This is a pretty popular quote, it can be found in multitude of variations with the same meaning. Interestingly, you can find similar quotes in many languages. This is a quote that put emphasis on hard work, and is in a way contradictory to the quote i posted previously:
When you read the post above, you will understand that i disagree with the culture of overwork, because it robs you of time and thus of years of your life.
However, there is a merit to this international quote about hard work, and i will try to explain it here, even if i disagree.
Before tackling the meaning, we need to consider whom would it apply to ?
Does it apply to employees? No, not really, working like a slave can get you a raise or two, or maybe a promotion or two, but won’t offer life like kings. To the contrary you would feel now pressured to continue to provide same level of hard work.
Does it apply to athletes? Maybe, but not always. And the maybe only concerns top athletes in top sports disciplines, where they can count on enough sponsorship to finance many years or retirement.
Does it apply to education? Absolutely not, education is just a step, getting better grades gets you in better universities. Better universities, qualify to better job, but then you are back to the employee/job question.
Does it apply to entrepreneurs and businessmen? Yes it does, however, business is not as simple as that, and not all businesses manage to become successful, and even less businesses manages to free the entrepreneur from the work load to allow him to live like king.
Meaning of the quote:
You will have to work like a slave to live like a king
In essence, working hard and slaving to build the foundations of a business would allow you to have an easier life later on. It will allow you to have the finances to live in a much better state than the average employee in your area, and later be able to afford what the 1% can afford. But as i stated above, this is a quote that glorify hard work, even-though hard work often does not pay off.