Prasanna Natarajan

How much is success worth to you?

If you walk by a bookstore and you come across a book titled “Think and Grow Rich” would you buy it?

Maybe not. Success books are a dime a dozen. And the title looks scammy.

But what if you are persuaded that this is one of the best books on the topic? What if someone you look up to, tells that this is the one book you should read? Or what if you simply read online reviews and are convinced?

You might buy it then. That’s how most people buy this book and that’s why it’s one of the all-time best sellers.

So, now, success is worth the cost of that book to you, maybe USD 5. Right?

But then you might find out that the book did nothing to you. After all, it’s just a book, and it’s dead author Napolean Hill can only speak one-way to you. He can’t pause to hear your doubts, fears and objections while he’s pouring out his wisdom to you. He can’t give you the extra nudge you might want.

This is a problem with all books. If books can change your life, then we’d all be different now. An author can wish his best intent for you via his book, but he’ll fall flat in his face in the attempt unless you act upon his ideas. Each self-help book is a treasure trove full of practical, life changing wisdom, and yet we might not see the gold sitting in our hand, right before our eyes.

It’s not just the non-action that’s the fault here. There’s more involved to make us move in the right direction. There’d be a whole barrel of “shitty perceptions about world” that you’d have to throw away or reframe to be able to even take a single step.

For example. What are your feelings about being in debt? Do you think it’s bad? Or good? What about loaning money from a bank (for business or for house) and paying 13% interest on it year on year? The total money (principal + interest) that you’d pay off finally would be so much more than the initial money you borrowed.

Think about it now.

Being in debt is bad. It sounds scary. Right?

Wrong. That’s what the non-rich people think. That’s even what the finance books that non-rich people read teach. That’s wrong and I now feel indignant about not knowing this all this time.

To rich people, debt is good. They don’t see the fear involved in trying to repay. They see the new opportunity that the loan money will bring in. They’ll be eager to stretch their business horizon with this extra money. They’ll make more money with this money.

This kind of reframing might happen to you occasionally if you read books. But then, a much better way to see, learn and imbibe these kind of reframings is to be around the people you look up to. If you want to be rich, be around rich people and observe how they think and feel about different things.

Here’s another reframe I experienced recently. Kutralam is a city in south India and it has so many falls that people can take bath in. It’s poor people’s paradise. It’s free and you just have to manage your stay, food and travel which are also easily affordable. The agenda there is to bath under the falls about 6 times a day, eat delicious food and sleep well.

Since my childhood I’ve been there many times with my family and I know the ins and outs of the city by heart. We go to the usual falls - the main falls, the old falls, the five falls and small falls. There are others, but these are the “best bang for the buck”.

But this time, I went with some rich people (and it made all the difference blah blah). We stayed in a better place and had good food. But that’s expected.

We did go to those usual falls during the first 2 days.

Then the weekend came, and so did some thousands of people to the city to enjoy the falls. While it is fun to get drenched in the falls, it is not so when it is crowded. You have to push aside a lot of human flesh to get under the water. To avoid this scenario, the police usually line up people and permit 20 or 30 at a time, for about a minute or two to bath.

Seeing this long queue, one of the rich dudes I came along with, stopped. He decided he wasn’t going to the falls in this situation. He went aside, made a phone call, and came back. He informed us that there’s a paid private waterfalls nearby (named Kundaaru). His (rich) uncle told him about it in the call. So we went there.

Even this kundaaru had people flocking to it. But there are about 7 falls one above the other in the same mountain. Only the last few are paid and the rest are open to public, and the public were on to the freebies like flies on a fruit. But we booked 2 jeeps for Rs 2000 each, for an hours time, to go to the last private falls.

True to the hype till then, the waterfall was one of the best I’ve ever experienced. And we were drenching in tonnes of water for nearly 1.5 hours. And the best part is, there was just one other family sharing the falls with us. So it was just the 2 groups enjoying this falls on a crowded weekend in the whole of Kutralam.

Now, the point I want to make is not about the info he had access to, the private falls etc. It’s not even about the money. Had I known about this in my previous visits, I or my dad would be able to spend as much and enjoy the same. But the big deal here is the fact that this dude wasn’t happy with the regular falls that we went from day 1 when there was but a manageable crowd.

