrong.

Pounce on opportunity. When offered his first job, Carnegie enthusiastically told his employer he could start immediately. He didn’t want to wait.

This fit a pattern he would follow his whole life: He liked to act fast (even if that meant something might go amiss) instead of waiting and risking losing the opportunity entirely.  

— Adapted from “96 Years Ago, This $310 Billion Man Revealed the Secrets to His Success,” Alex Banayan, www.linkedin.com.

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