This is the fifth step in breaking the Rich/Poor barrier.
This chapter is about the chance discovery of an opportunity. It’s about how such unusual opportunities are often hidden, like a “Treasure hid in a field”. It’s about how important it is to keep that opportunity close to your heart until you have the resources to own it, lest someone with more immediate cash should take advantage of the opportunity first. For those who are relatively poor such an opportunity represents a once in a lifetime turning point, one that provides a way to once and for all break through the Rich/Poor barrier.
Consider the man in this parable. He had to give up everything he owned, selling all his possessions in order to purchase that field with the “hidden” treasure. For someone rich it would only take a small portion of their wealth to buy that same field; it certainly wouldn’t require any sacrifice. But, for someone poor it often requires the sacrifice of what they've become attached to, their own hard won possessions. I am sure this man in the parable, like most humans, had possessions that were given to him by parents, relatives and friends. Most likely he was married and some of those possessions were given to his wife. There are often sentimental values attached to many of our possessions. But the parable says that for the joy of his discovery he sold ALL that he had, because that is what it took to buy that field. That is what it took to free himself and his family from spending the rest of their lives struggling to survive.
Jesus gave us this parable to set us free, both spiritually and economically. The human tendency is to hold onto the little that one has, in the hope of at least having something to pass on. But remember those natural laws that the Rich will get Richer (the Law of Attraction) and the Poor will have what little they possess taken away (the Law of Subtraction). That's why it's necessary for a poor person to be willing to sacrifice, to take a far greater risk, regardless of whether or not their personality type is that of an early adopter/risk taker. As mentioned in the first chapter, “Not all of us think of ourselves as risk takers, but I can assure you we were ALL born to take risks”. This means that even though 90% of us are not early adopters by choice, preferring what is safe and sure over what is untried and risky, everyone is capable of taking a risk when it's vital to their survival. The only requirement for this to happen is a willing heart and a conscious seeking for that one breakthrough opportunity, that one “treasure hid in the field” that can break the yoke of bondage to debt and poverty.
Think about it. Why do so many of the poor (and middle class poor) play the lottery? Because they believe their only way out of poverty is by chance rather than by choice. Their experience of limited finances is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They believe there is nothing they can do to change their situation because that is the way it's always been. They lack the faith to believe in what they cannot see. They lack the training that would enable them to create their own business and persevere till it's eventual success. Many have already tried to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and failed; some again and again. I am living proof of that sentence you just read. And though I was able to pull myself up a little higher for awhile, the truth of Jesus’ statement would come back to haunt me during my early business ventures… you know, the one in Luke 19 that says, “and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him..”
But, if you don’t even own the bootstraps necessary to pull yourself up, how can you pull yourself up by your bootstraps? (See Chapter 3, for my “Bootstraps List”). When I read about or saw biographical videos on those who “succeeded”, who started out with nothing or next to nothing and yet were able to rise to the top, I was inspired but frustrated. What was I doing wrong, or more importantly, what were those who succeeded doing that I wasn’t?
Often their life stories reveal the element of luck. Many were just in the right place at the right time or had the right contacts. Others had a rich relative from whom they obtained their seed money loan. But though there is always some element of luck, it still couldn't explain why I, and so many like me, failed multiple times.
I finally uncovered one common element in all those success stories: they were all able to recognize a great opportunity and, once recognized, they willingly put everything they could into it. They liquidated monetary assets, sold possessions, unloaded real estate, begged relatives, or borrowed against everything they presently owned. In short, they were passionate to the point of giving up everything for the vision of success they believed was theirs.
“OK”, one might say (tongue in cheek), “If I ever find a treasure hid in a field I’ll be sure to go and sell everything I can in order to purchase that field.” Ah, but here’s the rub, Jesus is not talking just about a treasure buried in a field, he’s speaking to us about opportunities that lie buried all around us, if only we would seek after them. The truth is, most of us have either failed to recognize those hidden treasures or our “significant other” has talked us out of them! Most of us can look back and see opportunities that have enriched those around us, which we somehow failed to recognize, right? Don’t you remember getting some great idea, or coming up with a solution to an on-the-job problem, or getting a spark of genius for some invention no one’s ever thought of? I know I have and I’d venture to say that many of you reading this have also. Then, months or years later, you see that someone else has become a millionaire with “your” idea! The only difference between those who have a good idea and those who got rich off their idea, is that the person who got rich believed they could make it happen and did!