He was like “What is this shit?! It’s so crowded here.” “I don’t like that my dad has to rub shoulders (literally) with a drunk and crass-talking fat guy, just to be able to bath under the water!”. “I don’t like that we have to stand in a queue.” “If everybody can access this, then there’s no point in having money. There should be a better way here. But I just don’t know it yet.” And just as his gut insisted, there indeed was a segment of Kutralam reserved just for the rich.

In a million years I wouldn’t have thought of a similar thought. Nor my dad, who’d spend a lot of money to take along with his family, his brothers/sisters’ family as well. In all the years that we’d gone there, it never occured to us to think about the “private” waterfalls even though we might’ve come across the idea. It was more like a sound heard far off in our heads. We’d just stand in the queue, take the crowd as the status quo, get our butts and balls squished by random dudes while trying to get wet in these regular falls.

I hope you get the picture. The mindset involved I mean.

It would be a life changing experience to be friends with and surrounded by rich people.

(But that’s only if you have faith in yourself that you’ll become rich some day. It won’t work if your mindset is like: “I’m born middleclass, and I’ll die middleclass. I’m glad these rich guys are paying most of the money for my vacation“)

But not all of us get this kind of people around us. Even if we did, we just might not be able to see the opportunity all the time.

Is there any other way to learn the mindset of rich people?

There is, I think. And it’s called private coaching. You get coached (read coaxed) into taking huge life changing actions and into experiencing breakthrough mind shifts. And you’d be made to do these continuously and for a big stretch of time that it would then become a habit. Wouldn’t you want that?

I’m reading a book titled “You are a badass at making money” by Jen Sincero.

She’s just someone who was frustrated because her life didn’t change for the good even when she was 40 years old. So she read everything on how to become rich, made a little progress and then decided she wanted more. One particluar Life Coach’s approach really clicked with her, and she bought and imbibed all of the coach’s material. She felt the improvement. And then wanting more, she looked up on the one-on-one coaching offered by the Life Coach. The only problem there was the price. It was about USD 85,000 for a year of her time to get coached personally. That’s about 58 lac rupees! A house-buying money.

But since she was so damn frustrated and was willing to burn all of her bridges, she decided she wanted that one on one coaching. She somehow got the money - something that’s not small even for US people - and the rest became her personal history.

She mentioned one incident where the coach helped her to stretch her limits. At the time, Jen was making about $2000 per week as a freelance writer. The coach asked her to think of a high number which she’s going to achieve in her next 2 weeks. Jen, after a long thought, came up with $5000. A huge stretch for her. She had never earned that much in a single week. She told the number to the coach. The coach then asked her to double it. Jen was now supposed to earn $10,000 in 2 weeks. The book says a mix of coincidence and a lot of stretch imaginations led her straight to the goal! And now she’s a 6 or 7 figure business owner and had the brass balls to write a book titled “You are a badass at making money”!

Was the $85,000 worth it? What do you think?

Given a chance, would you go for such a thing?

The guy I read most from on personal development is Steve Pavlina. He recently started a private community program. It’s called Conscious Growth Club. The access is for a full year for a price of $1997. That’s about 1,40,000 rupees. I’m seriously considering joining this. I’m even justifying it like this: $1997 < $85,000. But my senses are stopping me from doing it, yet.

Though it’s not a one-on-one program, I can see that it’s a place where growth minded people gather and take action via group 30-day challenges, and a consultation call from Steve once a week. I could do the challenges myself. I am doing them right now. But by myself, I think I might just go easy on myself and won’t stretch myself enough. And a full year of continuously stretching yourself means it would become a habit for me. It would totally change me.

Spending money online has become so easy these days, it’d just take me about 5 minutes to give the card details and press the submit button. But I’m still doubtful about this. Haven’t done anything crazy like this yet. But I’m also frustrated about my life like never before.

Oh wait, I have. I have lost about $10,000 (5,60,000 ruppees) by working for free to some dude for a few months.

Oh wait still, here’s another gold.

3 days ago, I spent $97 (6700 rupees) on a 30 day deep dive course from Steve Pavlina on something titled cringingly as Deep Abundance Integration.

Could you top that?