10 Lessons From "Red Paper Clip Guy"
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 form "Red paper clip Guy."
But first, let's talk about how he got this odd nickname: This is a guy who had a red paper clip, which he
traded for a fish shaped pen on July 14 2005.
He then traded the pen for a hand sculpted doorknob, which he traded for a fully fueled Coleman camp stove. Then
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 snowglobe.
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 Kilpling Saskatchewan.
All of this was done in less than two years...
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 the house...simply by a series of well crafted trades.
Most likely, you have a lot more resources than a simple paper clip to get started 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
simple. But remember that this is a process which took nearly 3 years and sent "the red paper clip guy" to many
different locations. He probably also heard the word "no thanks" hundreds of times...but he didn't give up until he
met his objective.
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 paper clip 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, the better career etc.
5. Ask and You Shall Receive
Again, look at the list of exchanges and you'll realize that some of them the red paperclip guy got a MUCH
better deal than the other person. But 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 paper clip was worth a pen...or that a KISS snowglobe 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
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 either. What you have that you don't value could end up being the tool which you can use to get you 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 less
than three years. 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 paper clip to a house
in less than three years. 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 self esteem, self help and
build success from the ground up, check out "Amazing Self":