During economic downturns, most folks are content to maintain the status quo, not expecting to really get ahead.

Turns out, a defeatist mindset like that stop someone from living the life they really want to live.  And there is a terrific new book that will change attitudes and inspire people to “Prosper,” as the book is aptly titled.

Co-authors Ethan Willis and Randy Garn are well-qualified to offer this life-changing advice.  Together they are founding partners of Prosper, a company that has mentored more than 75,000 entrepreneurs since its inception in 1999.  Ethan co-authored the best-selling book “The One Minute Entrepreneur” with Ken Blanchard and Don Hutson, and has founded or cofounded six businesses in the past twelve years.  Randy has founded several companies, which are industry leaders in online marketing including AdCafe.com, which has more than 2 million subscribers.

What I find particularly refreshing about their book is that it doesn’t concentrate on how to just survive an economic downturn; it challenges readers to make choices and take action that will be sustainable for a lifetime.

They write:  “We know that it is possible for people to have a life that balances the pursuit of prosperity with happiness.  It’s not easy, but it’s not as hard as you may think it is.

“Some people did it by creating new businesses that allowed them to make money doing the things they are passionate about.  Others worked within their companies to carve out lives of balance, meaning and increased compensation.  Some finally came to understand what they are really good at, then expended their talents to create new careers.  Still others learned new expertise, which made it possible to reinvent themselves in areas they had tremendous passion for.”

The authors define prosperity by the equation “Money + Happiness + Sustainability = Prosperity.”

By money, they mean income sufficient to support one’s goals.  How much money is enough?  “Enough to support your financial dreams in a way that honors your deeply held values and principles, but not so much that your money distracts or alienates you from those very values and principles,” they say.

Happiness includes:

  • State of mind – “having positive feelings about ourselves and the world;”
  • Authenticity  –  “living a life consistent with our deepest beliefs, values, and principles, and knowing that our earnings are aligned with our passions and purpose;”
  • Commitment – “adhering to what we most value;” and health and wellness, prosperity that supports complete health in mind and body.

Sustainability boils down to four questions:  “Can I feel good about it?  Can I sustain the work required over a long period of time?  Is the prosperity I contemplate ethical, beneficial to others, and environmentally sound?  Does it offer lasting value?”

To help readers get started, Ethan and Randy offer a Prosperity Assessment (available online at www.prosperbook.com/assessment.)  This tool is a 10-minute evaluation which you can complete, and you can invite others to answer based on their views of your level of prosperity.  Then you will receive a personalized report identifying strengths and areas to develop.  You can take the assessment over and over again as you put their practices into action. And it’s free!

The real work begins with their Six Prosperity Practices, which are individually described in separate chapters.  I won’t give away their secrets, but I will tempt you with the six points:

  1. Locate Your Polaris Point
  2. Live in Your Prosperity Zone
  3. Earn from Your Core
  4. Start with What You Already Have
  5. Commit Yourself to Your Prosperity Path
  6. Take Profound Action.

This isn’t cookie-cutter advice.  Rather, it is solid information based on honest self-study that will help you transform your life.  I whole-heartedly recommend their practices, because I know it is possible to prosper in any economic times.  It’s not just about the money.

As the authors say, “Prosperity is not a recreational activity but a lifestyle that you have to choose and renew.”

My favorite section of the plan, however, is what happens once these practices start to bear fruit.  Ethan and Randy write:  “You know you are really living in the Prosperity Zone when your passion shifts from accumulating to giving.  It’s no coincidence that the most prosperous people in the world have committed to giving the bulk of their wealth away.”


Mackay’s Moral:  The journey to prosperity is like driving a car at night.  You can only see as far as the headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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