Sheldon Adelson knows a thing or two about poverty, having grown up the son of a taxi driver in Dorchester, Mass.
“I came from a very poor family, there were six people, four children, and my parents, one bed in the room…and my parents were poor.
Living at the bottom may be one reason Mr. Adelson has been so resilient in his climb back to the top. As Wealth Report readers might recall, Mr. Adelson lost more than 90% of his fortune in 2008 when markets tanked and credit evaporated.
His losses amounted to more than $1,000 a second, or more than $4 million a day. So how did he feel losing more money in one time than anyone else history? “So I lost $25 billion,” he said. “I started out with zero.”
In other words, no big deal. He also kept his cool as his company teetered on the edge of financial ruin. When many investors were abandoning ship, Mr. Adleson and his family invested $1 billion of their own money.
There is “no such thing as fear–not to an entrepreneur,” “Concern, yes. Fear, no.”
Still, Mr. Adelson’s story reminds us of how background can matter when it comes to building and maintaining wealth. Self-made billionaires often are confident that if they did it once, they can do it again. And having grown up poor, Mr. Adelson also knows what is like to have nothing, so he isn’t as fearful of temporary losses.
“An entrepreneur is born with the mentality to take risks, though there are several important characteristics: courage, faith in yourself, and above all, even when you fail, to learn from failure and get up and try again.”