Prosper

Create the Life You Really Want

Ethan Willis (Author) | Randy Garn (Author)

Publication date: 10/03/2011

Bestseller over 55,000+ copies sold

Prosper

Outlines six Prosperity Practices and provides concrete actions you can take to put each into practice

  • New York Times Bestseller
  • By the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller The One Minute Entrepreneur
  • Shows how to achieve genuine, satisfying, sustainable prosperity, not simply increase your income
  • Outlines six Prosperity Practices and provides concrete actions you can take to put each into practice

What is true prosperity? Is it simply having enough money? Certainly financial security is necessary for peace of mind. But for many people the pursuit of money stresses and exhausts them so much, it makes peace of mind impossible. And they're always chasing after more-they never feel like they have enough.

True prosperity is when there is no conflict between money and happiness-when you don't have to drag yourself out of bed every morning because the way you make a living is true to who you are. And when your way of life is sustainable, you don't fall victim to the boom/crash syndrome that afflicts so many people because you know exactly what you need to be happy and have a plan to achieve it.

For the past twelve years Ethan Willis and Randy Garn have helped tens of thousands of people find their own personal path to prosperity. After nearly 11 million hours of personal coaching observation in eighty countries, they've developed six Prosperity Practices that will enable you to create a life that is rich, rewarding, and renewing.

You begin by focusing on what you have, not on what you do not-you'll be sur- prised what you find once you shift your way of thinking. A key part of this process is determining what Willis and Garn call your "Polaris Point": a precise description of the life you want and what you need to sustain it. This becomes your own private North Star, guiding all your actions and keeping you from chasing after things you don't really want or need. Then you'll discover how to leverage your passions, experi- ence, and expertise to generate the income you require to reach your Polaris Point.

Although you'll find much to reflect on here, Prosper is an action guide-at the end of each chapter, Willis and Garn provide concrete steps you can take to make each of the Prosperity Practices a reality. Soon your life will be aligned with the core of your being, you will have a deep understanding of what you need to be happy, and you'll know how to hold to that vision-and you will truly prosper.

 

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Overview

Outlines six Prosperity Practices and provides concrete actions you can take to put each into practice

  • New York Times Bestseller
  • By the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller The One Minute Entrepreneur
  • Shows how to achieve genuine, satisfying, sustainable prosperity, not simply increase your income
  • Outlines six Prosperity Practices and provides concrete actions you can take to put each into practice

What is true prosperity? Is it simply having enough money? Certainly financial security is necessary for peace of mind. But for many people the pursuit of money stresses and exhausts them so much, it makes peace of mind impossible. And they're always chasing after more-they never feel like they have enough.

True prosperity is when there is no conflict between money and happiness-when you don't have to drag yourself out of bed every morning because the way you make a living is true to who you are. And when your way of life is sustainable, you don't fall victim to the boom/crash syndrome that afflicts so many people because you know exactly what you need to be happy and have a plan to achieve it.

For the past twelve years Ethan Willis and Randy Garn have helped tens of thousands of people find their own personal path to prosperity. After nearly 11 million hours of personal coaching observation in eighty countries, they've developed six Prosperity Practices that will enable you to create a life that is rich, rewarding, and renewing.

You begin by focusing on what you have, not on what you do not-you'll be sur- prised what you find once you shift your way of thinking. A key part of this process is determining what Willis and Garn call your "Polaris Point": a precise description of the life you want and what you need to sustain it. This becomes your own private North Star, guiding all your actions and keeping you from chasing after things you don't really want or need. Then you'll discover how to leverage your passions, experi- ence, and expertise to generate the income you require to reach your Polaris Point.

Although you'll find much to reflect on here, Prosper is an action guide-at the end of each chapter, Willis and Garn provide concrete steps you can take to make each of the Prosperity Practices a reality. Soon your life will be aligned with the core of your being, you will have a deep understanding of what you need to be happy, and you'll know how to hold to that vision-and you will truly prosper.

 

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Ethan Willis



Ethan Willis is the CEO of Prosper and has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2005 and as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs by Vspring. His work in the field of entrepreneurship has been featured in such media as BusinessWeek, USA Today, and CNBC. He is coauthor of the #1 New York Times Business bestselling book The One Minute Entrepreneur with his friend and mentor Ken Blanchard. He is an Alumni of BYU and Harvard Business School.


Visit Author Page - Randy Garn

Randy Garn is the co-founder and President of Prosper, Inc. a thriving company in the areas of direct-to-consumer marketing and training in real estate investing, small business/entrepreneur education, e-commerce, Internet development, and stock investing. He previously served as the company's president for more than seven years, overseeing the business during the beginning phases of the company's growth. He co-founded this with the other Young Alumni honoree, Ethan Willis.

