Thomas C. Corley

About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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CNBC Article on the Habits of High Achievers

Tom Corley boats - cropOne of my blog posts was picked up by CNBC.

The top 10 most common habits of high achievers


It’s Not Easy to be a Leader


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Joseph Allen is the principal investigator at the University of Virginia’s Adolescent Research Group. In his research he found that human beings are hardwired to follow. Or, more specifically, the desire to follow the crowd (Herd Doctrine) appears to be a human trait.

For this reason, leaders are outliers. To be a leader you must overcome the built-in human desire to follow.

Many years ago, Candid Camera decided to test this science in their famous Elevator Prank. As funny as that Candid Camera prank was, it highlighted the lengths people will go to be part of the herd.

This Herd Doctrine is why so few become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs must defy everyone they know inside their herd – their family, friends, neighbors, and other individuals.

If you are considering pursuing success via a big goal or life dream, you must, at some point, confront and overcome the well-intentioned members of your herd who will try to dissuade you. It won’t be easy. Your evolutionary conditioning and the evolutionary conditioning of those inside your herd will fight you every step of the way.

Dreamers or entrepreneurs are essentially trying to create or grow their own herd. There are two steps you must follow in creating your own herd:

Step 1 – Separate Yourself From You Herd
Separating yourself from the herd is why most people never achieve success. The herd stops them in their tracks. The moment anyone in your herd gets wind that you are pursuing some big goal, life dream or purpose they pounce on you. You are bombarded with all sorts of negativity. “What happens if you fail?” “Maybe it’s too risky.” “The odds of success are stacked against you.” “You’re not smart enough.” “Where will you get the money?” It takes super human effort to persist in the face of such criticism. Most don’t. They surrender to the herd.

Step 2 – Create Your Own Herd
Successful people succeed because they are able to pull others away from their other herds to join their own herd.

If you can get the herd to move to your product or service, it can make you an overnight success. It forces other herds to move in your direction. For example, when the Facebook herd was formed, others left out of the herd began quickly jumping on the Facebook herd bandwagon. That herd now has over a billion members.

Successful people are successful because they are able to get others to join their herd. Millionaires have big herds, deca-millionaires, bigger herds and billionaires, huge herds.

Understanding the Herd Doctrine is critical to success in life. Getting the herd to turn your way, or join your own herd, is what millionaires and billionaires do. Successful people are actually herd creators.

When The Student Is Ready The Teacher Will Appear


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I remember asking one of the millionaires in my Rich Habits Study, a woman, what led her to take the leap of faith and start her own insurance agency.

The woman smiled and became reflective for a moment. Then she told me her amazing story.

It was a time of great discontent. She was in her mid-thirties. She was very unhappy with her job. She did not get along with her boss. She did not like her long commute, how much money she made and she shared with me many other things about her life that were dragging her down.

Then, one morning, she woke up to a voice in her head – “do what you love and you will never work another day in your life”.

The millionaire-woman told me she must have heard her mother say those words a thousand times growing up. But the words fell on the deaf ears of a child, until, as an adult, she became discontented with her job and her life.

It was only then, for the first time, that she truly heard the wisdom in her mother’s words, screaming to her one fateful morning. Words that had been living there, inside her mind, since a child.

Only when she was ready to receive that information, did the wisdom in those words have meaning.

Over the past ten years, I’ve spoken to thousands at various events, conferences, etc. My goal is always the same – to leave my listeners with some words of wisdom that might help take them down a path towards the life they were intended to live.

Most end up buying one or more of my books. Often, I would get thank you emails from former attendees, sometimes years later, telling me that they had just re-read one of my books and, as a result, had decided to make some major change in their life.

Initially, when I’d receive those emails, I would scratch my head and wonder to myself, why did it take so many years for my words of wisdom to sink it?

Then one day I came across the following Buddhist proverb:

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Truer words were never written.

Wisdom is all around us. We are literally bombarded by it every day. Family, friends, co-workers, supervisors, media, blogs, podcasts, TEDx talks, all spouting words of wisdom. Words that, far too often, fall on deaf ears – until, that is, we are ready to receive it.