Just today I was watching one of my favorite TV programs. "Out of the Box", with Mike Hegedus which airs on CNBC (at the ungodly hour of 5:30am Sunday morning). The program showcases many American business success stories in the course of an hour and I was struck in particular with this one couple’s story. The wife was an elementary school teacher and she was just “sick” of getting colds from her students. She began to experiment with various combinations of vitamins and herbs. She knew there was scientific evidence for large doses of Vitamin C helping to stop a cold in its tracks, if caught early enough. Well, through her research she eventually discovered a synergistic herb/vitamin/mineral combination that worked phenomenally well. Her husband believed in it too and he began to try marketing the idea to a number of companies. None of them would consider manufacturing it, so they used their credit cards and a rather large insurance settlement to finance the manufacture and distribution of “Airborne”, a fizzing tablet that speeds absorption of all that good medicine. As of this fall, nearly every drugstore in America will be carrying it.
The “treasure hid in the field” for this 30’s something couple was a discovery born of need. As has often been said, “Necessity IS the mother of invention”. But when you think about it, how many thousands of elementary school teachers confronted the same problem, a constant round of colds passed from student to student to teacher, and did nothing? The secret here, the secret to recognizing the opportunity, was a combination of knowledge and an inner drive that would not stop until a solution was found. Obviously, some of that knowledge was first hand experience with health related products, in particular vitamins and herbs. Actually, there are countless examples like this. An opportunity is seen because the person has specific expertise in the area where the need for a solution arises. But without that inner drive to see the idea through to completion, it remains just another good idea... the treasure remains in someone else’s “field”.
Of course, many of you reading this will point to the fact that they had that settlement money and without it their idea would never have seen the light of day. Maybe. But maybe they just would have persisted until they succeeded, in spite of the lack of capital.
As an example of persistence plus lack of capital, I recently came across the phenomenal story of a woman who had Multiple Sclerosis and as a result was eventually confined to her wheel chair and her bed. Elaine Delack would not accept her “fate” and decided there must be something out there that could help her. How many hundreds of thousands of others who had suffered likewise, just gave up and accepted their disease as “God’s will”? Through Elaine’s research she eventually assembled many theories on the origins of MS, seeing a single common thread of truth: Histamines. She was thus able to formulate a compound that completely removed her MS symptoms. Her own recovery was remarkable. She was able to get out of her wheelchair and live a normal life again. When she couldn’t get the big drug companies to manufacture her product, she turned to Pharmacists who formulate her compound as needed whenever a Doctor issues a prescription. Elaine Delack has now completely transformed the lives of countless MS sufferers, reversing the symptoms that prevented some of them from being able to communicate or walk for decades.
There are three important things to make note of concerning Jesus’ parable about the treasure hid in a field. First, as already discussed, the man who bought the field was poor. Having no money he had to sell all that he had in order to purchase it. Second, he did not tell the man who owned the field about the treasure, meaning he hid this knowledge in order to take advantage. And third, Jesus’ parable provides a solution for all the “have-nots” who hear his words and take them to heart. If you are willing to do whatever it takes to own an opportunity when it presents itself, you will achieve prosperity!
I had to ask myself, what would I have done if I found such a treasure in someone else’s field? I know that years ago I would have gone to the owner and told him of HIS great good fortune. This is the response I had been taught to believe was correct. If I owned private property wouldn’t I want someone who found a treasure in my field to notify me? Didn’t Jesus teach us to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?
As always, nothing is totally black and white and there are always exceptions to the rule. The Golden Rule is about not harming others and in this case the relatively rich man with the field is going to liquidate one of his assets, receiving fair market value for it. No harm to the landowner because he can profit from the sale. On the other hand, the poor man is going to gain a field along with the added immediate income of that buried treasure. But, more importantly, he becomes a landowner without a cash flow problem, who can now weather life’s storms. He will not only survive, he will thrive. He’ll be able to plant crops and buy animals, and multiply those assets, increasing his net worth year after year. Without this newfound wealth he and his entire family, probably for generations to come, would have remained poor, would have continued to have what little they owned taken from them. And without the multiplying power of the land, which he purchased in order to obtain the buried treasure, that treasure would have all too quickly been used up; if not by him then by his children. This is indeed GREAT news, that no matter how poor we are, no matter if we were born into poverty or we suffered a series of financial catastrophes, we can apply these Principles of Prosperity contained in Jesus’ parables and break the Rich/Poor Barrier!
