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When I think of Dean Graziosi, the word trailblazer comes to mind. He has helped countless people turn their financial situations around, make a comfortable living, or just enjoy the thrill of real estate investing. He has changed an overwhelming number of lives for the better. Dean is someone I have followed my entire career and this week I had to chance to spend an hour with him, getting to know him better and finding out what inspires and motivates him.

So, what is it that drives someone like Dean Graziosi? He is a millionaire hundreds of times over, he has a beautiful home and family, and yet he keeps working – educating his students and chasing the next deal. Let me share a little of our conversation and some of the powerful wisdom Dean imparted, and see if we can get closer to the answer.

Adversity

Successful people often describe adversity in their early lives and how they were motivated to overcome it. Dean has his own story and never allows himself to forget the obstacles he has faced during his career.

“I never forget what it’s like to be broke. I’m still afraid that someday I’ll wake up and all this will be gone, and I’ll be struggling again. I get goosebumps talking about it. Growing up, I moved 20 times by the time I was 19. My mom worked two jobs to make $90 a week and I never saw her because she was working so much.

“My parents were married nine times – parents all over the place, different stepbrothers – there was no stability. I loved my house in Highland, New York, with my stepdad Lenny, but one day I came home from school and that was done. I love my parents, but I had no control over what happened to me.”

“During my career, even when things have gone completely wrong, I have had this tenacity that I didn’t want to give up.”

Learn From Other People

Dean says it’s important not to waste time reinventing the wheel. Seek out people who have educated themselves and learn from them. Save time by observing others and learning from their experiences. Most importantly, he says, surround yourself with people that are doing better than you; the ones you aspire to be like. Don’t be the smartest guy in the room.

“I wish someone shook me in my twenties and said, why the hell are you trying to figure this out on your own? Somebody has already done it. I didn’t know there were people who could mentor me, guide me, masterminds, groups, training, books.

“In today's world you can access training and learning and materials that can allow you to go faster. You don't have to learn on your own.

“In my life, I’ve moved the needle the most by learning from other people who have already been there. Learning from your own trial and error is the most miserable, ridiculous way to achieve, even though that’s how we’re taught to learn.”

Wealth Doesn't Come Easily

Dean says to be wary of comparing ourselves with others unless it’s a positive motivator. The Instagram culture of showy lifestyles can make wealth look easy to attain. However, there’s no “magical money machine” for overnight success and it can be easy to get discouraged.

“We see wealth and abundance and it looks like it comes too easy. Somebody takes a picture of themselves on Instagram, they take 10, pick the best one, and put a filter on it. It's the same way you see somebody with the Lambo and the watch and they're doing great. You don't realize that maybe they just made it and they can't even cover the payments on that Lambo. Or, they're living in a rented house.

“We sometimes see that and go, ‘Man, that guy’s 22, killing it. What’s wrong with my life?’ and it’s actually the opposite of inspiration. It makes you go, ‘Man, I could never get there. I’m 44 now. I’m going to go back to work.’ Just know that being successful and making more money takes more work than people realize.”

Idenitify What True Success Looks Like, to You

It’s easy to get discouraged and want to quit. Dean says he has felt this way many times himself and for this reason, he asks his students to identify the true reason they’re chasing financial independence – by going Seven Levels Deep – because this will be the motivator that helps them through the toughest times and most difficult losses.

“100% of people I speak to will say they want financial freedom. But what does that really mean? When you boil it down, why do you want financial freedom? Going Seven Levels Deep is just asking the same question seven times until you see it go from the head to the heart, and suddenly people realize it’s not just about the money, it’s about not ending up like their dad, or wanting to escape poverty, or wanting to make their kids proud.

“When you really understand what success means, then you will fight to gain the capabilities to let people making more than you, inspire you, not make you envious, to be courageous, to go after it, no matter what, to find the resources and be resourceful.”

Be Resourceful!

Dean says he always worked. He started at his dad’s collision shop when he was five years old, sanding fenders, and was painting cars by the time he was 10. He rehabbed his first car when he was 12 years old and used the proceeds to buy his dream bike, a $600 Hutch. He has used this entrepreneurial spirit and resourcefulness to guide his career ever since.

“When it comes to money and manufacturing it and creating it, when I look back at my 30 years. It wasn't because I had resources. My parents had nothing. I didn’t have any resources, but no one taught me that's not what you need. What you actually need is resourcefulness.

“You might have the greatest training in the world, but if you’re not resourceful, it's not going to work.”

Helping People

“God put me on this earth to make an impact. It's what I was put here to do and I'm going to do it to the best of my ability to my last breath. I will be on stage, I'll be on camera, I'll be doing this. I will never retire, mark my words. I want to make an impact. I want to make a massive impact, like a wave. I want to continue because I wish more people gave it to me when I was younger. I want to be there for other people.”