Six Pointers from T. Boone Pickens

Key Takeaways

  • Boone Pickens is a 90-year-old self-made billionaire who has a lot of wisdom to share, and he recently shared some of it in an open letter to the class of 2018.
  • He had six pointers for the class of 2018 to keep in mind as they graduate and enter the working world.
  • While these six pointers are great for new college graduates to hear as they start their careers, it’s also great advice to remind anyone at any age and any stage in life.

T. Boone Pickens, a 90-year-old billionaire who originally made his money in oil and gas, recently wrote an open letter to the graduating class of 2018. In that letter, he gave them some pointers for success. I really liked them, so I am going to go over them here:

  1. A fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan. I learned this lesson early on when I was in the Army. It’s better to have a plan and execute it, then it is to make a really detailed, perfect plan, and never do anything with it.
  2. Keep focused. When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits. As someone who has ADHD, I’ve been accused of running around chasing elephants, rabbits, bright lights, and everything in between, so yes, it can be very tough to stay focused. But you’ve got to keep your goals in mind and focus on what’s most important to you.
  3. Don’t fall victim to “ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You must be willing to fire. You know how it goes. You are getting started to get started, then procrastinating to procrastinate, when it’s really just better to stay in motion, continue to move along, make decisions, and execute.
  4. Work hard. Come early, stay late. When I am sitting down with someone fresh out of college, and they ask, “How do I get ahead?”, I tell them this. You have your 40-hour work week. That’s for work. You need another 5-15 hours a week set aside to improve yourself, to bring on new skills, so you have more value. If you are willing to do the hard work, it works great. If not, you can’t expect to get ahead.
  5. Be the eternal optimist. Act like the fella who fell off the top of a 10-story building…as he passed the third floor, he said, “I’m not dead yet. So far, so good.” There’s a great book by Matt Ridley called The Rational Optimist which addresses this really well. It says that successful people tend to be optimists, but rational ones.
  6. The higher the monkey climbs a tree, the more you can see his a**. It’s important to remember to stay humble as you become more successful. You must continue to acknowledge the people around you that helped you get your a** up that tree, because you didn’t do it on your own.

These are six great pointers to keep in mind if you’re a person just coming out of college, but it’s also great for anyone at any point in their lives to remind themselves, because we can sometimes lose sight of these things as we get stuck in our daily routines.

Until next time, enjoy.


Learn more about TransformingWealth™ , our proprietary approach, designed to get your arms around the big picture so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about Coyle’s TransformingWealth Preview Meeting, and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.

Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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