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The 3 Essential Ingredients to Success, According to This Multimillionaire

American business guru Marshall Thurber has coached thousands of entrepreneurs over the last four decades. He shared a few nuggets of wisdom with us on his recent visit to Southeast Asia

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BY Cristina Morales - 19 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

“The future belongs to entrepreneurs,” says Marshall Thurber. The world could use more risk-taking innovators, he continues, which is why he provides classes to give them a higher probability of success. Thurber, an acclaimed business leader and mentor with several decades of experience under his belt, knows more than a thing or two about what makes a company successful.

Now, he passes on his wisdom through business workshops. Not a fan of the traditional classroom set-up, Thurber’s classes are more experiential—instead of just lecturing and letting his students take notes, he conducts simulations that allow his students to make mistakes (and learn from them) in a controlled environment.

Success, Thurber tells his students, is all about having the right theory. “Once I understood that people did not necessarily understand the theories that make people successful in business, I was able to teach much more effectively and give people the theories behind adding more value to the world,” he says. What are the essential components to success? Here’s what he has to say.

1. Find your passion

“I don’t think I’ve worked a day in my life,” Thurber says. Success is hard to come by and is practically impossible to achieve if you’re simply going through the motions.

For plenty, finding your passion may be easier said than done. As an exercise, Thurber says that you should ask yourself what you would do with the rest of your life if you had all the money in the world. Perhaps the first thing that pops to mind will be endless days spent at the beach, but lounging around doing nothing gets old fast.

“It’s boring after a week!” says Thurber. “You want to add value, to love, learn, and serve. That’s how you find true fulfilment.”

2. Learn how to leverage

Once you find your passion, you have to figure out how to leverage—achieve more by doing less. Why do professional athletes make so much more money than your average doctor, even though the latter creates more value? Professional athletes have leverage—they’re watched by thousands in stadiums and millions over the television, creating more impact.

The higher your value and the greater your reach, the larger your impact—or the likelihood of financial success—will be.

3. Maintain your integrity

You could make a lot of money with dishonesty, but it’s impossible to have peace when you have no integrity. “The person who pays the price of having no integrity is yourself,” says Thurber. “You have to tell your truth.”

Thurber cautions against confusing integrity with consistency. “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” he says, paraphrasing Ralph Waldo Emerson. “You tell the truth moment by moment, even if it contradicts what you said the day before. If you learn something and you change your mind, then you’ve changed your mind.”

Remember: You either succeed or you learn

“Don’t worry about making mistakes,” says Thurber. “You either succeed or you have a ‘tuition moment.’” Thurber once lost $7.5 million in one day—an event he describes as a “pretty heavy tuition day.”

But he walked away from that day learning that he shouldn’t pursue anything that doesn’t add value and support humanity. “If I do something that’s just running after money, sooner or later, I’m going to lose,” he says. “Some people learn with a feather, and some need to be run over by a tractor trailer and backed over again, and that’s what happened to me.”