If you haven’t heard his story it’s worth looking him up, but I’ll give you the run down here.
He purchases 7600 acres south of Brisbane city. Land that NO ONE wanted.
Only 5% was deemed as usable, there was no planning permission for any of the land and it was in a terrible socio-economic area (boarded by Ipswich and Inala in the early 90’s – I’ve said enough). No one wanted to touch it.
This was a man with an idea, who wouldn’t let anyone stop him. A man who was told time and time again that it couldn’t be done, that he shouldn’t buy the land and that he had no idea what he was doing.
This all started in 1992. 23 years later, 15% of the land is developed, it’s the 3rd fastest growing area in Australia and in 2010 it won an award for the best international master planned community in the world. This area is Greater Springfield, hosting the suburb of Springfield lakes, sitting within the Ipswich City Council area.
He shared his story with us, and it was inspirational to say the least.
He grew up in Malaysia, with no running water and no electricity. When he was 4 his father was taken away by Japanese soldiers. Hundreds were taken away and put in prison, only 2 ever walked out, his father was one of them. He puts his fathers release solely down to the work of his mother who was relentless and fearless, she would not stop until she had achieved what she set out to achieve.
He studied by lamp light every night, and once he had finished his schooling, got a boat to sydeny to attend university
His 4 year civil engineering degree too six years. He failed year one and had to repeat, he failed year two and apologised to his father. Expecting him to be upset, he simply got a message back that said “don’t give up” He completed passed the second year and went on to pass the rest of his degree.
His story from there is ones of ups and downs, many stories of business success always followed by business failure. At one point owing over $42million after a failed venture.It was a lot of debt, with a wife and 4 children to provide for, but he started again from the beginning.
In 1992 he bought land south of Brisbane, with a plan. Developers told him he was an idiot, that the should just divide into 40 acre plots, sell it off and run away. But he knew what he wanted to achieve.
He’s turned a dust bowl into a thriving community, one that has received over $11.7 billion of investment so far, and which is only at 15% development.
He fought every step of the way to see his plans through. He had to fight to get development rights, he had to get parliament to pass a bill to approve his city, he had to get the government to fund the development of a highway out to his area, but he got there.
He follows a series of personal rules, mantras if you will, that keep him going when times get tough.
- You are whatever you want to be
- Persistence, persistence, persistence
- The darkest night brings the brightest dawn
- Success is your birthright
- You are what you think – think big and you’ll be big
- Be fearless, you have nothing to fear, nothing at all
- You have no excuses
He was a wonderfully engaging speaker – you can watch the video I created about him for the Trainers Academy here.
So, what can you take this from this?
Lot’s, but I think the key concept to take from this is that ANYTHING is possible. If you are really committed to it. You have to be like a dog with a bone, you have to be persistent, you have to keep going and never give up, but you CAN create whatever you want.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below,