By Younas Chaudhary
I’ve often been asked when and how I made my first million, and why I have an entire chapter on what I could get with money in my bestselling book From Dirt Roads to Black Gold.
It began in the eighties in Wichita, Kansas, and thanks to a lucrative oil well production deal, I made well over a million dollars. Soon, I moved to Houston, bought a home in the Northside, and then purchased a “big house” in the nineties. I was ambitious and wanted to own a big home, and if I had known where River Oaks was in those days, I would have purchased a home there!
Most people from the sub-continent rarely discuss their wealth in public. I, on the other hand, in the past few years have taken a different approach, because I came to the West with $30 in my possession and had nothing to lose, after all!
I believe that being entrepreneurial, owning fancy cars and big homes, and making money can have a positive impact on our lives.
For instance, in my early days in Houston, I looked for bank loans, but the banks would decline them for various reasons, for instance, saying that I lacked an adequate track record or the financial means to repay the loans. So, one day, my banker happened to be driving near my home, and on the spur of the moment I invited him to my big house, my wife cooked homemade lunch and made fine tea, we talked and ate together. He even learned how to eat with his hands, toured my house, and appreciated the way we treated him. I received the loan the next day!
Here, I was able to establish an image for the banker, to help him believe in me. I was not showing off my wealth to impress him as such, but it helped him to intuitively feel more comfortable and confident offering me the requested loan.
Again, having money is a good thing, and one should not be ashamed about having wealth. Every type of extreme behavior exists in our society. Many of us sleep with money under our mattresses and pillows. Others flaunt their wealth and show off even more than what they have. And then there is a boastful group that imitates the rich and famous but actually has nothing in hand. And, of course, there are the millionaires who hide their wealth and always love to look poverty-stricken—cautious and fearful that they will lose their wealth!
It is a difficult balance to draw. In the early 2000s, I purchased a Maybach when it was reintroduced in America. But I was embarrassed to drive it around, as it drew attention and I did not want people to think of me as a showoff! Similarly, while writing my book, I struggled with the decision to publish a certain chapter on how I accumulated material things using money. I worried that people would perceive it as an attempt to show off my wealth.
But at the same time, I wanted to be authentic and vulnerable. I wanted the reader to know the struggles I faced as an immigrant when I first landed in the West, without a Western education, and with broken English—and to see what a person can accomplish through patience and consistent hard work. I wanted to show others that America offers innumerable opportunities and is a place where anyone can be what she/he wants to be—and it is usually our own excuses and lack of motivation to pursue our passions that let us down.
Unlike in the earlier days, now the thrill of making a deal has given way to the much more profound feeling of absolute joy when I am able to help another person in need. I feel immensely blessed to be able to help someone who needs genuine assistance.
So here are a few things that I’ve achieved by earning money through hard work, consistency, and dedication.
SOME THINGS MONEY CAN BUY
I can walk into any store and purchase anything without looking at the price.
I can travel, eat at any restaurant, and stay anywhere in the world without looking at the price.
I can walk into a bank knowing that the bank needs me more than I need them.
I can own a large home in a prestigious part of the city.
I can own a Cullinan and other expensive toys without looking at the sticker price.
I can own a more than 1700-acre ranch.
…and so many other material items. Yet, is money the be-all and end-all of our existence? Absolutely not!
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The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.