Original question from Quora:

What are the biggest obstacles to becoming a millionaire?

My Answer:

The biggest obstacle to becoming a millionaire is your brain and your friends. You are your own worst enemy and your friends and family aren’t helping.

It’s not their fault, their brains and their friends are equally as flawed.

So check this out…

First of all, let’s put being a millionaire to the side because that sounds like something hard to understand and difficult to pursue. Instead, let’s replace becoming a millionaire with becoming a professional athlete.

What on earth does it take to become a professional athlete. Well, look at most professional athletes in any sport and you’ll see this kind of pattern.

A young kid falls in love with a sport, maybe it’s football or basketball or soccer or gymnastics. It doesn’t matter. Let’s say it’s basketball.

Alright, so our young basketball star falls in love with the game. He watches LeBron James and wants to be just like him.

Every day the kid spends hours shooting the basketball in his driveway. At first he’s terrible. Eventually he’s making more shots than he misses. After a while, he can make shots from anywhere in his driveway.

His parents sign him up for a youth basketball league and he does well. He can hit a shot from anywhere and dribbles like a young pro. He keeps playing ball.

After showing promise in his fun youth league, his parents take him to a few training camps and he gets even better. He begs to be in a more competitive league, so his parents find him a better team to play with in a tougher league.

This goes on for years and eventually he makes it to high school where he is the star of his team. He still practices every day and does everything he can to get better. His team wins the state championship a couple times and he’s the best player in the region.

He gets a scholarship to a Division I “basketball school” like Kansas, where now he’s average, not the best on the team. But, he’s had a growth spurt and is 6’5” and has the talent to keep up.

So he leans on his work ethic and after a couple years of working harder than anyone else, he’s not just starting on the team, he’s the top scorer. His college wins a national championship and he looks like the MVP.

He’s drafted to a less than stellar team in the first round, and now he’s playing with the best ballers in the world. He’s not the tallest, he’s not the fastest, and he’s not the best.

But he is relentless and keeps practicing every day.

After a few years he’s doing well in the NBA and gets traded to a winning team and gets paid millions of dollars along the way because now he’s one of the best in the league.

He always wanted to be like LeBron James, now he is playing with LeBron James.

How did he get there?

He had a dream, he worked relentlessly on it every day, and he had enough things go his way that he was able to make it there.

Now, what does becoming a pro basketball player have to do with being a millionaire? Everything.

To make a million dollars, you have to want to make a million dollars. It has to be your pursuit. Making money is a skill, just like shooting a basketball. You have to work at it! EVERY DAY!

I’m not kidding. The people who are good at making money have been practicing making money since they were kids. Watch Shark Tank and pay attention to how many people have been hustling on their dreams since they were little kids.

That lemonade stand, that car wash, selling girl scout cookies door to door, trying some hokey multi-level marketing scheme, all of that is no different than the kids at basketball practice. It’s just a different skill.

But, this is where your brain and your friends will keep you from making a million dollars…

Imagine if the kid who wanted to be LeBron James’ parents hadn’t supported him. Imagine if they told him that was impossible and that he should be an accountant instead? Or some other familiar profession like teacher, doctor, or lawyer?

What if they didn’t take him to all the games, camps, and tournaments? Would he still have made it?

I sort of doubt it. You see, we are so heavily influenced by the people around us that the five people closest to us will basically determine where you land in life. If the people are encouraging you upward, you’ll go upward. If they are holding you back, you’ll stay where you are.

The worst part is, you probably don’t even notice it happening to you. So if you want to be a millionaire and the people around you don’t want that for themselves or for you… find new friends or family to spend your time with.

Oh, and if your dream isn’t to relentlessly pursue the million dollars, don’t pursue it. The only reason the kid in the story was able to make it is he was relentless. He showed up EVERY DAY to shoot the ball.

Are you willing to shoot the ball every day?

In the end, you are the biggest obstacle to being a millionaire and unless you get out of your own way, it’s an impossible pursuit.

-Brian

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