The Success Illusion: Part II

In The Success Illusion: Part I we established that many parents today are stressing and developing areas in their children that will not lead them to true success.

In Dr. Thomas Stanley's book "The Millionaire Mind", Stanley surveys the households of America's wealthiest families to determine the traits and habits of financially successful people (Millionaires).  He also singles out true financially successful people not those who buy big homes, lease expensive cars and try to "look wealthy."

According to Stanley's research the traits most mentioned by millionaires that lead them to success are:

1. Honesty - Integrity - Character
2. Discipline - Persistence - Long Term Thinking
3. Social Skills - Relationships - Focusing on the needs of others
4. Courage - Tenacity
5. A Healthy Marriage and Supportive Spouse

Also mentioned was their strong religious faith.

Today we are going to take a closer look at these areas and why building these strong biblical principles in your children will lead them to True Greatness and worldly success as a bonus.

Of the successful millionaires surveyed, Honesty was the number one success trait listed.  They believed that Character and Integrity were the most important factors in attaining financial success. 

Stanley mentions the story of a successful Doctor who went through years of schooling, borrowed money to open his own practice and began thriving.  Then he started having affairs with some of the women on his staff.  His wife found out and filed for divorce, once the word was out, the doctor lost all of his clients and his practice in that area.  His character had cost him his livelihood. 

This is one area that is non-negotiable.  It does not matter how successful or talented you are, if you lack character, you will fail.  This can be seen in the daily headlines involving Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and Michael Vick.

The second trait most listed was discipline.  It takes discipline to build a business or to create wealth.  Most millionaires were not top students but they graduated college and worked harder than their peers in their chosen profession. 

They also had the discipline to live below their means, invest in assets such as their businesses, real estate and the stock market rather than liabilities such as expensive cars, the latest electronics and gadgets or other luxury items.    Many middle class families get heavily in debt leasing expensive cars, buying overpriced homes in flashy subdivisions, and charging up credit cards. 

What does the Bible say about these traits? 

In Luke 6:47-49, Jesus explains this parable:

"Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 

he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

"But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."

Proverbs 10:17

"He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."

I often challenge myself to find new ways to teach and introduce these traits to my children and some times I even use my own failures as a way to teach them about staying true to these biblical morals. 

Are these two traits at the top of your list in the areas to develop in your children?
What ways are you already cultivating these traits?
In what ways can you further stress these to your children?

The Success Illusion Part III