Practical Life Lessons from 3 People Who Went from Broke to Rich

The American Dream in which any person can hope and aspire to greatness if they are willing to work hard is one of the key factors that helped this country become an economic superpower. Irrespective of your background, race, religion or any other stereotypes, the land of opportunities presents you with a chance to be successful. History is replete with stories of many people who came from very humble beginnings to build successful lives and businesses.

 The genetic makeup of people with rag to riches story is not particularly different from the genetic coding of the rest of us. However, there's something in their optimism, hard work, determination, which sets them apart from the rest of us. This piece provides practical life lessons on people who have rags to riches story to tell.

Meet Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey doesn’t need any introduction, she is a leading actress, producer, and talk show host known for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winfrey joined Forbes'400 list of richest American with a net worth of $340 million in 1995 and she is currently worth an estimated $2.8 billion. Apart from her billionaire status, what many people many not know about Oprah Winfrey is that she came out of rural Mississippi, raised in poverty by a single mom, and had to go through sexual assault and teen pregnancy herself.

A key lesson to learn from Oprah's life is that she landed a TV show at 32 years old – an age at which she will be considered old by industry standards. Of course, when asked about the secret to her success she says "The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work. 

Meet Howard Schultz

The name of Howard Schultz might not ordinarily ring a bell, but once Starbucks is mentioned, you'll remember that Howard Schultz is the CEO of the massive coffee chain. Schultz's billionaire status can't be questioned as he currently boasts a net worth of about $2.9 billion. Apart from the incredible journey of how Schultz transformed a small espresso bar into a global brand, what many people might not know about him is that he had an incredible rags to riches story. He was heavily in debt, bartended, and sold his blood to pay his way through college.

A key lesson to learn from Howard Schultz life he is his boldness to start his own rival coffee bar when his superiors told him he couldn't start an espresso bar.  In his words, "If you dream small dreams, you may succeed in building something small. For many people, that is enough. But if you want to achieve widespread impact and lasting value, be bold."

Meet Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry is an American actor, comedian, writer and filmmaker popular in the gospel genre. He was listed as highest paid man in 2011 by Forbes after he earned some $130 million. Tyler Perry has enjoyed global acclaim for his Madea series, Dairy of a Mad Black Woman, and House of Payne. What many people however don't know about Tyler Perry is that he started with a rough start in a shotgun house in New Orleans. He recollects beatings from his father, being a victim of sexual abuse, and attempting suicide. Even when he tried to break out into the entertainment industry, he says "From 1992 until 1998, every show I put on flopped. No one showed up, and I lost all my money. I wanted to give up."

One of the important life lessons to learn from Tyler Perry is that failure could be a good preparation for success when you stop wallowing self-pity party. In his words, "I thought I had failed, but the truth is, I never failed… You have to understand that what you may perceive to be a failure may very well be an opportunity to learn, grow, get better, and prepare for the next level."

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