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How to Turn a Paperclip Into a House

By Carolyn Hanson / Amazing Self

Would you consider yourself a resourceful person?

I like to think that I am, but the truth is I often find my progress to achieving something important is blocked because I seem to lack the resources needed to get the job done.

Not too long ago I learned about the "Red paper clip Guy" whose lessons on resourcefulness I think are worth sharing.

He has 8 of them that I am going to relate to you in a moment.

But before I do, you are probably wondering about that odd nickname of his.

I made a note of his story when I first learned about him, so I can tell you that it all started
with a red paper clip that he traded for a fish shaped pen on July 14, 2005.

Later, he traded the pen for a hand sculpted doorknob, which he traded for a fully fueled Coleman camp stove.

Then on September 24th, 2005, he traded the stove for a Honda generator, which he in turn traded
for an "instant party" (commitment to fill an empty keg).

See where this is leading? Of course you don't, so keep reading!

He then, so the story goes, traded his "instant party" to a comedian in exchange for a snowmobile,
the snowmobile for a two person trip to British Columbia, which he traded up to a cube van (I have no idea what that is).

Stay with me, because even though I cannot guarantee that any of this story is true (though as far as I know it is), it pays offs in some valuable lessons.

Actually, 8 of them, like I mentioned before.

On February 22nd 2006, "Red paper clip Guy" traded the cube van for a recording contract in Tokyo.

He traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year's rent in Arizona, which he traded
for an afternoon with Alice Cooper, which he traded for a KISS motorized snowglobe.

He then traded the snowglobe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in Donna on Demand, and he traded
that role for a two-story farmhouse in Kilpling Saskatchewan.

And all of this was done in less than three years...

Now, here are 8 things you can learn from this story

[1] Don't Dismiss Small Beginnings

No matter how small and insignificant something may seem at first, never underestimate the fact
that it could grow into something much greater... and quite rapidly.

Think about how this guy started out with one red paper clip and ended up with the house, simply through a series of well crafted trades.

More than likely, you have a lot more resources available to you than a simple paper clip to get started doing what you want to do.

[2] Persistence Pays

Although each of the trades involved no great exchange of wealth, they worked to grow the
worth of the trade from virtually nothing to something quite considerable.

Some serious amount of work was involved. The "Red paper clip Guy" probably also heard the
word "no thanks" time and again - but he didn't give up until he met his objective, which was to "trade up".

[3] You Don't Need Money to Acquire Stuff

No matter what you want in life or how expensive it seems, you don't always have to rely on money
to get what you want.

Think about what you have that someone else might value (because they DO NOT have it) that you can trade to get what you want.

[4] Creativity Pays

Luck played no role in turning a paper clip into a two-story summer home. Common sense tells us
that creativity had to have played a big part in this.

Creativity is probably your most valuable asset when it comes to getting anything you want from
life: more money, the perfect partner, a better body, the better career.

[5] Ask and You Shall Receive

For some of exchanges the red paper clip guy got a MUCH better deal than the other person. Do you
think he stopped and deliberated each time with thoughts like "Ah, that would not be an even trade... They'll never go for that."

I doubt it. If there's something you want, one thing is for sure, you'll never get it if you don't ask for it.

[6] Value is Relative / One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

This is probably one of the most vital lessons you can learn about success: value is relative. Was the red paper clip was worth the pen? Was the KISS snowglobe worth a part in a TV show?

Obviously the person who made the trade thought so! If you have something that you don't want... don't assume that no one else will want it either.

What you have that you do not currently value could end up being the tool you use to get you
what you really want... and without really giving anything up for it.

[7] Resourcefulness is More Important Than Resources

Again, considering the series of exchanges which led up to the final trade for the house, the red paper clip guy had to have been highly resourceful.

It was his resourcefulness that made up for his initial lack of material resources.

[8] You Can Make Your Own Luck

Was this guy just "lucky" or is this story the result of strategic persistence and creativity?

Yes, luck can play its part and explain isolated incidents, but it could not have played any serious
role in this strategic series of trades which led from a dinky red paper clip to a house in less than three years. If this man could "make his own luck" this way, certainly you can too.

Amazing SelfAll you need to do is be cognizant of these 8 lessons, and put them to work for yourself
the next time you go out to get whatever it is that you want from life.

If you want more great tips on how to build success from the ground up, check out the "Amazing Self" magazine.

This is a resource that is put together by a group of people that share a lot of the same traits as the red paper clip guy, and their goal is to help you "make your own luck" just like they have. Learn more here...


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