By Neshmeen Faatimah
At the age of 11, Warren Buffett, the world's third wealthiest man as of 2011, bought his first shares. At 17, Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA using the cash reward his father gave him for succeeding in his studies. By 27, Michael Saul Dell, founder of Dell became the youngest CEO to have his company ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 corporations. Cameron Johnson had started his first business at a tender age of nine. Yes, nine. Most of us aren't even acquainted with money at that age. By the age of 12, he had made $50,000 selling Beanie Baby toys over the internet and by 15, his company was generating $15,000 per day, making him his first million before he even graduated high school. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and its more than 400 companies had his first successful business venture at the age of 16. And everyone is, of course, aware of the social networking story of Mr. Mark Zuckerberg. Fraser Doherty, owner of SuperJam started making and selling homemade jam at the age of 14, his company being worth over an estimated value of $2 million while still in his teens.
Then in stark absolute contrast, we have the young people in our country who seem to be of the notion that they are too young to save or invest in anything as long as they have their parents silver-spoon feeding them. Too young to take the initiative to, or dream of, making a million dollars before they're old enough - while the correct definition of old enough still remains a mystery. Not that their money isn't invested, though. It is. In sheesha lounges and cafes, on branded clothes and iPads. Gifts for their boyfriends and girlfriends. Car modifications. Whatnot whatnot. Or perhaps the lack of interest is due to simpler reasons. Like not having the know-how, being heavily underestimated by society or not having enough opportunities to try out their entrepreneurial skills or enough facilities to build them in the first place. Maybe the people who have the initiative and drive lack the capital and have to face incredible obstacles and the people who have the capital don't have the former two qualities. The society isn't open to such an extent of creativity, for it ends up hampering your studies. And students are meant to study.
On the other end of the spectrum - in the older age group, goes the saying, “It might have been... but now it's too late.” It's when people reach a point in life where they regret not having tried to pursue their dream which just might have brought them millions. Because they were either too afraid of rejection or didn't have a choice. And then upon reaching an age where freedom is available at its maximum, they couldn't make themselves believe that there was no age limit to success. They surely haven't heard the stories of our dear Colonel Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was 66 when he thought of promoting his cooking style and ended up with KFC outlets in over 6000 locations and sales of more than $2 billion before he died. Sylvia Lieberman only realised her dream of having her own children's book published at the age of 90. So she went ahead with it and wrote herself the award winning “Archibald's Swiss Cheese Mountain.”
As for failure, Walt Disney failed a million times before ending up with Disney. Soichiro Honda had been jobless and a failure before being encouraged to start his own business. If you're afraid of failure, you obviously haven't heard the story of Akio Morita. Maybe you've heard of his company - Sony. Sony had started by selling rice cookers that burnt rice rather than cook them and sold less than a 100 units when released. It took Thomas Edison 1000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. And Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was 'unfit for TV.'
Still, there are a few downsides to late successes. Which only knock at your doorstep after you're dead. Like Vincent Van Gogh, who only sold one painting in his life, that too to a friend. He starved himself to continue his over 800 works, which now fetch hundred of millions of dollars each. Poor man.
So, unless you want to be an earless guy who failed to be successful before he died, spend a little less on your spoilers or heels and give your girlfriend/ boyfriend a self made card and a flower instead of that pricey cologne. Invest that money in something, try to do something different. Who knows, you might just become a millionaire before you know it. And if you don't, what's the harm? Your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn't need that cologne anyways.
A Dream of Pudding
A world where the chickens don't cross the road
It was history class again. Like a cat before a nice long snooze, it lazily stretched itself out under the afternoon sun. And in that history class, with a dribble of saliva escaping from his sleeping mouth, was our hero. Mind you, he didn't look particularly hero-like right now. In fact, he didn't even look slightly hero-like. To be absolutely honest, he looked kind of dumb. But, they say, heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
This one came in a rather clumsy package. He was square-shaped, with rectangular arms and legs sticking stoutly out of wherever they pleased. He had a nose like a half-mashed potato, and a voice so thick it was a wonder he didn't choke on it. Also, he looked kind of green.
It was hard not to make fun of someone who resembled a badly-drawn troll. Especially if that someone was also considered to be a bit… er, stupid. And so, to preserve the natural order of things, a paper ball whooshed through the air and landed with a soft crunch in the middle of our hero's face, waking him from his pudding-filled dreams. He let out a grunt, then a snort. Then, with a look of mighty annoyance upon his features, he propped himself up on the table. Right on cue, sniggers filled the air. But our hero was used to this. It was the second time it had happened that day. He gulped down a yawn and looked down at his book.
It was soaking wet. You see, books don't do very well when exposed to saliva. The ink had run, and the pages dripped as he tried to flip them over. He sighed.
Up front, the teacher… um, teached. Our hero squinted slightly and managed to decipher, “AIN-SHENT MI-THI-KAL BU-RDS” scratched onto the blackboard. The funny-looking diagrams that accompanied the caption could have been done by a two-year-old. They were in fact, done by a skinny, lizard-like and fully-grown little man who was squeaking out the day's lesson. This was all the school could cough up as a pitiful excuse for a teacher. He squeaked on.
“The Bird is thought to be what sustained the civilisation before us. Entire industries sprang up, dedicated to the processing of its meat, its eggs. The Bird itself was enough to keep them going.”
Soft snores filled the room. Those that weren't sleeping were scanning the room for another target on which to let loose their paper balls. Normally, our hero would be safely among the former, drooling as he waited for class to be over. But today, he felt different. He had dreamt of something that he'd never eaten in his life. It wasn't uncommon for him to dream of food (he weighed around half a ton, and had seven-and-a-half full, healthy meals every day, so there wasn't much that he missed stuffing into his mouth). But this was no ordinary food. He could taste it now, even after being fully awake. So light… delicious… hypnotising… calling…
“… even more powerful than the phoenix… now if you'd look at page seventy-four…”
The dream stirred something deep inside his very gut. He felt hungry, but not the kind of hungry that he usually felt. It was a hunger for something even bigger than the whole roasted lamb that he had for dinner last night. He couldn't explain it.
It made him do something that he had never done before. He asked a question.
A cloud of stench went up as he slowly raised his hand. His features twisted into a frown, making him look even uglier than he actually was. Griffworth stopped giggling and dropped a paper ball mid-throw. Mr Lizard-like let his book fall on the desk closest to him, making Rismos squeal as it crushed his finger. Then finally, with a lot of thought, “Shur, what happened to da buurd?”
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