BMW hadn't officially entered India, nor had Audi or Volkswagen. There was no Blackberry either and people used to go to the cyber-cafe to surf the net. People used to visit travel agents to buy airline tickets.
I feel lucky that I came India in those days, because I somehow was amongst the lucky ones who could benefit from the economic growth that took place. I feel anyone involved with sectors like the stock market or real estate would have done very well, provided they had a long term belief in India. Anyone who invested in assets then would be happier today.
But at the same time, the income gaps have widened. Wealth has gone into the hands of a few, mainly people who owned businesses. Even though salaries have risen, asset prices have also risen. Inflation has risen and caused quite a few people to worry about how they can fight it.
We witnessed a major global economic meltdown, which honestly was one of the best times to create wealth - the returns made during that period were phenomenal. But once again, not many benefited from it.
The thing is, if you are constantly in a worried and depressed state you can not think clearly. You can not keep your mind open to new ideas and opportunities. That is the reason we as Happionaires stress the importance of smiling and being happy first - then automatically as if by magic all good will be attracted to you. People say we will be happy only after we are rich, we will be happy only after we grow our business or only after we get that special person to love or only after we get that promotion. They fail to realize that all they need to do is smile, keep a pure heart and be happy and thank God for whatever they have.
I have noticed that how a simple smile from the heart has the power to attract the most powerful of forces to you. Wealth likes to be in the company of positive energy and happiness. New ideas and opportunities like to be in the company of cheerful and enthusiastic people. When I look back into the last decade, I realize that people who created wealth weren't necessarily the ones who were the most educated or the ones with the largest amount of capital to invest - but people who were positive and optimistic about the future. On the other hand, I meet so many highly educated people who weren't able to benefit from the growth because of their lack of openness to new ideas.
I'm sure all of you must be remembering the bank manager and my college professor's I had gone to for advice on how to start investing, they still are in the same place they were ten years ago - doing the same thing. I do not blame them, the problem is that the conventional system has trained people to think that creating wealth is evil and not something they should do. So a child can think about becoming a doctor or lawyer or engineer, but if a child thinks about becoming rich he is evil or still worse teachers and parents tell him 'he can't do it'.
They advised me not to, I'm glad I didn't listen to them. People who create wealth have always done things that others don't. When I invested in India first, it was out of a sense of playfulness, enthusiasm and desire. Luckily for me, I don't have a habit of listening to people who tell me I can't do it. I didn't have lots of money, not did I have any specialized degree.
As we enter 2011, I take just one vow and that is to continue being a Happionaire. To continue being open to new ideas. To continue smiling and sharing my smiles. To continue making the most of life. To continue sharing knowledge and at the same time learning as much as I can from everyone around me. To continue believing that wealth can be enjoyed only when one has peace of mind, happiness and a sense of purpose in life. Being a Happionaire and spreading the Happionaire Way will be the most important thing to do in 2011.
I wish each one of you, from the bottom of my heart, a very Happy New Year and the journey with you has been wonderful and I want you to share this wonderful experience with your family, friends and loved ones.