I just finished The Prosperous Peasant by Tim Clark & Mark Cunningham. The Prosperous Peasant is very similar to the book “The Richest Man in Babylon”. Like the The Richest Man, it shares secrets from a school lead by the most prosperous man in Japan. Instead of teaching about wealth like The Richest Man, The Prosperous Peasant talks about the Five secrets of prosperity and fulfillment. Being a karateka of a Japanese style, I particularly could relate to the samurai backdrop of this tale.
The Prosperous Peasant starts with two peasants who dream of prosperity and decide to find a mentor. The decide to seek the advise about prosperity of Toyotomi Hideyoshi who rose from being a peasant to the chief Samurai of the shogun (In history, Hideyoshi later becomes the shogun after Nobunaga was assassinated).
The two peasants, Jiro and Gonsuke impressed Hideyoshi because instead of asking for employment or favors like most people, they were seeking something more precious – the wisdom to provide for themselves. Hideyoshi decides to teach them and anybody else willing to listen to his five secrets of fortune and fulfillment at the Samurai’s Temple School.
Hideyoshi’s Five Secrets to Prosperity
1. Gratitude attracts luck
Most people wish for luck…hoping that the one-day, they will strike it rich. Hideyoshi believed that luck is all around us and we have endless opportunity if we look at the world through the eyes of thankfulness. This chapter conveys a story about a man who receives a scroll from his father stating ~When you drink from a stream, remember the spring ~ The man in the story became prosperous once he understood the true meaning of this scroll.
2. Know your gifts
This secret is about discovering your strengths and using them to become successful. Discovering and developing your talents is a vital part of creating independence and responsibility.
3. Conceivable means achievable
If we harness our talents with clear objectives, than anything we conceive is achievable. If you cannot see yourself achieving something, then you literally can’t. The subconscious mind is a power ally if you put it to work for you. Therefore, we must direct it by seeing ourselves able to achieve our desired results.
4. Effort determines Results
This chapter tells a great story about a boy attendant who gets wrongly accused by his lord for wearing the lord's sandals. In a fit of rage, the lord hits the attendant with the sandal leaving him scarred for life. Without a job, the boy looks for ways of revenge on the lord. He decides the best way would be to become a priest. An elder priest tells him that average effort produces average results and extraordinary effort produces extraordinary results. In the end, he becomes one of the top priests in Japan and gets his opportunity for revenge, but finds that he no longer desires it. He realizes that he should be thankful to the lord for the incident because he would never have reached his full potential without it. The priest proudly displayed the sandal as a reminder of his good fortune. I particularly connected with this message because I can think of a few similar incidents in my life that drove me toward success.
5. Collaboration breeds success
This secret’s message is obvious. It means that without the help of other people success is difficult. Finding win-win situations will rocket your success along with the success of the collaborating people.
I think the author, Tim Clark and Mark Cunningham, do an exceptional job of conveying their secrets of prosperity through this samurai tale. Because of its story like nature, The Prosperous Peasant is a quick and enjoyable reading. My experience shows that most of the advise on prosperity is time tested although as a business owner I can no longer relate to the parts about being a good employee. Looking back at my days with an employer, they will work effectively. I still enjoyed reading the book.