Have you ever felt like you couldn’t do
something that you really wanted to do because you lacked
the resources? If so, you are about to learn 10 vital
lessons about resourcefulness from the “red paperclip
But first, let’s talk about how he got this odd nickname:
This is a guy who had a red paperclip, which he traded for
a fish-shaped pen on July 14th, 2005.
He then traded the pen for a hand-sculpted doorknob, which
he traded for a fully fueled Coleman camp stove.
On September 24th, 2005, he traded the stove for a Honda
generator, which he traded for an “instant party”
(commitment to fill an empty keg).
He then traded the “instant party” to a comedian in
exchange for a snowmobile. He then traded the snowmobile
for a two-person trip to British Columbia, and he traded
the trip for a cube van.
On February 22nd, 2006, he 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
He then traded this to Corbin Bernsen for a role in Donna
on Demand, and he traded that role for a two-story
farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.
All of this was done in a year.
Ten Things You Can Learn from This Story
1. Don’t Despise 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 really fast.
Think about how this guy started out with one red
paperclip and ended up with a house–simply by making a
series of well-crafted trades.
Most likely, you have a lot more resources than a simple
paperclip to help you start doing what you want to do.
2. Persistence Pays
While reading the list of exchanges which led to the
house, it might be easy to assume that this was pretty
It wasn’t. Remember that this is a process which took a
year and sent “the red paperclip guy” to many different
He probably also heard the word “no thanks” hundreds of
times … but he didn’t give up until he met his
3. You Don’t Need Money to Acquire Stuff
No matter what you want in life or how expensive it seems,
this story proves that you don’t always have to have money
to get what you want.
Think about it: Exchanging materials or services was the
way in which the American economy (one of the largest in
the world) was established. In fact, it wasn’t until a few
hundred years ago that the US started using paper money.
So remember this, and the story of the red paperclip guy
… and that you don’t always need money to get what you
4. Creativity Pays
Look at the list of exchanges this man made to acquire
this two-story summer home, and you’ll realize what a
significant role creativity had to have played.
Creativity is probably your most valuable asset when it
comes to getting anything you want: more money, the
perfect partner, a better body, a better career, etc.
5. Ask and You Shall Receive
Again, look at the list of exchanges and you’ll realize
that in some of them the red paperclip guy got a MUCH
better deal than the other person.
These are all deals that he would not have gotten if he
had thought: “Ah, that’s not an even trade … they’ll
never go for that.”
If there’s something that you want, you’ll never get it if
you don’t ask for it. But if you just get into the habit
of asking for what you want, you might be amazed at how
easily people say yes.
6. Value Is Relative
This is probably one of the most vital lessons you can
learn about success: Value is relative. After all, who
decided that a red paperclip was worth a pen … or that a
KISS snow globe was worth a part in a TV show?
7. Resourcefulness Is More Important Than Resources
Again, considering the series of exchanges which led up to
the acquiring of the house, obviously the red paperclip
guy was a resourceful person. It was this resourcefulness
that made up for a tremendous lack of material resources.
8. One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure
Again, value is relative. If you have something that you
don’t want, don’t just assume that no one else wants it
What you have that you don’t value could end up being the
tool you use to get what you really want … without
really giving anything up.
9. It Doesn’t Take 30 Years to Own a House
Most people try to realize the dream of homeownership by
taking out a 30-year mortgage. This guy did it in a year.
This should also prove that when time is lacking,
creativity can do more than make up for it.
10. You Can Make Your Own Luck
Is this guy just lucky or is this the result of strategic
persistence and creativity?
Surely, luck can cause isolated incidents to occur, but
not a strategic series of trades which led from a dinky
red paperclip to a house in a year.
If this man “made his own luck” this way, certainly you
can too if you put these ten lessons to work for you and
do the same.
For more great tips on how to build success from the
ground up, get a free personalized numerology report now.