Life altering events, unhappiness or discontent are often stop signs that force us to pause and reconsider the path we are on in our life. In those moments, moments represented by serous self-reflection, all of life’s distractions melt away and our entire mind opens up, allowing us to see or receive wisdom that had been staring us straight in the eyes for many years.

Wisdom only visits those who are ready to receive it.

Here’s Why So Many Give Up On Their Goals


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Setting, pursuing and achieving goals is a common habit of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study. No epiphany there. But what should be an epiphany to everyone, is how self-made millionaires set goals, which, I learned, is very different from how most people go about setting and pursuing goals.

One of the reasons self-made millionaires become rich, is they know something about goal-setting that isn’t taught in schools. And this knowledge enables them to achieve 100% of their goals, every time, all the time.

Unfortunately, most people who set goals, grow frustrated or beaten down and eventually give up on their goals. That’s too bad because if they had just a little bit more knowledge, they could achieve every single goal they pursued. So, what are ordinary people getting wrong about goals? Why do so many quit on their goals?

Your Goals Are Not Tied to Your Dreams

Your goals must be an integral part of your dreams – those lofty wishes that, together, produce your ideal future life. There is, however, a process, which I define as Dream-Setting. Essentially, Dream-Setting involves a two-step process:

  1. Creating a 500 – 1,500 word script of your ideal life.
  2. Identifying the dreams, embedded within your script.

Goals built around the dreams defined by the blueprint of your ideal life, help you to gain clarity and produce passion, which is the next problem with goal-setting.

Your Goals Lack Passion

Goals are your construction crew, meaning they are your workforce, meaning goals are hard work. If you lack passion, you must rely on motivation and willpower. Motivation and willpower have short lives. They only last a few hours and constantly need to be recharged. This ebb and flow can stifle goal achievement. However, if your goals are built around dreams, those dreams will infuse you with passion and passion is tied to the emotional part of your brain (Limbic System), creating emotional energy that is virtually limitless. To learn more about emotional energy read my book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.

Your Goals Lack Habits

Ideally, you want to create daily goal habits that make goal achievement automatic. When you create habits around your goals, you don’t need to rely on passion, you don’t need to rely on motivation and you don’t need to rely on willpower. You will engage in those daily goal habits because habits are unconscious habitual behaviors that, once forged, force you to engage in that behavior, no matter your emotional or mental state.

Your Goals Lack Physical Activity

A goal is only a goal if it includes physical activity – action. Without physical activity, a goal is only a wish. And wishes don’t come true until you convert them to goals.

Your Goals Are Not Achievable

If you lack the knowledge or skill-set to perform the actions required of goals, you will not be able to achieve that goal until you acquire that knowledge or those skills.  Acquiring that knowledge or skills can take many years.


Are You Focusing on the Right Things?


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When I was 17, I was one of the top youth tennis players in the northeast. Another 17 year old tennis player I knew, wasn’t as good as me. I beat him soundly in every tennis tournament in which we met. But, his family had money. So, they went out and got him a tennis coach.

Within a year he was beating me, barely. But, he was beating me. That coach had transformed him into one of the best young tennis players in the northeast in less than a year. I never forgot that.

To be a great tennis player you can’t have any weaknesses. You have to know what needs improvement. Do you focus on your serve? Do you focus on your volleys up at the net? Do you focus on your overhead, backhand, forehand, groundstrokes, footwork or fitness?

If you focus on the wrong things, you’ll never become a great tennis player. Knowing what to focus on separates the average from the above average. It takes you to the next level.

When you’re pursuing success in a career or business, it’s no different. Focus, alone, is not enough. You need to know what to focus on. If you mis-spend your time focusing on the wrong things, success will remain elusive.

So, how do you know what to focus on?

