Michael Bloomberg on Succeeding by Doing the Unpopular Thing

At age 75, Michael Bloomberg has accomplished more than most people can dream of. According to Forbes, the high-profile politician and entrepreneur, who considered running for President in 2016, is worth about $48 billion.

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Swearing to a life of complete honesty, Bloomberg says that when he receives advice not to do something, he is almost always led down the risky, unpopular path.

Bloomberg used his electrical engineering degree to build his own information technology company and program a computer terminal for bond traders, which turned into Bloomberg L.P. He retains an 88% stake in the business which he founded in 1981 and now rakes in over $9 billion in annual revenues.

Like any highly successful individual, and especially in American politics, Bloomberg has had to deal with his fair share of criticism and failure. He was once fired from his job at Salomon Brothers, where he started his career as an entry level investment banker in 1966.

In a speech at a Vanity affair event in 2014, the three-time Mayor of New York City shed light on his experience. “Not everybody is going to like you, okay,” he explained. “Why give them the satisfaction of hurting you and making you miserable?”

In his third re-election campaign, he emphasized the fact that he was the only candidate that could not be bought by special interest groups. His core campaign message was that he actually cared about the people he would serve and would work hard in their best interest.

The CEO has donated over $4 billion to causes such as gun control and climate change. He is adamant about tackling the issues that are unpopular and that no other politician will go after. “If I finish my term in office… and have high approval rating, then I wasted my last years in office,” said the Democrat turned Republican turned Independent in an interview with New York Times.

“if you look at people, whether in business or government, who haven’t had any moral compass, who’ve just chanted to say whatever they thought the popular thing was, in the end they’re losers.”