The Entrepreneur’s 3Rs: Reading, Reflection, and Resourcefulness

In school we learned the 3 R’s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. These rules helped generations of learners gain valuable skills that they use every single day. However, super successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey use an amped up version of the 3R’s that give them the results in business and in their personal lives. Their 3R’s are : Reading, Reflection and Resourcefulness and you can use them to your advantage as well.

3 R’s:


How many hours a day do you devote to reading books that make you think, grow, and inspire you to implement ideas that make your life better? Oprah sums it up this way, ” Books were my pass to personal freedom.” I’m wondering how your life would change if you hung out for an hour or more a day with people like Napoleon Hill, Thomas Edison, John Wooden, or Seneca?


Unless you take the time to reflect on what you have learned and experienced, you will have difficulty making the connections necessary to make great decisions, improve mastery over a skill, or implement the right solutions.
Jen Stanchfield writes …it (reflection) is the “egg” that binds ingredients together and helps them rise. In cooking, eggs provide structure, richness, color, and flavor to recipes. Similarly,  reflective practice creates context for learning and makes lessons “stick” by helping learners pull meaning from a learning experience and find relevancy in a lesson.
Do you schedule time to think? Top performers make it a priority to schedule “thinking” time.Warren Buffet says, “In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”  When it comes to effectiveness, we can truly learn from feedback only when we take the time to reflect on its meaning.
“Many a false step was made by standing still” — Tim Ferriss
How does one come up with a quote that is worth repeating like the one above? When he or she has consolidated experience into a reflective statement whose truth is self evident.


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What does being resourceful mean? It means asking questions, being open minded, and to use trial and error until you come up with a solution that works .  Have you ever heard someone say something like, “It can never be done,” and then Edison proves them wrong. The Wright Brothers prove them wrong.  Henry Ford proves them wrong. The list goes on and on. When we don’t settle, and we keep striving for a solution, we, eventually find the right one when we don’t quit.

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” — Bill Gates

For example, this story comes from a Jataka Tale:

Once there was a poor boy who happened upon a dead mouse lying in the road. He wondered if he might turn that mouse’s misfor­tune into some sort of opportunity for himself.


He picked up the mouse and brought it to a tavern, where he offered it to the tavern-keeper to feed his cat. The tavern-keeper was grateful, and gave the boy a penny.

With this penny the boy went to the market and bought a very small amount of honey. Then he borrowed a large water pot, filled it with water and carried it into the fields where he knew there were some women picking flowers. It was a hot day, and he offered the flower-pickers a drink of water, each with a drop of honey in it to make it sweet and refreshing. The flower-pickers were grateful, and each gave him a handful of flowers. He sold these in the market, and now had a whole handful of pennies.

Soon afterwards a great storm blew in, bring­ing with it a mighty wind that blew down a large number of twigs and branches from the trees of the king’s pleasure garden. The gardener was scratching his head, wondering how he would clean it all up, when the boy popped up. He of­fered to clean up the entire mess in one day, if he were allowed to keep the wood he collected. The gardener agreed on the spot, greatly relieved.

The clever boy went immediately to the playground and offered the boys playing there a penny each to gather up all the wood and pile it beside the road. They were happy to do so, and had the task done in no time.

Just then a potter who worked nearby was looking for fuel to fire his clay pots in a kiln. The boy offered him the pile of wood, and the potter was delighted he did not have to scavenge wood himself in the forest. He rewarded the boy hand­somely, with a handful of money and several very large water pots.

Meanwhile the boy went to a tavern and befriended both a merchant and a sea captain. From the merchant he learned that a large cara­van with five hundred horses was due to arrive in the village soon.

Using the money he got from the potter, he hired some wagons, loaded his new water pots on them, and filled them with water. He also was able to buy some honey, which he mixed in with the water as before.

It was the season for taking in hay, and at least 500 men were toiling in the fields cutting grass. The boy brought his water to the parched field hands, and in return they each gave him a bundle of grass. He gathered all this grass on the wagons and brought it to the gate of the city, and was there to greet the caravan when it arrived.

The traders had crossed many miles of barren country on their journey, and their horses were famished. They gladly purchased his entire stock of grass, giving him in return from their goods a fine set of clothing, a fancy tent, and a large jew­eled ring.

The boy next learned from his friend the sea captain that a ship was due in port with a rich cargo from foreign lands, and he hatched a plan.

Putting on the fine clothing and the jeweled ring, he had just enough coins left to hire an ex­pensive-looking carriage and driver for an hour. He drove down to the shore to meet the ship as soon as it arrived, with all the appearance of be­ing the son of a very wealthy merchant. He said his father had instructed him to buy the entire ship’s cargo at a generous price, to be paid when the goods were unloaded. He offered the ship’s captain his ring as security for the purchase. The captain was happy to sell all his goods at once, and accepted the offer.

Then the boy drove a short distance off, set up the tent he had gotten from the caravan traders, and promised a handful of coins to three boys if they would help him by acting as his servants. He draped each in a scrap of the fine cloth, and gave them the following instructions. They were told to usher into his presence anyone who turned up wanting to see him, but to do so in three stages. The first boy was to escort the visitor into the vicinity of the tent, the second was to accompany him up to the door, while the third was to usher him in to the presence of the boy posing as a rich merchant’s son.

Before long a hundred merchants went to the dock to buy goods from the ship, but were told by the captain that his entire cargo had already been sold to the wealthy merchant. They fell over one another to reach the boy in his tent, but were made to wait as the “servants” led them one by one to see the “wealthy merchant.” He auctioned off all the goods one by one, making each merchant bid against the others to get what he wanted. The process took a long time, as you might imagine, but the merchants were all so eager to acquire the goods that they drove the prices up very high indeed. By the end of the day the boy had enough money to pay the captain what he had promised him and keep three times as much again for himself.

The boy returned to his village, married the girl he had loved since childhood, and lived a long and prosperous life. He used his wealth to help out anyone in need, and was renowned for his generosity. The moral of the story is that resourcefulness can lead to an abundant life.

Try the 3R’s for yourself and see how much your life can improve just by following these simple three rules.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Remember, you are so much more than who you think yourself to be






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