  • Get a Coach – Coaching is gaining prominence in business. If you can afford a business coach, you want to find someone who is a bone fide expert in what you do. If they’re not, you’re wasting your money. Experts see what non-experts cannot see. They can see weaknesses, strengths; they can help you identify the areas you need to focus on.
  • Find a Mentor – Typically, this is someone who has at least a decade of experience doing what you are currently doing. If you work for a company, mentors are typically individuals who are at least two levels above where you are. If you’re an entrepreneur, mentors are other successful entrepreneurs, who have done are are still doing, what you are doing.
  • Read Books – Books can become your mentors in life. This self-mentoring is an investment that will not pay off for many years. But if you make reading self-help books or biographies of other success people a daily habit, eventually you will gain valuable knowledge and become better at what you do.
  • Mastermind Groups – A mastermind group only works if everyone in the group shares something in common. As an example, if you want to become a successful author, the members of your mastermind group should include other authors writing exactly about the same things as you, literary agents, publishers, author-centric publicists, editors, etc. Mastermind groups work best when they are limited to five or six individuals and meet at least once a week.

Knowing what to focus separates the average from the above-average. It accelerates your growth. It transforms you into a virtuoso.

Subscriber Opportunity – Who Wants to be in the Media?

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One of my writer-contacts in the media is writing an article for .

This writer would like to hear from my subscribers regarding the Rich Habits blog. She will post your response on

Please respond to me and I will forward to my contact. Here is her email to me re: this request:

Hi Tom,

Hope you are well. I am writing a story for All about great email newsletters for entrepreneurs. (May syndicate as well.) 

I wonder if you know a fan of yours who would like to share a paragraph or two? I can link to their site and yours. Let me know what you think. Trying to wrap up early next week. 



The Role of Luck in Wealth Creation


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I would be doing my readers a disservice if I didn’t acknowledge the importance of luck in the creation of wealth. Luck, I’ve learned from my research, is a common denominator among certain millionaires. Without it they would have never become wealthy.

There are essentially six types of millionaires:

  1. Savers – Savers accumulated their wealth by living below their means, saving money and then investing that money prudently.
  2. Executives – These millionaires started out working for large publicly held corporations. Through hard work, smart office politics, constant self-improvement and powerful relationship-building skills, they rose up the ladder in their respective companies. As executives, they received higher than normal compensation, which always included bonuses and stock compensation.
  3. Entrepreneurs – These millionaires are individuals who pursued a dream, started their own business, overcame obstacles, faced adversity and through superhuman persistence, succeeded. 
  4. Virtuoso’s – These millionaires devote their lives to acquiring knowledge and building unique skills. After many years of focus and devotion to their careers or craft, they become virtuoso’s at what they do.  And others are more than happy to pay them a premium for their services or the products they sell.  
  5. Trust Fund Babies – These are individuals who are born into wealth and inherit most of their money.
  6. Gamblers – These are individuals who gamble regularly and get lucky by winning the lottery or the slots or something along those lines.

For Entrepreneurs, Trust Fund Babies and Gamblers, luck plays a major factor in becoming wealthy.  The difference for Entrepreneurs and Executives is that they create their own luck. Through hard work, constant self-improvement, persistence and taking calculated risks, Entrepreneurs and Executives create the opportunity for luck to occur. They are the beneficiaries of Opportunity Luck, whereas Trust Fund Babies and Gamblers are the beneficiaries of Random Good Luck – two very different types of luck.

Luck is not a factor for the Savers and the Virtuoso’s. So, for those who do not want to depend on luck, your best option is to become a Saver or a Virtuoso.

Mentors Fast-Track Success


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When I sought to write my second book, Rich Kids, I had an end in mind. I wanted to write a book that served one of the most important needs of success-minded individuals – the need to be mentored.

You see, with the success of my first book, Rich Habits, I began to receive frequent emails from different individuals around the world, asking me to be their personal mentor.

I’m one person running three businesses. And I knew it was impossible to be a mentor to everyone. So, I wrote Rich Kids to serve as my mentor surrogate.

Mentorship, I learned from my Rich Habits study, was one of the Rich Habits of self-made millionaires. Long before they became rich, the self-made millionaires in my study found people to mentor them.

Mentorship fast-tracks success. It takes the success learning curve from a lifetime, down to just twelve years, according to my research data. 