He was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2005. Randy was recently named Utah Entrepreneur of the Year and was a finalist for National Entrepreneur of the year.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Your Prosperity Assessment

Introduction: The Path to Prosperity Isn't What You Think It Is

Chapter 1: Locate Your Polaris Point

Chapter 2: Live In Your Prosperity Zone

Chapter 3: Earn From Your Core

Chapter 4: Start With What You Already Have

Chapter 5: Commit to Your Prosperity Path

Chapter 6: Take Profound Action

Chapter 7: Prosperity in Motion

Conclusion: Renew Your Prosperity

References

Acknowledgments

Index

About Prosper

About the Authors

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Excerpt

Prosper

INTRODUCTION

The Path to Prosperity
Isn’t What You Think It Is

The journey to prosperity is like driving a car at night.
You can only see as far as the headlights, but you
make the whole trip that way
.

—unknown

Much of what we are taught about prosperity and how we achieve it is just plain wrong.

Human beings have pursued prosperity since the dawn of civilization. Achingly few have achieved it. More recently, its pursuit has become an industry. There are thousands of books, courses, programs, and videos that promise to create prosperity. Yet for most of us, the path to prosperity seems bumpier than ever.

Today’s financial turmoil has shaken everyone’s conception of prosperity. Parents are concerned that their children will be unable to attain the same level of prosperity as they have. Everyone in this economy is facing challenges, whether it is college students starting their careers, middle managers trying to get ahead, entrepreneurs hoping to launch a business, or workers getting ready for retirement. All face harsh realities of employment, advancement, compensation, and job security.

WHAT IS PROSPERITY?

Now, before we go much further, let’s try to define what we’re talking about. What exactly do we mean by prosperity?

The first question we ask our students is to define prosperity. Probably every one of our students has a unique definition of prosperity. That’s as it should be since everyone has a different definition of what a prosperous life would mean for them.

Here’s just a sampling of how people we have surveyed around the world defined prosperity.

Lisa Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just having money or things.

Deepak Prosperity means having the time and financial freedom to enjoy life at your own leisure.

Javier Being in the flow, having what you need at the time you need it.

Pearl The ability to achieve personal growth and financial security without sacrificing family and health.

Dieter Not living paycheck to paycheck. Not having to worry about money for bills.

Monique Prosperity is a blend of health, wealth, familial fulfillment, and personal self satisfaction, blended correctly and in balance and harmony.

Tom To be able to do what I want, when I want.

Maria Prosperity includes making the best of what you have, accepting the physical conditions that you can’t change while working toward good health, giving of yourself to family and friends, working with our community to help those in need, being true to your religion, with enough finances to live comfortably.

Larry Being debt free with the ability to pay cash for everything and to have cash available for emergency situations.

Jann Living a rich life, one of love and compassion, wealth and complete joy, one of caring and sharing, filled with laughter and exploration; the joy of loving a child; seeing the world and its wonders—to be able to do this in life is prosperity.

Pat The ability to weather all storms of life—financial or physical—and to assist friends to cope with their struggles by financially coming alongside them and helping them rise above the tumult.

We noticed many commonalities. Many of the definitions included terms such as money, wealth, income, security, savings, health, family, and friends. We were struck by how many of the definitions of prosperity included the word love. It was also heartening to see how many definitions included service to others, volunteering, serving the community, and other selfless acts.

Now It’s Your Turn

Here’s your chance to come up with a working definition of prosperity, one that works uniquely for you.

Go ahead, you try it. What does prosperity mean to you? Take a minute to think about it. Write down a sentence or two. We’ll wait. And please don’t worry about pinning yourself down. We’re not going to hold you to what you come up with now. Later in the book, you will have a chance to revisit the question. It should be interesting to see how your perspective on prosperity shifts after you have read this book.

PROSPERITY DEFINED

We see prosperity as multidimensional. When you are happy, when you have enough money and are at peace with how you are earning that money, this leads to the sustainable state that we describe as prosperity. Balancing these three things—money, happiness, plus sustainability—leads to prosperity. The prosperity that we value depends on creating an income consistent with our inner selves, our core selves; without that, no amount of external compensation can fully make us happy.

Our definition is represented by the following equation:

MONEY + HAPPINESS + SUSTAINABILITY = PROSPERITY

These are terms with lots of meanings. Let us tell you what we mean by money, happiness, and sustainability in the context of prosperity.

