Five Economic Lessons

by | Jan 26, 2001 | Archives

Thank you for the many wonderful replies about the economic lessons learned from farmer Bob’s plight. These were wonderful ideas and they were all right! In fact the point I had hoped to achieve was that there are hundreds of lessons we can learn from every situation. You can read a few of the replies that readers sent at the foot of this special message.

However the five lessons I was reminded of were:


  1. Action is thy duty – reward not thy concern. If you keep giving you really will succeed. Bob has taken the right step by trying to keep moving forward despite his challenges. Don’t ever give up. Just keep trying to do what seems right and learn from your mistakes. Success will prevail.
  2. Always keep business relationships, businesslike, even when you are dealing with friends. I am one of the worst violators of this law and have learned the hard way that keeping things well organized, clearly defined in writing and supported by correct agreements, collateral, etc. is just good communication. When you add a business relationship to a friendship, or family relative you are adding a new dimension that needs to be clearly defined. You should appraise all the risks entailed in advance. So if the friend or relative dies or walks out or fails to perform, your losses are not a surprise.
  3. Don’t bet the farm on a business deal with others that entails risk unless you are willing to let go of the farm if the risk becomes a real loss. Calculate what you have to win and lose.
  4. Don’t be a victim. Bob has many events in his life that have been beyond his control. In such instances one can start to feel that the world is against one. This is never the case. We live in a perfect universe. All is in order and what is happening has a value, even when it brings pain. But if we start to feel victimized we get used to blaming others for our success or failure. Always take responsibility for your life even when it seems that others are in control of you. They are not unless you allow them to be. If you have had bad luck, bad relationships with parents, terrible spouses, mean siblings, or unfair treatment from authorities, get over it.
  5. The world is infinitely abundant. Bob outlined his problem and already tow people have been of enormous help. I offered him a scholarship to my $2,000 course and another reader spontaneously agreed to pay for Bob’s room at the course. All Bob has to do is get there.

I am also reminded of a sixth lesson. One has to act and take risks. We haven’t heard from Bob yet since giving him the scholarship and offering the free room. He won’t be able to work through this bend in the road if he does not keep moving forward.

I hope that your life is always faced with pleasant challenges, but good or bad if we can help, please get in touch. Until next message, I wish you good global investing!


Dear Gary,

Thank you for your latest thoughts. These are the economic lessons that immmediately come to my mind that one can learn from in Bob’s endevours:

1) Proceed diligently and be realistic with yourself in evaluating the cashflow requirements of any project you take up. Many businesses nowadays fail because of the lack of cash even though they may be highly profitable.

2) Take calculated risks and plan for contingency in case certain anticipated scenarios do materialise. You cannot plan for everything, but anticipate all you can before you start. A plan is better than having no plan at all. No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan.

3) You are where you are today as a result of yesterday’s decisions and you will be where you are tommorrow as a result of today’s decisions. Take pride in knowing where you are today is a consequence of the actions you have proactively taken by your own volition to your best interests. Successes, struggles and failures need to be owned and the responsibility taken whichever it may be. Even though at times you may have been wrong or perhaps have defaulted, we still continue to have the almighty power to carve our own destinies. Despite our infallibilities, unless we set out to succeed and risk failure, we never get to know either and end up living in the twighlight that knows neither and end up wondering if we ever lived at all.

4) Integrity in general and particularly in business deals will always be rewarded. To honour your obligations is the noblest activity. Always look at the positives and be content with the fact that you done everything within your power to make it happen even though by no cause of your own, it didn’t work out

5) Risk is always there, we can attempt to reduce it as much as possible, but at the end of the day we can either procced to trust others until proven otherwise, or choose alternatively to trust no one until proven otherwise. I think the earlier option allows you to hold a benevolent perspective of fellow man and the latter option tends to be based on a premise of a malevolent view. It’s better to live life with a benevolent view of fellow man even though the few rotton apples will still exist that you do expose yourself to once in a while.

6) Always save a portion of your income (15-20%) for future needs what ever they may be. This may be personal planning or delayed gratification, but also is a back up fund for emergency situations.

Dear Gary:

These are the lessons which I see in what was written by the farmer. He believes that God will show him a way if he just looks for it. (Publishing may just be it.)

God works through many different channels and people to redirect us into something which fits God’ plans. God is more powerful than man or temporary setbacks and will provide a way if we listen and work. Remember much of the Bible and the Old Testament is about economics and government.

