The Discovery TV show Undercover Billionaire is about an actual billionaire, Glenn Stearns, who chooses to keep his wealth hidden and out of reach, as he is given a mere $100 to start a new business. But its not just any business. He has only 90 days to create a business that is worth a minimum of $1 million. The show is about how he manages to do that, and the life principles we can see in action that make it possible for virtually anyone to find success in America.
This is a life lesson that applies not only to business but to personal relationships as well. Its hard to imagine, but there are actually people you run into every day who may be relative strangers but they hold the key to your financial and personal success. There may be more than one, but it is strange that so many people pass up opportunities because they are looking so far forward they forget to slow up and just manage today. Someone once said, at one time every friend was a stranger. This one of the most obvious yet most overlooked truths of life.
This is not the same as the knowledge is power mantra so often heard. In this case, Stearns took his general familiarity with the real estate market and combined it with some things that were not widely known. It wasnt the knowledge itself but how the little things he knew could be used to his advantage. 30 people can sit in a classroom but only 1 person sees the opportunity or researches the hidden gem everyone else is ignoring. The class all has access to the same basic knowledge, but it is taking the time to dig deeper that acquires the advantage.
As any successful person will tell you, any path to success will have its highs and its lows. Thats just the way life is. How you handle the lows is likely to be more important than how you handle the good times. For most people, what gives them the mental strength to push through the lows is not to take themselves or other people too seriously. Personal relationships are bonded by going through the good times and bad together. One reason is they can look back and later laugh at their personal foibles that brought them to the low. As someone said, if you cant laugh at yourself Ill be glad to do it for you. Humor brings perspective to things and allows you to enjoy your successes.
In this video clip, Stearns has to present himself as just an average guy who is looking for an opportunity to start a business. Yet this single event, where he feeds people a single meal, shows him how other people really live, sometimes from day to day. There are people who use money to separate themselves from others economically and socially, but Stearns isnt doing this act as a celebrity or billionaire. Hes just another guy and he sees firsthand how people actually treat other people in the lower socioeconomic classes. This is the kind of lesson you need to watch and re-watch because it is hard for him to digest what is going on around him.
Like the first life lesson, this is about recognizing opportunities when they cross your path. But recognizing and opportunity and then acting on it is a very different thing. Stearns ends up using real estate as his launch pad for his business, but isnt obtuse about other possibilities. Nor does he go about his search haphazardly. He knows he has to find the need for the local area, in this case, Erie, Pennsylvania, and create a plan that will give him the best shot at achieving his goal. Remember that he only has 90 days to meet the goal, which will never be met if he doesnt have a plan in place.
Some critics of the show maintain that Stearns experience and wealth give him a huge advantage because if he fails he just goes back to his wealth. Real people who dont have that advantage are under considerable stress to make things work because they may have a mortgage to pay or family to feed. Its not like he needs the business to be successful. Like some reality show stars, once they have achieved their personal level of success the show is simply for entertainment.
Another thing is the fact that those cameras are always around, which leads a casual observer to wonder how it affects the behavior of the people he meets. However he explains their presence, in todays day and age people are suspicious in either a good or bad way. Being in front of a camera changes many peoples natural behavior, so its hard to know if everyone is being genuine or just mugging for the camera. (This is probably a bonus life lesson.)
This is not to say there arent actual life lesson we can get from the show. Viewers can decide for themselves if the show and its characters are real people or just props. If anything, just watching the people interact can tell you a lot about the way people really are, and this is perhaps one of the most important life lessons. We all have to deal with people at one point or another, and being able to understand their motivations will go a long way in determining our own actions.
Bill Vix writes blogs, articles, and website content for clients who want the facts presented in a way that is digestible to their target audience. He graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2009 as an English major with a concentration in Professional Writing. After graduation, he pursued graduate degrees in both Library Science and Communication. With over 10 years of professional writing experience, his ultimate goal is to simply and effectively communicate useful information using the most technologically relevant methods.
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