Money

Money is important, no doubt about it. We subscribe to the notion that while money isn’t everything, it is an indispensable component of prosperity. Money is not, as has been asserted, the root of all evil. It is the want of money that is the problem, and by “want” we are talking of both the desperation for and the constant unfilled need for money. The lesson of history is that it’s the love of money above what we truly value that creates misery.

Money is a key concept of this book. If it weren’t, then it might as well just be another book about happiness. This book is not about happiness—it is about how money interacts with our lives and how we spend our days and efforts earning it. This book is less about a means to an end and more about the means and whether your true potential and passions are being fully engaged in the process. Once they are, we are convinced that more money will come and you will be able to sustain your efforts and be happiest.

By money, we mean income sufficient to support your goals. Earning enough money is absolutely essential to our concept of prosperity. Earning money is the difference between a business and a hobby. We believe it is possible to be happy with a hobby, but it takes income to generate and sustain prosperity.

The big question, of course, is, How much money is enough to ensure sustainable prosperity? The answer: Enough to support your financial dreams in a way that honors your deeply held values and principles but not so much that your money distracts or alienates you from those very values and principles. The trick is to make your work feel more like an activity you enjoy than an activity you dread.

Happiness

For the purposes of this book, we are including under the general concept of happiness the following elements:

• State of mind—having positive feelings about ourselves and the world

• Authenticity—living life consistent with our deepest beliefs, values, and principles, and knowing that our earnings are aligned with our passions and purpose

• Commitment—adhering to what we most value, such as family and relationships

• Health and wellness—pursuing a prosperity that supports complete health in mind and body

It is beyond the scope of this book to summarize all that has been written about happiness. Here’s how it looks to us. When we jump out of bed ready to live the day as fully and completely as we can, when we make money doing what we enjoy, when we are living a life consistent with our beliefs, when we are satisfied with our relationships, when we are in touch with our health, when we are moving forward to realize our dreams, that’s happiness.

Sustainability

We believe that sustainability is the third and most overlooked component of prosperity. The concept of sustainability in the context of wealth is elastic and in flux, but we think that if you can answer “yes” to these four questions, the prosperity you seek is more likely sustainable than not.

1. Can I feel good about it? People rightly get anxious when the money they make comes from doing something outside their comfort zone. Sustainable prosperity comes when we align our earnings with what motivates us and gives our lives meaning. When we love the work we do because we care about it, we become more attentive to detail, more committed to excellence, and more productive. After all, if you love what you’re doing, it’s not work. More importantly, working from your core shields you from being defeated by the occasional setback or failure.

2. Can I sustain the work required over the long term? Basically, do you have the passion and interest to keep at it for years and decades? Burning out or destroying your health by doing something that saddles you down is not a long-term solution, and any prosperity you generate using such approaches eventually evaporates. If you wake up each day in dread of going to work, in the long run you won’t be good at your job, and you won’t be as successful. Someone who is passionate about the work will likely outperform you.

3. Is the prosperity I contemplate ethical, beneficial to others, and environmentally sound? Success can no longer be measured by economic profit alone. You also need to ask whether it is ethical, moral, and of value to others. Is your ethical compass pointing true north? Only wealth that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is sustainable wealth.

4. Does it offer lasting value? There’s no room in sustainable prosperity for get-rich-quick schemes or flash-in-the-pan opportunities. Sustainable prosperity is based on the law of the harvest, the deliberate concentration of the life you want. And not just for you, but also for the communities in which you work and live.

PROSPER FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Most people think of prosperity as an external event, something outside their control, something that happens to them, like an inheritance or winning a lottery.

Is that the way you think about prosperity? In such an externally driven state of identity, life seems uncertain and fragile. Everything that happens to us defines who we are. We become our circumstances. The more we envision prosperity as something that exists “out there,” as something to be dominated, the less likely it will satisfy us. It will be as if we wrestled a fine suit of clothes to the ground only to find that it just doesn’t fit very well.

We have a neighbor who just came back from a whirlwind vacation. He visited ten European countries in as many days. “I did Italy in one day,” he boasted. We agree that he “did” Italy, but what did Italy do to him? How was he changed? Was his perspective altered in any way? What does he have to show for his collision with a different language and culture? He may have happened on Italy, but did Italy in any meaningful sense happen on him? Our neighbor is satisfied with his vacation, and we have no wish to criticize him. But for us, prosperity is a pursuit—not just a stop along your path through life. This book is designed to help you achieve the kind of prosperity that’s sustainable over a lifetime.

