Kirk Kerkorian was one of the most fascinating – though little-known – billionaires who ever lived. His life took many twists and turns, and though he is most known for investing in film studios and casinos, he tried his hand at a variety of different things.
Earlier this year, at 98, one of the richest men in the United States passed away. He was once worth as much as $18 billion, though his estate shrunk down to $4 billion at the time of his death.
What made Kerkorian so successful? What lessons can we learn from him?
Here are 10 inspirational life lessons from Kirk Kerkorian.
- It’s Never Too Early To Start Working
Kerkorian lived up to his troublemaker image and dropped out of school in the eighth grade to pursue a career in boxing under the nickname “Right Rifle Kerkorian”. He had already started selling newspapers and working odd jobs when he was nine-years-old.
There are plenty of examples of individuals who never graduated high school or college – like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, or Quentin Tarantino – who nevertheless achieved great success.
It’s never too early to start working, and school sometimes gets in the way of what you want to accomplish.
- Big Risks; Big Payoff
Kerkorian was known to take big risks in his business endeavors. Using his wealth, he struck up many deals, having no idea whether or not they would ever work out. Surprisingly, many of them did.
Although there’s no question that Kerkorian also had his fair share of losses, if he never took any chances, he probably never would have become a billionaire.
If you want to earn greater rewards, you may need to take bigger risks. Of course, it’s better to make educated, well-informed decisions if you don’t want to incur the kinds of losses Kirk did.
- Seize The Opportunities
Sometimes timing is everything. Kerkorian often said that he lucked into deals, but he also got into the casino-building business at exactly the right time, when real estate was affordable. He saw an opportunity, and he seized it.
Many opportunities will cross your path. Of course, you still need to be able to recognize them and act on them. Don’t pass up a good opportunity when you see one; take hold of it.
- Hire Good People & Delegate
Billionaires never get to be billionaires working alone. They associate with – and hire – good people who stretch their thinking and challenge their mentality.
Kerkorian was skilled at finding good people and hiring them to do the work he required of them. Although it can be hard to find good people, the effort is well worth it. Work with those you can trust, because they’ll do right by you.
- Do What You Love To Do
Kerkorian liked working. At age 52, he was already worth $250 million. He had more than enough to retire, but he thought that wouldn’t make for a very interesting life and decided to keep on going.
If you like to work, then why not keep on working? Retirement is not an age; it’s a dollar value. However, Kerkorian didn’t even see any point in retiring. He just kept on doing what he loved to do.
- Make Your Own Decisions
Whether it was dropping out of school at an early age or staying out of the spotlight and living a low key life, Kerkorian was his own man, and he made up his mind about what he wanted to do with his life.
A person doesn’t become wealthy without being sure of who they are and what they want out of life. Don’t let others tell you want to do; make up your own mind, and stick by your values.
- Work Hard
Kerkorian was an industrious fellow at a very young age. Like I said earlier, he was selling newspapers and working odd jobs when he was nine.
He certainly didn’t shy away from hard work. In the early days, he wanted to help his family earn enough money to make a difference, and he never forgot where he came from. He tipped well, and kept on giving back after earning his fortune.
- Diversify Your Income… When The Timing Is Right
Kerkorian is known as an investor in film studios as well as casinos. He was also a high-stakes poker player, and even tried his hand at boxing. He even created a commercial airline and sold it off.
We’ve all heard about the importance of diversifying, but there’s definitely something to be said for timing too. Getting involved in too many ventures too early can derail your focus. Kerkorian was obviously ambitious, but he also knew when to strike up a deal.
- Benefit Others
Some say Kerkorian was untrustworthy and unscrupulous. He was sued on multiple occasions, and he even had to settle some matters out of court.
However, there were many others who saw him as a “sure bet”. He helped a lot of people make money with great business deals.
If you want to leave a lasting legacy, you have to benefit others in some way.
- Live Life To The Fullest
There’s no way Kerkorian could have accomplished everything he did had he not lived life to the fullest.
Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts said about Kerkorian, “Over the years, we did deals together and enjoyed life. He was a man who lived every day to the fullest and although we will miss him, we know that Kirk in his time didn’t miss a thing.” (Las Vegas Sun News)
Are you fired up about life the way Kirk was? If you want to achieve, you have to life this life to the fullest.
Kirk Kerkorian was a man of great influence. He wasn’t much for the media or the limelight, but he focused on building lifelong friendships, and enjoyed low-key entertainment.
Most of all, Kerkorian was himself. He trusted in his own instincts, and did what he believed was best. He didn’t subscribe to the thoughts of others, and tended to do things his own way.
Kerkorian stands as a great example of someone who lived true to who he was. His success is rooted in his willingness to be 100% himself.