His friends were surprised, and asked him the reason of it. "Do you think," said he, "I have not just cause to weep, when I consider that at my age Alexander had conquered so many nations, while all this time I have done nothing that is memorable?"
His name was Guis Julius Caesar and, at 38 years of age (55 years old by today's standards) he already considered himself a failure.
What made it particularly painful wasn't just that he had accomplished so little, but that his peers had accomplished so much.
While his rivals such as Pompey, Cicero and Cato were winning glory while advancing through Rome's political system as the next leaders of the country, Caesar was forced to go into hiding. From house to house he ran fearing for his life until finally, after much persuasion, Sulla, the dictator during that time, took his name off the proscription list.
So he survived Sulla. But it was clear to him, as he stared up at that statue of Alexander the Great in Spain, that he had gotten a late start to life. Indeed, perhaps too late to ever really matter.
I share this story with you because I've often reminded myself of Caesar's story when I've honestly taken stock of myself and am not happy with my accomplishments to date.
Whenever I have one of those days, I think back to Caesar. I think back to the astounding achievements he had after looking up at that statue. I'm amazed by the giant of history Caesar has become. I'm amazed that this man, arguably the single most important individual in the history of western civilization, wept at the statue of Alexander when he was 38 because he felt like a failure.
In all of my reading of both classical and contemporary history there is not one person whose "turnaround" from failure to success was so complete.
Some may argue that Lincoln, one of my favorite people ever, was viewed by himself and by others as a complete failure until he was elected at 52 years old. But as great as Lincoln was, his impact on our nation was as great as Caesar's was on western civilization.
Every time we look at our watch or our calendar we can thank Caesar for creating it (don't let anybody tell you that we follow a Gregorian calendar; that was just a revision of Caesar's). To this day, the word "Tsar" in Russian and Kaiser in German means Caesar. The list of his global impact goes on and on.
What lessons do these great men pass down to us through history?
A big one is that no matter how old you are, or how bad you feel about yourself, it's never too late to gain control of your life. Caesar proved that to us.
The key, as Napoleon, a great admirer of Caesar would say is "careful planning followed by rapid execution." Think about that: careful planning followed by rapid execution.
Much like today, the pressure to compete, to be the very best, was immense in Caesar's day. But in those days being the best was about military conquest.
These days it's about financial conquest.
For those of us who sometimes feel like Caesar, the question is what can you do about it? How can you change your life so dramatically over the next twenty years that when you look back to today you can't believe you were even here? By the time Caesar conquered the world I'm sure he looked back upon this day as a turning point.
Maybe you're not looking at a statue of "Megas Alexandras." Maybe you're looking at a picture of Bill Gates. Or Warren Buffett. Or those guys who founded Google.
Come up with somebody, anybody, who has accomplished great things, and use their accomplishments as fuel. And let that fuel burn so brightly inside of you that it gives you focus ... guides your way ... keeps you going.
Caesar looked at Alexendar. So did Hannibal, Pompey and dozens of other greats. Alexander looked at Achilles. Warren Buffett looked at Benjamin Graham. The list goes on and on.
I've always looked at Buffett, but recently I've been looking at the hedge-fund managers who made billions shorting the real estate market. Here I was writing Tycoon Report articles in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 predicting the real estate crash, but I didn't make a billion dollars, $100 million or even $25 million betting on it.
The truth is I made absolutely nothing betting on one of the most obvious opportunities I've ever seen in my life. Why? Because my investment philosophy doesn't include betting "short" (i.e. betting that prices will go lower). The only way I can make money without violating my investment philosophy is on the buy side.
And buy stocks I did: from the second half of 2008 - March 5th 2009 I bought stocks and I did make money. Lots of money. But nothing on the scale of the great men and women who dominate the investing field.
That truly burns me up like you cannot imagine. It's the fire that keeps me going ... that guides my way ... that gives me focus.
I promised myself I would never let that happen again. I promised myself that the next time I saw that kind of opportunity I would take full advantage of it ...
Fortunately, for us, that kind of opportunity is upon us again in real estate. You could say that it's the other side of the real estate coin.
That's why I look forward to next week's release of Ethan's real estate course -- for myself, and for you.
Because just as I knew that real estate was a "SELL" during the boom years, I know that real estate is a "STRONG BUY" right now.
Just as I knew that there was an historic opportunity to sell real estate in 2007, I know there is an historic opportunity to buy real estate in 2010.
That's the way markets work, and this time I plan to take full advantage of them.
And who better to show us how than a guy who turned $10,000 into more than $1.3 million investing in real estate through good markets and bad?
CEO, Founder & Director of Editorial Content
The Tycoon Report