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What I learned from a billionaire

As I look back to the last two years, I have a great feeling of being lucky and blessed by making friends with a Forbes billionaire, an amazing mentor when I was at the age of 24. His name is Carlos Wizard Martins, a man with incredible faith and desire in helping people find success as well as peace in their life. He is a Brazilian entrepreneur and founder of Wizard Language schools and Grupo Multi, a company that offers franchises for professional courses. Grupo Multi was bought out by Pearson in 2013 over 700 million dollars.

He is the son of a truck driver and dressmaker. When he was 12, he and his family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he showed great interest in ​​learning English with Mormon missionaries. In order to pursue his dream, he went to the United States with only $ 100 in his pocket. At 19, he served a religious mission in Portugal.

In the early 1980s he went back to the United States with his wife and young family to study at Brigham Young University, where

he received a degree in Computer Science and Statistics. He then worked as a computer systems analyst in Brazil. He soon realized he was earning more by teaching his colleagues English at home, so he started Wizard Language Institute in 1987, and through the years acquired 10 more brands and developed the top franchising system in Brazil. After he sold his company, he bought Mundo Verde— the largest healthy food company in Latin America.

Carlos is also a productive author of the best seller books in Brazil. In 2002, he wrote a self-help book entitled Vencendo a Propria Crise (Overcoming Personal Crisis). His recent book Desperte o milionário que há em você (Awake the Millionaire Within) was a Brazilian bestseller. It has been translated and published in English (on, Spanish, as well as most recently in Chinese.(Coming out in April, 2015)

How I met Mr Carlos is what I call a “destiny” based on his strong passion and enthusiasm in learning Chinese. I have always been admiring his talents and persistence ever since then). I was teaching Mandarin through Confucius Institute at UNESP in Brazil from 2012-2013 and was occasionally introduced to him while he was searching for teachers to improve his Chinese speaking. I am amazed by the way he practices Chinese: For a super busy businessman like him, he still finds a great amount of time learning Chinese by making full use of technology—all kinds of Chinese learning apps on his phone, asking native speakers to record texts for him to listen and practice with, and constantly getting himself involved in daily conversations with Chinese teachers. He even listens to Chinese songs and memorizes the lyrics with great curiosity! What else can make a teacher happy if she has a student who is proactive and diligent like Carlos? I feel I have a great responsibility and mission in helping him become proficient in our language, most importantly, know more about Chinese culture.

From him, I observed and learned the power of action, and if you are really into something, just take immediate action and go for it, with constant concentration, you will arrive somewhere. This is one of the most important features of being an entrepreneur. Nowadays, Carlos can not only speak Chinese with great ease but even negotiated successfully with Chinese taxi driver who wanted overcharge him in Beijng, lol!

Leaders have a sense of urgency.

Another great lesson from Carlos is no matter which environment you are living in, you should never forget that you can be a leader and get things done. I lived in Brazil, a pretty relaxed country with a typical Latin style. People are constantly in vacation and enjoying life is most important principle, thus, in a culture like this, most people (even foreigners) prone to accept it, however, Carlos has acute awareness of accomplishing his plans, leaving “Brazilian genes” far behind. He taught me that leaders never wait, they act. On the way of helping him develop MisterWhiz app, I followed this hint and worked with Indian suppliers by proactively checking the progress, when problem/emergency arises, I actually feel excited and practice leadership by making efficient plans and finding solutions.

More important than speed is direction.

This is another quote that he constantly mentions to me, and he is totally right. Nowadays we are surrounded with all sorts of information, attractions and opportunities. Sometime the options in front of us are so many that we have tremendous pain in choosing what works best for us. Thus we tend to make our life easier and pick one then go with it. I myself sometimes find life so confusing in terms of progressing. But Carlos showed a great example to me by explaining how important it is to recognize reality and choose the right direction: From the early moment he started to work with franchising system until he became a billionaire with more than 3500 schools (franchises) and 45000 employees in 10 countries, serving one million students each year, even after he sold Multi group—that he regarded as “his own child” and bought Mundo Verde, he has always been concentrating on one direction—Franchising! Because he knows that though there are numerous business opportunities in the market and new technology allures people to leave where they are and pursue new ventures, it is most secure and right to make full use of what you are already good at and maximize using this exclusive direction which belongs to yourself. Speed will provide you a moment of achievement, but direction guides your final fate.

Focus on the solution, not the problem.

He also taught me how critical it is to find solutions instead of letting a problem ruin your life. How rational or emotional you are? Scientists tell us that our brain finds it easy to let our emotions play a dominant role while we are confronting problems, depression or hardship. Most people tend to feel bad or lost when problems arise, and remember this, the longer time it takes for you to adjust (from realizing the problem—feeling upset/ low—reacting to it—finding a solution), the worse the situation can be. In other words, if the duration is zero, congratulations; your rational side has prevailed and your positive & immediate action will reward you with a satisfying result. “Imagine you have a flat tire as an emergency while you are driving on the freeway or somewhere with a small population, will you feel upset? Certainly you will, but a real problem-solver will only take a breath and count “1…2…3” then start making plans of fixing it or seek help immediately. Of course, this is just an easy example, life in your world would probably be much more complex, and most of times, problems come while you are managing multi-tasking, it indeed needs a mindset of this and considerable practice.

The secret—Law of attraction:Thoughts are things.

This is my favorite lesson learned from Carlos, I still remember how serious and passionate he was when he presented this film/ concept to me while I was in Brazil, 2013. If you haven’t watched it or read the book, I highly recommend you to appreciate this great work. Whether you believe in this brain/ mind exercise or not, one of the greatest principle I love is “You are what you think”. More specifically, if you are under challenge or preparing for some difficult tasks, you can use this method to actively envision that you have already achieved success. Take myself as an example, I had only 1.5 month to prepare for coming to study in United States, which includes studying and passing the horrible TOEFL and GRE( God Read, just kidding.) , as well as the preparation of documents and applications for getting admitted by BYU, at that time, I was facing tremendous pressure and could not sleep, somehow, I thought of “ the secret”, and started to imagine what I would be like after I got accepted by BYU and study in US, I could even envision how proud I would be by conquering all the obstacles and uncertainties in life, and finally find peace in this wonder land. Now, here I am, with 7 months' self-improving in US and being closer to realizing my dream, I can’t thank this concept enough.

Another great usage of this secret that Carlos shared with me is when you are confronting with trouble or something you want to get rid of but you can’t, for example, you are sitting in a low efficient meeting with some annoying clients who deliver unreasonable requests or have arguments with other partners, try practicing this: Imagine that you close your eyes and become a tree, in a beautiful beach, enjoying the breeze of light wind and peaceful sunshine. Just ignore the scene you are physically in, and have a positive image in your mind. Then after the argument (or the part makes you feel bad) you can continue to be proactive in solving problem with a refreshed mind and positive attitude, even come up with a more effective idea, saying: “Ok, based on what we discussed, here is our solution, we are going to realize/ accomplish 1,2,3..(You just restate what you insist and your plan). What do you think of this practice? Quite interesting, right? Why not have a try?

There are numerous lessons that I learnt with Mr Carlos, and if you are interested in knowing more, please add me at twitter: @Yingying727 or Facebook: Li Yingying, 李莹莹weibo.

And follow @CarlosMartinsUS on twitter or Facebook: Carlos Wizard Martins, or 卡洛斯-韦泽-马汀斯weibo,more great sharing from Forbes Billionaire are coming!

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