NOT ALL POLARIS POINTS ARE HONORED

People who ignore their Polaris Point do so at peril of their health, happiness, and prosperity. A good example of this is a very talented songwriter we’ll call Jessica. She not only has a passion for song writing but has a real aptitude for it. One of her first songs was selected and recorded by a leading country artist. Jessica received over $1,000 for that song, plus royalties, and she says it was the sweetest money she has ever earned. We think that she has more than enough natural talent to compete with the best songwriters in Nashville and make a decent living doing what she loves.

But to pursue her Polaris Point, Jessica would have to take a leap and quit her job.

Jessica is not yet ready to do that. She is currently working at an insurance company, in a secure job with a salary of about $35,000 per year. She has health insurance, paid holidays, and other benefits. The job meets her financial needs—but those are the only needs it meets. Jessica is miserable chained to a desk. All she wants to do is write songs, mingle with musicians, and be part of the Nashville professional music scene. She fantasizes about writing a hit song, and then she goes back to the task at hand. She realizes that the gap between what she most wants and what she is willing to settle for is eating her up. Jessica regrets every day she fails to follow her Polaris Point, but so far she has not acted.

THE PROSPERITY JOURNEY STARTS
WITH QUESTIONS

These are just some of the questions this book asks you to consider. You can answer these questions by yourself, but some people find it easier to do with a partner. Make sure to write your answers down.

1. What does my ideal lifestyle look like?

2. How much money do I need to maintain my ideal lifestyle?

3. What can I do to improve the most important relationships in my life?

4. How important is a sense of physical well-being?

5. How much exercise do I need each week?

6. What can I do to improve myself?

7. What can I do to improve my self-image and self-confidence?

8. How do I see my spiritual relationship to prosperity?

9. What makes me happiest? Why?

10. How much do I value an environmentally sustainable life?

We listen very carefully to what our students say about what they value. But sometimes we can’t hear what our students are telling us because their actions are so loud. In the most extreme cases, we sometimes say, “Don’t tell us what you value. Show us your credit card statement, and we’ll tell you what you value.”

DOES MONEY MAKE YOU HAPPIER?

Perhaps the central belief most common to our students is that high income is directly associated with happiness. It seems to them that the more money they have, the happier and more satisfied they will be. We’ve learned that it does little good to challenge this belief, even though we know it is not always the rule.

The most certain thing we can say about wealth and happiness is that money does indeed make one happier, but only to the extent that people can meet their basic needs, such as food and housing. In other words, if a person is in poverty—lacking enough food to eat, decent housing, and transportation—and feels unhappy about it, then certainly money will contribute to happiness. When happiness is related to basic human needs, there’s nothing better than money to ensure happiness.

But that relationship quickly breaks down when one’s basic needs are satisfied. After that, measured happiness levels change very little as incomes grow over time.

MORE THAN MONEY

Prosperity is always about a determination to change one’s situation, and almost always that determination has something to do with money. We respect this relationship. Determination and money certainly go together. We think the pursuit of money is commendable and respectable. It is one’s intentions that need the greater inspection.

At the same time, prosperity is about more than just financial success. Of those who actually achieve financial success, we have seen that the victory is often short-lived, inconsistent, or anticlimactic. At the same time, we have coached some people to create lives of breathtaking wealth, balance, and, yes, grace. We call this sustainable prosperity.

The following story illustrates the power of how people see the world in a different light when they are in touch with their true values.

In the wake of a terrible hurricane that did a lot of damage to coastal communities in North Carolina, a beach geologist was being interviewed. The reporter asked him what hurricanes do to beaches. Now, most people know the answer to that question. Hurricanes are very destructive. Beaches are torn up, and residents get very upset. At one point during the interview, the geologist said, “You know, I can’t wait to get out on those beaches again as soon as this storm has passed.”

“What do you expect to find out there?” the interviewer asked.

Before reading further, how would you answer the question? After a destructive hurricane, what would you look for?

Here’s what the geologist said: “I expect to find a new beach.”

What would it mean if we looked at change as that beach geologist does, where we look beyond our current way of thinking? Where we could celebrate the newness that was just revealed rather than grieve for what was lost? The story reminds us that too often we are surprised by change in a way that makes it impossible for us to welcome it. We actually see newness as a stumbling block to our plans.

We invite you to equate reading this book with a fresh look at a brand new beach in your life. Look at it as a brand new view of how money and happiness are balanced in your life.

