Use Your Beginner’s Mind to Open Your Prepared Mind

In 1973, 27-year-old Vernon Hill decided to start a bank. He launched a single, nine-employee branch on a highway in southern New Jersey. Vernon didn’t call it a “bank” or a “branch,” though. He called it a “store.”

Although he had worked afternoons at a bank while an undergrad at Penn’s Wharton School, Hill’s professional experience was primarily in real estate and fast-food retail. He scouted and developed sites for chains such as McDonald’s, CVS, and Jiffy Lube, and had an ownership stake in dozens of Burger King restaurants.

As a relatively inexperienced newcomer to the world of banking, though, Hill was able to cast aside many of the preconceptions people had about how banking ought to be done.

Don’t Let Myers-Briggs Limit Your Opportunities

When she was 14, a girl in Chautauqua County, New York began keeping the company of a 21-year-old local hoodlum named Johnny. He was the son of a reputed gangster, indulged in liquor and gambling, and sometimes carried a gun. He also had a steady income and access to several cars, which no doubt impressed his young romantic interest.

Partly to encourage her interest in show business, but probably mostly to separate her from Johnny, the girl’s mother sent her to a prestigious school of theatre and dance 400 miles away in Manhattan.

Unlike the school’s star pupil of the time, Bette Davis, the girl did not thrive. For most of her time at the school she felt frightened, intimidated, and humiliated.

When Winners Quit and Quitters Prosper

Back when Warren Buffett’s net worth was a mere $10,000, he sank 20 percent of it into a Sinclair service station in Omaha. Unfortunately, it was across the street from a well-established Texaco station with very loyal customers, and Buffett’s station simply could not compete.

Bill Gates’ and Paul Allen’s first entrepreneurial collaboration was a machine that automated vehicle traffic data collection. It worked, and they attracted some paying municipal clients. Soon, though, states began freely providing their traffic data to local governments, obliterating the now-famous duo’s business model.

Mark Cuban once had the idea that since powdered milk was cheaper by the gallon than regular milk – and, in his opinion, tasted just as good – it would be a booming business and his big break. It wasn’t.

Stop the Hedonic Treadmill by Setting Better Goals

We’ve all read stories about lottery winners who hit it big and soon lose everything. Sometimes they end up in debt, on the street, or incarcerated. Sometimes they even take their own lives.

For the lottery winners who end up this way, it is usually a combination of unwise behaviors that leads to their downfall. They impulsively give far too much to friends, family, churches, or charity. They go on wild spending sprees. They often engage in substance abuse and degenerate gambling.

However, despite some misleading statistics that are often repeated online – such as the urban legend that 70 percent of lottery winners end up in bankruptcy – a decidedly small percentage of big-prize lottery winners actually end up squandering it all.

11 Components of Wisdom

Charles V was one of France’s more intellectual monarchs. He maintained a vast library, and commissioned many French translations of significant works. He was a builder king, as well. During his reign he built (or rebuilt) the Bastille, the Louvre, the Chateau de Vincennes, and the Chateau de Saint-Germaine-en-Laye.

He loved ceremony and held a magnificent court, but he was an adherent of scientific political theory, and was known for his procedural and detailed approach to matters of state.

Charles was adept at military matters, too. He reorganized the army, established a navy, and introduced ordinances that provided for soldier pay, the regular inspection and repair of fortifications, and more clear and reliable disciplinary action.

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