Bank on your strengths, multiply your net worth

March 31, 2013

I recently conducted a short session with a group of young people. The topic was ‘How to improve self-esteem’. It was a lively discussion. My young friends were able to identify what they needed to do to better themselves. Building confidence emerged as a recurring theme amongst the group. The group’s expressed need for greater confidence reminded me of a story I had read on the internet some time ago:

A man’s business was running into losses. One morning, as he sat on a bench in the park, he met an old man. After polite greetings, the old man said, “I can see that something is troubling you.” The man sighed deeply, looked at the old stranger and then poured out his woes. The old man nodded silently. Then, after a pensive pause, he opened his cheque book.  He wrote out a cheque of $500,000. “Take this money,” said the old man, as he stood up to walk away, adding, “…meet me here exactly a year from today. You can pay me back at that time.”

The businessman looked at the cheque. The signature read: John D. Rockefeller – one of the richest men in the world. The businessman felt the money would come in handy in revitalizing his business. However, he decided against using the money. The mere thought of the cheque in his cupboard gave him renewed optimism. Within months, he was out of debt and back in business.

 As promised, a year later the businessman returned to the same spot to return the cheque. The old man appeared again. But just as the businessman was about to return the cheque and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man by the arm. She said to the businessman, “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He often escapes from the rest home and tells people he is John D. Rockefeller.” Then she led the old man away.

The businessman was stunned. He looked at the signed piece of paper in his hand and smiled. He suddenly realized its true value: his new-found life was certainly a consequence of the cheque – not the value of the cheque but rather of the confidence that the cheque had instilled in him.

We all need to find such “confidence triggers” in our life to multiply our net worth. In our short session, the youngsters discussed a few such triggers: remembering good things in our life; constantly working on our strengths and talents; and making a consistent effort to improve upon an identified area. In short, bank on your strengths, multiply your net worth.