The Five Core Lessons of "The Memo"

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

The Five Core Lessons of "The Memo"

John Hope Bryant's latest book, The Memo, argues that the tools of our financial salvation are already in our own hands--waiting to be used. The key is to recognize ourselves as the architects of our success, not beholden to nor victims of outside circumstances. That is not to say that there aren't adverse circumstances around us at all times, only that we do have the tools to build something for ourselves despite their existence.

There are five crucial lessons John talks about in his book which are crucial to financial independence:

1. Embrace the free enterprise system: We are all active participants in the game of free enterprise because everything we touch, see, and consume was paid for in one way or another. Business and enterprise is everywhere you look and the point is to recognize its omnipresence and to go from being a passive participant to an actual active player within the system.

2. Your mindset determines financial gain (or loss): How you view yourself is the key to how you can profit from yourself. For as long as you undermine and question your own abilities, you will remain poor. And if you live with optimism and energy, that will compel you to seek out new avenues and resources; wealth then follows. Options and opportunities are all around us, the point is to have the right mindset to see them.

3. Your relationships are investments: The people you choose to spend time with influence how you look at the world and what is possible. If you spend time with people who are unmotivated and not eager to act, you, too, will become like them. Hang out with people who are driven, successful, and motivated--and you'll become like them. It's social engineering--our communities and colleagues are who we model ourselves on.

4. Don't just get a job, be entrepreneurial. There's nothing wrong with working for someone else, but you must also recognize that your independence is only as strong as your link to your employer. On the other hand, working for oneself is risky, problematic, full of pitfalls, and stressful. But someone who is entrepreneurial will get up earlier, stay up later, think more intently, be more focused, behave more creatively, communicate more intentionally, and re-imagine everything. They want a purpose in and for their lives and not just a gig or a job to show up to. You will never experience that level of independence and strength working for someone else.

5. Own your power: If you measure your power in terms of money, then you are not owning it--it owns you. True wealth is about taking your life back. Owning yourself and conducting yourself in such a manner that shows you are the master of your fate.