The farmer does not see that he has great worth, nor has he fully grasped that he needs to seek his talents and follow both God’s plan and his own heart to be successful and happy. Money is not everything. That “goodwill” is present although somewhat unfocused – he wants to pay what he considers his just debts . A way will present itself. But he has not used all the “goodwill” available to him and his mother properly. If he has raised 22 kids and his mother even more these kids are out on their own. Surely some would help both with materials or money and with labor and talent if he and his mother ask.

Pride goes before the fall. He should ask those he and his mother have previously helped. His own children and his own brothers and sisters should also be asked to help where they can. The way is in plain sight but pride blinds him.

You or I must realize that we will have to deal with problems sometimes which are not of our own making. There must be a plan to repair or replace things like old houses long before they are falling in. If it had not been neglected it would have been easier. Had it been started long ago it would have been a smaller problem and less expensive. Remember the old saying ,” a stitch in time saves nine.”

Still the building of the house should not have been started unless either enough could be set aside to finish it completely or a plan to finance it was firmly in place. Do not start what you cannot finish. You cannot depend on anyone to do what is expected. He dad left, his son got the police to hate him for something, his friend ran off with the business money and of all those children they raised none are helping him overcome the problems. Envy and hatred do not die easily and seek for ways to manifest. It is better never to give reason for someone to hate. But if envy or hatred do exist it must be expected to cause problems whenever the opportunity arises.

There will be setbacks and the unexpected. When possible they should be anticipated and prepared for…. such as fire extinguishers in case of fire in the home.

Take the measure of those with whom you deal whenever you can. Do not place tempation in front of people or be prepared for them to fall. There are few true and reliable friends, most have their price.

That should cover it. A personal note : I have a friend of many years who was sent on a business negotiation where it was possible to cheat the company greatly without it being discovered. He was gone two weeks when we got this message: ” Get me out of here. They are getting dangerously near my price.” The company did.

He did not yield to the temptation and was rewarded, he retired happy and rich from the same company.

1) No one is faceless, everyone is of value and of importance.

2) Giving is always greater than taking. The Givers and the Takers.

3) The Law of Karma is at play in everything we do.

4) Our Experiences and principles in Life is our greatest wealth and more so than all the money in the world.

5) Always keep on the lookout for “signs” or “directions” that life may take us.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to really think this “story” over of the farmer in Ohio to use as an example for your upcoming course in the “Five Vital Economic Lessions.” There are alot of us, out there in this world like the farmer who have given much to our families and communities who could use a helping hand. Stories like these, gives us food for thought for us to place in our hearts. I will give the what I think the 5 principles(or lessons) the author may be trying to teach us.

Principle #1: No one is faceless, everyone is of value and of importance. No matter how down we may get or how bad things may get, we must not ever let it lower our expectations or values of life. Everyone has something in life to contribute. On the other side of the coin, no matter how good things are we must not forget that we are no more important than the next person(keeping humble)

Principle #2: Giving is always greater than taking. I was told once by a good friend that there are two people in life: The Givers and the Takers. Life is much more rewarding when one is a giver. My own experiences in life has proven this over and over again. This also includes giving to ourselves as well for having a well balanced life of giving is important(being good to ourselves is an example).

Principle #3: The Law of Karma is at play in everything we do in life. Some people may not understand this term but basically its nothing more than “cause and effect” at its perfect balance. Consider yourself lucky if you can see this principle in your everyday actions of others and yourself. This is true wisdom and a important law of life(law of balance). Understanding this law, explains alot of what we often dont understand in life when things go wrong.

Principle #4: Our greatest wealth in life is our experiences and understanding of this. This is far more important than all the money in the world. Money is nothing more than a medium to enable us to further our experiences in other avenues of life as well as our current position in life. In the farmer’s case, his great experience in life is many but having housed and raised 30 kids in his current life is something to listen to. This farmer has many stories and tales to tell. That is great wealth to me!

Principle #5: Always keep on the Lookout for “signs” for they are the directions that life has to offer. My personal experience of this proves this to be very true. The farmer mentioned being guided to this course as a sign of something he should be considering. I hope he does take up this sign and opportunity. I know this may sound a little corny, but sometimes my dreams when I wake up gives me “signs” of where I should be “aiming” for.

Im not much of a writer here but I hope this sheds some light of where I think the authur is aiming at.