Thus we have a win-win situation and the Golden Rule remains intact. But the way things were, it was Rich Man/Poor Man, where the one almost always wins and other almost always loses. The poor man’s advantage is only made to happen because the poor man understood this truth, that as soon as he were to tell someone with more money about that opportunity, they would not hesitate to do an end-run around him and buy that field before he could have sold his possessions and obtained the money he needed for its purchase. He kept it secret till he owned it.
This understanding is revolutionary. Not just the understanding that it’s OK to take advantage of a situation where you know something another person doesn’t, but that because nature's Law of Subtraction is a universal law governing everyone who lacks money and resources, and because the Law of Attraction will not work for those of us that are relatively poor, we must be wise, understanding that every opportunity presented is rare and must be acted upon with faith, not fear. One of the few ways out of a life of poverty is to seek such rare opportunities and when they are found, to keep that knowledge to one's self, until one is able to own the opportunity!!
Having spent decades among Christians of various denominations, I can speak with authority when I say the vast majority of them would tell you it's wrong to have knowledge of a buried treasure in someone else’s field and then keep that knowledge from them in order to purchase their property and keep the treasure for one’s self. Here again we see the traditions of religious people taking precedence over the truth, even the truth that was delivered by the very one they say they believe in. And the truth is this, that God wants you to be delivered from being poor! It’s one of your kingdom rights.
There are only two ways to break nature’s law of the survival of the fittest: You can take it from others by force, or you can use your mind, use your will power and apply these Twelve Principles of Prosperity. Those who apply the 12 Principles will patiently seek that “treasure” opportunity which allows them to overcome God’s natural laws. Jesus revealed the truth of the Rich/Poor barrier so he could provide the solutions, but unless we are willing to think outside our cultural box, we will miss the opportunities God puts in our path.
There are plenty of examples of opportunities lost and found all around us. For instance, I heard this real life story from a telephone company crew supervisor. He often worked on installing telephone lines for my Internet business. One day he told me the story about his own missed opportunity. Someone had once approached him about investing ten thousand dollars in Netscape when it was still a penny stock. Had he done so he would have made millions, and been assured a huge retirement nest egg. But he hesitated. By the time he considered it seriously, the dot.com bust was upon us. Of course, one could argue that he might have held onto his money too long and lost it all anyway, but since he wasn’t playing the future options game, he wouldn’t have lost more than his original $10,000. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. This is another reason why you should keep your opportunity secret till you own it. By telling his friends and relatives, almost all of them being non-risk takers and very negative about investing in something unproven, his resolve wavered and all was lost.
I also remember watching a documentary on people who were made millionaires through the Internet. I was surprised to find out many of them had never purposely invested in the Internet. They just happened to work for Internet companies that offered stock options and low pay. Of course, most of them weren’t dumb. Many saw the potential and were willing to trade off low pay and long hours for the possibility their employer would become a gigantic success, eventually being traded on the stock market. But it was a huge risk for all of them… at the end of a year or two the company might fail, leaving them with no medical benefits and more debt from unpaid bills. In the case of Amazon.com, a lady from a poor family who landed a secretarial job ended up a millionaire. In this case she was just in the right place at the right time, because she really knew nothing about stock options. She just wanted a job.
These “$ecret$”© you have been discovering will help you attract opportunities with a positive “can-do” attitude, help you recognize them when they come along and empower you to follow through. Really great opportunities do not come along often so I believe it’s important to be willing to go anywhere and do just about anything in order to find buried treasure, buy it and make it your own. Common sense will tell you that your odds are increased in proportion to your willingness to endure temporary hardships for long-term rewards. If one desires to be successful, then one must prepare their mind to accept hardship. Without venturing into the unknown from time to time, in order to secure a better future for yourself and your family, how would you ever rise above mediocrity?
This brings us to Chapter 9, “Being Willing to Risk All When Presented with a Great Opportunity”.