Andrew Carnegie was one of the most successful and rich persons in America. He was an American business magnate who made a great fortune in the steel industry and became one of the richest persons in history. Carnegie had migrated to the US from Scotland in 1848 at the age of 12. What made Andrew Carnegie rich in terms of wealth, impact & legacy he left behind is an inspiring tale.
Andrew Carnegie took up work as a telegrapher and then railroad jobs in the early part of his career. He kept moving at great pace and soon started his business. He owned Carnegie Steel Corporation in 1889, which was the largest Steel Company & sold it to JP Morgan in 1901 for over $300 million at the time. He surpassed John Rockfeller as the richest American for many years.
Andrew Carnegie was not just a successful business man, but a noted philanthropist too. He donated a large share of his wealth for charitable causes around the world. As per wikipedia, he donated approximately $350 million, which is equivalent to $76.9 billion (adjusted to 2015 share of GDP figures).
Andrew Carnegie Secret
Andrew Carnegie’s success story is captivating. He represents the epitome of the American dream. The son of a migrant, who worked odd jobs and built one of the most successful business empires of all time. He also dedicated a large share of his time and wealth for philanthropic causes.
So, what was the secret to Andrew Carnegie’s success? There goes an old story about Carnegie that reveals it. When Carnegie accumulated great wealth in a hurry, people started suspecting something wrong. Even the government officials suspected something fishy and so they set-up an investigation. What made Andrew Carnegie rich beyond regular standards at the time? The US Senate commissioned Andrew Carnegie and asked him questions to learn more on his business. They interrogated him from all angels and possibilities and finally came to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong.
Finally, one of them asked Andrew Carnegie, how did you manage to make so much money and become successful so fast? To which Carnegie revealed his secret of success, his words were very simple, but profound. He said, “I can keep my mind focused on something for five minutes at a stretch.” Just five minutes. Everyone was surprised to hear this. They thought he must be joking. Andrew Carnegie asked the members, “Can any of you do it?”
Everyone thought they could and started the experiment. But none of them could focus their mind on anything for even a few seconds. This is the nature of the mind, it is restless.
Andrew Carnegie had mastered the ability to keep his mind focused and attentive. He could explore new opportunities, visualise creative schemes and implement them with huge success due to his ability to pay attention. He had mastered the art of keeping an attentive mind, observed things with openness and receptivity, which helped him unlock great treasures. Others missed it, because they couldn’t pay attention, the same way Carnegie did it.
Carnegie once said, “The money I have accumulated is but a minor fraction of my real riches.” At his peak, Carnegie had a networth of about $372 billion in today’s dollar terms. It would make him one of the wealthiest persons ever and richer than anyone on the planet currently. Carnegie’s riches and prosperity were a result of things he did with absolute care, love and attention.
Andrew Carnegie in an interview with Dale Carnegie told him, “Controlled attention magnetizes the brain with the nature of one’s dominating thoughts, aims, and purposes, thus causing one to be always in search of every necessary thing that is related to one’s dominating thoughts.”
When your dominating thoughts, attention and focus are aligned on something you want to achieve, you invariably achieve it. Andrew Carnegie had mastered the art of keeping his focused attention on the object of his desire. To keep your mind focused on something for five minutes is a great skill & one that pays rich dividends.
A Great Legacy
Carnegie had a doctrine of spending the first one-third of life learning, the second one-third accumulating wealth and the last one third in distributing money for worthy causes. Use of wealth for improving society and the lives of people was one of Carnegie’s most important objectives in life.
Andrew Carnegie donated his money for establishing trusts & institutions including Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Hall, Peace Palace, Carnegie Institution of Science (CMU), Carnegie Trust for Universities of Scotland etc. These institutions have stood the test of time and stand today as a symbol of endurance, excellence and human values, several years after Carnegie’s death in 1919.
To sum it up, Andrew Carnegie was one of the most influential persons of the world. He remains a respected person even 100 hundred years after this death due to his rich legacy. A legacy he had built with his charismatic leadership and energy. His journey from getting $2 ($59 adjusted for inflation today) per week to building a $352 billion empire is an inspiring tale for entrepreneurs around the world. The human race moves forward owing to great leadership of people like Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie taught people a very simple mantra to put all attention, energy and focus into the work you’re doing. He said, “The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.”
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