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  • Rob Houghton

Three New Years Lessons from a Billionaire




As many of you know, I have worked with several billionaires in the past. Most people don’t like billionaires. I don’t like or dislike them – I listen to them. You don’t get to be a billionaire by being stupid. One such individual called me on New Year’s Day to wish me a Happy New Year. Never one to throw away a good opportunity, I asked him what his New Years Resolutions are for 2022. I wrote down his top three:

I wrote down his top three:


1. Absorption over Enchantment: I love this one. He relayed a story where he was in a movie theatre (billionaires do go to movie theatres!) over the holidays with his grandson and he noticed everyone’s glowing faces intently looking up at the movie screen like they were in a trance. “Now that is absorption”, he said. He described the moviegoers as completely absorbed in the movie…detached from their lives for those two hours. He contrasted that with the coffee shop he visited afterward with his grandson after the movie: “a bunch of people looking at their smartphones with bored looks on their faces…the look of searching for something that was not there. “Enchantment”, he said.


He went on to describe a couple at a nearby table who had put their smartphones aside and were both leaning in eye to eye having an animated conversation about the holiday season. “Now that's Absorption”, he said. He said he will be looking for more absorption and less enchantment in 2022.


2. Focus, Focus, Focus: He told me how he is going to go back to using a single 3 x 5 index card to write down the three most important things he has to do the next day. Three things. That’s it. He will incorporate these into his journaling that he does just before bedtime. If he can accomplish these three things, it will be a successful day. He got away from this habit several years back when life became very hectic as his firm grew to epic proportions. Simple stuff.


3. Read (and re-read) more books: As is the custom each year, we shared what we have been reading. We both agreed that we need to read not less, but more in 2022. He is going to re-read some of his favorite books because he explained that one can only retain so much on a first-read, so he is going back to read his favorites once again. Great idea. I am going to do the same…Crime & Punishment and Anna Karenina come to mind. We also discussed the importance of reading BOTH fiction and non-fiction. Fiction honing one’s ‘Theory of Mind” and critical thinking skills while non-fiction is more instructional.


So, there you have it. Three New Year’s Resolutions from a billionaire. After writing this, I tore up my old resolutions. These will be mine too!



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