JOIN US FOR THE PROSPERITY JOURNEY

The best way to determine your definition of prosperity is to be crystal clear in your own mind about what a life of prosperity looks like for you. The more detailed you can be about your circumstances, desires, and goals, the closer your definition will be. This is not just an academic exercise. Based on watching thousands of students working to realize their visions of prosperity, we can tell you that the more clearly you can articulate what exactly prosperity means to you, the more likely it is that you will achieve it.

To each reader, we want you to know it is our life’s work to help you Prosper. We look forward to being your guides on your journey to prosperity. We invite you to define it, create it, and live it!

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Endorsements

“Ethan and Randy have developed a nearly 500-person company that has helped people all around the world find their own path to prosperity. With the action-oriented wisdom they have accumulated distilled simply in this easy-to-read book, Prosper is your opportunity to liberate yourself toward the work and life you've always dreamed of. I know, because they are helping me, too!”
—Dr. Mark S. Albion, author of the New York Times bestseller Making a Life, Making a Living, Indiana University Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation's 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and cofounder Net Impact

“If you want to have your bank account, business, and relationships
prosper—read this book!”
—Darren Hardy, Publisher, Success magazine and bestselling author of The Compound Effect

“The message of
Prosper demonstrates the leadership of the authors in their commitment to helping people create the life they really want. The practical and immediately useful approach will guide people onto their path to prosperity and help them follow it!
—Stedman Graham, Chairman and CEO, S. Graham & Associates and bestselling author of You Can Make It Happen and Teens Can Make It Happen

“Ethan Willis and Randy Garn provide an action guide on how to achieve and sustain prosperity while finding the appropriate balance between money and happiness. Throughout the book, they offer six practices—each exemplified by entertaining and applicable stories, exercises, and insights—that help transform your attitude and get the life you always knew you wanted.”
—Anthony Scaramucci, founder and Manager Partner of SkyBridge Capital and author of Goodbye Gordon Gekko

Prosper is a practical guide, detailing the concrete steps you can take to align your life with the core of your being. Follow this action plan and you'll come away with a deep understanding of what you need to be happy—and truly prosper.”
—Robert Allen, bestselling author of Multiple Streams of Income, Creating Wealth, and Nothing Down and coauthor of The One Minute Millionaire

“Ethan and Randy's book makes us recognize while we all work to prosper, few of us actually achieve
and maintain prosperity. A great reminder to keep looking in the mirror and strive to prosper. Saddle up for a great read!”
—Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, change agent, sometime cowboy, and author of the bestseller The Mirror Test

Prosper is a must-read practical guidebook that will give you the inspiration to become the person you want to be.”
—Rudy Ruettiger, author, speaker, and inspiration for the 1993 movie Rudy

“The best book I've ever seen on how to prosper in all areas of your life. It's a masterpiece.”
—Dr. Joe Vitale, author of the international bestseller The Attractor Factor and the bestseller Attract Money Now

“This book shows you a wonderful series of strategies to help you to prosper in every area of your life, to achieve greatly in your financial life, your family relationships, your personal health, and everything you do.”
—Brian Tracy, bestselling author of The Way to Wealth

“Ethan and Randy are the real deal. They have perfected the business model of helping others achieve wealth and fulfillment, and this book will help you get clear on how you can create a life you love.”
—Robert Richman, cohost, Zappos Insights

“Ethan Willis and Randy Garn have nailed it with this book!
Prosper is a no-nonsense action guide to financial peace of mind that will help you go to the next level. Their Polaris Point concept will enable one to stay on point and achieve more than ever. Read this book and prosper!”
—Don Hutson, CEO, U.S. Learning, Inc., and coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers The One Minute Entrepreneur and The One Minute Negotiator

Prosper explains precisely how to get more of what you desire in life. Ethan Willis and Randy Garn have distilled the essence of their work into a straightforward system anyone can use to achieve more and be more.”
—Mark Sanborn, President, Sanborn & Associates, Inc., and author of The Fred Factor and You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader

“This book will sharpen your focus and help you in business, investments, and advancement. Take a few minutes. It is worth it.”
—David Kotok, CEO, Cumberland Advisors

“Prosper is the perfect book for these uncertain times. You'll thank Ethan Willis and Randy Garn for their practical guide to your own path to achieving the life you want. It's never too late to Prosper!”
— Harvey Mackay, author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

“Prosper gives you the concrete steps you can take to align your life with the core of your being. Follow this plan and you'll be happy—and truly prosper.”
--
T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

Prosper calls on you to challenge the self-limiting beliefs, attitudes, or habits that have kept you from realizing your dreams. By following the action plan detailed in the book, you'll tap into your full potential and achieve the life you want.”
--Bavid Dach, author of The Manual Millionaire

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