Carlos Slim: The 5th Richest Person in the World

Carlos Slim (1940), a Mexican businessman and philanthropist, is considered by Forbes Magazine the 5th world's richest man, having reached the first position from 2010 to 2013. A civil engineer, from an early age, started investing in different businesses. In the early 80's and in the middle of a crisis that paralyzed the Mexican economy and which produced unprecedented capital leaks, Slim made huge investments in the country, acquiring several companies. The businesses of Slim are part of the Mexican conglomerate (owned by Slim) called "Grupo Carso", employing around 250,000 people directly and more than 500,000 indirectly. He has been awarded and decorated several times.

Carlos Slim Helú

Now, like always, let's jump into the analysis of the most important Slim's quotes:

1. I am sober, and my children too; for pleasure and conviction and not due to discipline.

Austerity, although it is a concept that doesn't have much glamour overall, and in particular, much less in business, is essential to build solid companies. It is not about spending nothing but to spend carefully and with common sense. Carlos Slim himself says: "Keeping austerity in good times strengthens, capitalizes and speeds out the development of the company; at the same time, it prevents the bitter drastic changes in times of crisis". The good entrepreneurs, the ones who survive in bad and drastic circumstances, are those who have made from austerity a true lifestyle. Austerity has nothing to do with being scrooge, but with wasting money. To live comfortably well doesn't mean throwing the money away. Slim also highlights: "The money that escapes from the company vanishes, for this reason, we reinvest the profits".

2. When you live for others' opinions, you are dead.

If you live focusing on others, you lose your essence, your singularity, what makes you different from others. People who look through their fingers seeking others' approval, scorn themselves. In those situations, one doesn't pay attention to what they are, to themselves; they drive on opinions and that ends up negatively affecting their performance, and especially, their satisfaction and happiness. There's nothing more profitable than, to be honest with yourself. It's impossible to agree with everyone by changing your personality for social approval. People who make a difference in others are authentic people, loyal to themselves and to their convictions. And when you are authentic, there will be always a group of people who will hate your beliefs and will criticize you. It doesn't matter. That's the cost of authenticity. There's nothing worse than being indifferent and go unnoticed for trying to satisfy everyone.

3. All times are good for those who know how to work.

Many times there are no job opportunities, but entrepreneurial opportunities are always there. It's all about finding market niches or no-exploited trends to cover them with proposals that add value. Opportunities are everywhere, you only have to know how to detect them. You have to live like a "curious animal", being an observer. Focus on where is a problem and offer a solution; where fear is, and dilute it; where exists the opportunity to sell cheaper, and low your prices. In times of crisis, a lot of profitable companies have been started.

4. When you leave this world, you don't take anything with you, but what you can leave to others is a lot.

This is our legacy and the proof that the walkthrough of this life was worth it. It could be your ideas, your works or the inspiration you have created for others. It has been said on some occasions that success is about knowing how many people live better thanks to your existence. Especially, make your life useful to others: care for serving, you will feel good with yourself, you will also make other people's lives easier and you will get profits. Slim says: "Our basic premise is and has always been having in consideration that we are leaving without anything; we can only do things in life and the businessman acts as a creator of wealth who manages it temporarily".

5. We have to impose our will on our weaknesses.

The human being is always a constant struggle between two desires: the desire for challenge and the desire for comfortability. The worst enemy for achieving goals is the sloth, which always opts for the easiest, instead of opting for the most necessary. This is what separates the losers from the winners. The former ones do what relieves stress; the latter ones, what discipline demands. Along the journey, one always finds temptations to do what doesn't have to be done. Those who defeat them, make progress; those who give in, get stuck. That's when the will becomes very important when we decide to choose other less comfortable alternatives, which are not really satisfying in the short term but in the long term, they benefit us greatly. Sacrifice means giving up on something to do something better.

6. Simple structures, organizations with minimal hierarchical levels, human development, and internal training. Flexibility and speed in taking decisions. Ultimately, to operate with the advantages of small businesses, as they are the ones that make big large companies.

All of these features are essential factors for success. In business (even more today when everything happens way faster), the agility when offering answers is a competitive advantage of undoubted value. The speed to go from decision to action without contemplations is an added value. Bureaucracy means stiffness in this decision-making process and it favors discouragement. People must set flatter organizations, where communication encourages discussions, the contrast of different points of view and cooperation, allowing this way to promptly execute the adopted decisions.

7. There's no challenge that we could not achieve by working together, with clear objectives.

Collaboration boosts strength. It has always been like that. Leadership is made up of 5 concepts: First, the company must have a very clear vision of what it wants to be and where it is going (creative leadership); second, that vision must be shared with everybody, making sure that all of them understand it and make it their own (emotional leadership); third, that vision has to be transformed into a reality (technical leadership), fourth, taking into account the people (human leadership), and fifth, without forgetting the essential values (ethical leadership).

8. The work well done is not only a "social" responsibility but also an "emotional" necessity.

When someone only tries to fill the records, first, it's impossible to have optimum performance and, second, it's impossible to feel fulfilled. The human being has been created for beauty, for the best, and when they don't give everything, actually what they are giving is nothing.  Excellency is something inherent to commitment; and commitment demands giving the best of ourselves, without sparing efforts. Commitment is one of the variables which separates high-performing people from average-performing people. The former are those who go beyond the technical and formal limits of their posts. Successful people, people committed 100%.

9. Success is not only about winning in business, but it also implies values and principles.

Slim himself said once: "Success is not about doing things well or very well while having the recognition of others. It is not an outside opinion, it is an interior state. It's the harmony between the soul and the emotions, which needs love, parentage, friendship, authenticity, integrity..." "Success means privileges, but also risks. The emotional strength and balance are in the interior life, in avoiding those feelings that corrode the soul, the jealousy, the arrogance, the lust, the selfishness, the revenge, the greed, and the sloth, these are true poisons which are ingested little by little". If you make a pact with the devil, sooner or later you will end up paying it. Doing evil will always turn against you. You should never put aside values and principles.

10. Live without fears and without guilt. Fears are the worst feelings of humans, they weaken them, inhibit their actions and depress them. Guilt is an enormous handicap in our thoughts, in our deeds and in life. Both of them make difficult the present and block the future.

To combat the fear the best thing is to act. While the action increases your confidence, the passivity and the indecision increase your fears. Every time you confront your fears, these become smaller; every time you escape from them, they become bigger. The idea is very clear here: feel the fear, but do whatever you have to do anyway. Regarding the guilt, there's no better advice than turning to your conscience every time you have to make a decision. The conscience, as it has been said, is the voice of the same God who speaks. Our deeds turn to ourselves sooner or later with surprising accuracy. Before behaving in a certain way, it is convenient to think twice.

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