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On Life Options And Three Steps To Become The Best


Mai Le


Many people aspire to become millionaires, dedicating a significant portion of their lives to pursuing various routes to achieve this goal. When we admire millionaires, we often hear captivating tales about their journeys to success. However, there’s a distinction between the stories we hear and the reality. The popular narratives suggest that everything seamlessly fell into place for these successful individuals, encapsulated in Mark Cuban’s saying, “You only need to get it right once. And everyone will tell you how lucky you are.” Yet, the true stories often remain in the shadows, concealing the struggles, failures, confusion, and losses endured along the way.

In this article, I’ll delve into two key perspectives on charting your path to extraordinary success.

Thought 1: Two primary paths to becoming a millionaire:

Option (1): Create £1 of value for 1 million people.

Option (2): Create £1 million of value for 1 person.

You might be thinking, “What about Option (3): Create a million in value for a million people and become a billionaire?” But before dreaming of billions, one should first aim to earn their first million. Hence, we’ll concentrate on the first two options for now.

Consider self-made affluent individuals you know. Their wealth typically stems from one of the aforementioned options. Option (1) embodies widespread appeal, akin to platforms like Facebook and Google, chart-topping songs, popular apps, and best-selling books. While these ventures might offer modest individual value, their massive audience ensures a substantial cumulative reward. Conversely, Option (2) highlights the unique value certain professionals offer to niche segments of society, such as investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and leading researchers in specialized fields. Their offerings are so specialized and irreplaceable that they command high fees.

Your choice between these options dictates your strategy. With Option (1), your focus isn’t on vast value but on ensuring your modest value reaches and appeals to a vast audience. With Option (2), you’d concentrate on honing your expertise until you can generate £1 million in value from your specialized skill set.

Thought 2: How to excel: If you’re leaning towards Option (2) and aim to master a particular skill, how do you decide what that skill should be? Many young adults grapple with such introspection, striving to define their life’s purpose. I’d propose a probabilistic approach. Becoming the absolute best in any domain is a daunting, often nearly impossible, challenge. To illustrate, consider the odds of being the world’s top programmer. A 2014 IDC study estimated there were about 47.5 million professional programmers globally. Besting all of them, presuming equal resources and talent, leaves an almost negligible probability. This stark reality underscores why certain elites, like Roger Federer, amass incredible earnings — they are outliers with exceptional talent.

To boost your chances, diversify your expertise across multiple fields. For instance, even if you’re an average programmer but also a dolphin expert, the overlap between these skills is minimal. Thus, the likelihood of someone possessing both skills and competing directly with you is extremely low. With such a unique combination, you can potentially create niche solutions — perhaps a dolphin-tracking app or software to study dolphin communication.

In summary, to become exceptional, consider the following steps:

1. Skill: Select one skill to master (e.g., writing, programming).

2. Knowledge: Choose a distinct area of expertise (e.g., history, finance).

3. Secret Sauce: Integrate your life experiences, motivations, connections, or unique insights.

Then, craft a valuable product or service by blending these elements and ensure it reaches the audience who’ll appreciate and reward your efforts.

If this topic intrigues you, I recommend exploring a series in the Financial Times titled “My First Million,” where self-made millionaires discuss their initial financial successes. We’re often captivated by tales of billionaires and tech moguls, but these articles serve as poignant reminders of the initial steps towards accruing wealth.

For further assistance, I’ve compiled over 100 cover letters from myself and colleagues at the Cover Letter Library. This exclusive collection features successful applications to premier investment banks, Big Four firms, and others. Discover more here.

Illustration by my friend Karl. Follow my updates on Instagram @official.mai.le.

Written by Mai Le

My name is Mai. I am originally from Vietnam. After my university years at LSE, I worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. After a wonderful time there, I started several of my own business as well as helping others on theirs. I've always been building communities and businesses for as long as I can remember, and absolutely thrilled to see others enjoy what I've built.



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