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There are no free lunches, no silver bullets and no secret fountains of money

There are no free lunches, no silver bullets and no secret fountains of moneyDuring good times, Americans have consistently thought they had it all figured out. Somehow we forget that we’ve had short-term success in the past that didn’t work out very well.

In the mid-1920s, mid-1980s, late 1990s and mid-2000s, many Americans thought buying stocks would automatically move them up the economic ladder. The greatest piece of business advice I’ve ever learned is “there ain’t no free lunch.” In the late 1890s people thought finding gold in Alaska was the key and in the late 1990s people thought buying dot-com “gold” was the answer.

Don’t ever assume that a stock purchase, a good relationship with your boss, a degree from the “right” university or employment at a “great” company will ensure your long-term greatness. It won’t.

The stock market collapses in 1929, 1987, 2000 and 2008 have shown what goes up doesn’t necessarily always continue to go up. Many executives in the financial industry from 2003-2007 thought they had figured out a way to turn bad loans into great products until one day they found out that wasn’t a secret fountain of money either.

When your great day of success shows up, don’t waste any energy thinking you have it all figured out. Keep striving to get better. Success just means you have a better foundation to work off of for the future. It doesn’t mean you have a guaranteed incredible future.

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