What does that mean?

It means if you want to get rich before you get old, find mentors.

I just read a very interesting article in CNBC Make It about this. Here’s the link.

In this article, Timothy Kim, a self-made millionaire, chronicles how he spent $70,000 for mentorship over the course of six months.

Kim is like many of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study who were fanatical about seeking out mentors.

And they are happy to pay for that mentorship.

I do a lot of speaking engagements around the world (my favorite is the Wealth Retreat). Many of the organizations who pay me to speak, charge upwards of $10,000 per participant for a five-day session. The participants are always individuals who are pursuing wealth or who are already wealthy.

The participants pay these large seminar fees because they believe in investing in mentorship. Their hope is that they will learn something or meet someone at these events that will help take them to the next level.

And if those event hosts do their job, that’s exactly what happens. They help take their participants to the next level, whatever that next level happens to be in their life.

Success always requires an investment in your time and money. It’s a fact that will never change.

Mentorship is one of the best investments you can make because it puts you in touch with individuals who have already figured it out. True success mentors know what to do and what not to do. As a result, they reduce the risk of failure and increase the odds for success. They fast-track success.

Top 10 Common Habits of High Achievers


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High Achievers are people who achieve some level of greatness in life. They might be successful entrepreneurs, professional athletes, Olympians, famous writers/authors, painters, engineers, singers, prominent religious figures, etc.

Essentially, they are individuals who, through their actions, achieve greatness. And these high achievers all share certain common habits. Relying on my vast stores of knowledge and research data in studying successful people, I will do my best to identify the top 10 common habits in their order of importance:

  1. Consistency – High Achievers go at it every day even when they are down, lack motivation, are sick, financially destitute, when life goes wrong, etc. They have specific habits or routines they perform every day No Matter What.
  2. Focus – High Achievers are single-mindedly focused on their goals, dreams and routines. They block out all distractions. They are masters at single-tasking. They never take their eye off the ball.
  3. Visionaries – High Achievers have a vision or a blueprint. Most likely, it is in writing and it is very specific. Their vision or blueprint is the GPS or map they use to get them from where they are to where they want to be.
  4. Persistent – High Achievers pursue their goals and dreams relentlessly. They overcome adversity. They overcome obstacles. They pivot or find ways to navigate around impasses. They never quit.
  5. Obsessed – High Achievers are fanatics. They are obsessed about their goals, dreams and routines. They think about them 24/7. They even dream about them.
  6. Processed-Oriented – High Achievers create processes through experimentation that work and that they follow.
  7. Action-Oriented – High Achievers are in constant motion. They pursue activities that help them to continuously move forward in achieving their goals and dreams.
  8. Calculated Risk Takers – High Achievers are calculated risk takers. They overcome their fear of failure, fear of making mistakes and fear of consequences by doing their homework, understanding the risks involved and taking that calculated risk.
  9. Deliberate Practice – High Achievers engage in daily Deliberate Practice in order to maintain and improve their skills.
  10. Self-Educators – High Achievers pursue knowledge every day. They become experts in their field by increasing their knowledge through self-education.

Based on my fifteen years of studying high achievers, this is what it takes to become a High Achiever.  There are many moving parts, many variables, many ingredients to becoming a High Achiever. It’s not any one thing that makes them great. It’s a combination of many things.

Habits That Boost Performance


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AJ Marsden is an assistant profession of Human Services and Psychology at Beacon College. She is also a performance expert.

According to her research, performance begins to deteriorate after 50-60 minutes of continuous work. After such time, we begin to daydream and lose focus.

When you multitask, however, performance decline accelerates. The brain fatigues rapidly during multitasking.

This deterioration in the brain’s ability to focus after performing tasks is known as decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue occurs when our willpower reserves run dry. When willpower is low, we lose focus, our ability to concentrate is impaired and decision-making goes off the rails. And this is when mistakes happen.

Since we find ourselves in a culture which promotes multitasking, it is critical that we forge habits that help us restore our willpower reserves in order to avoid making mistakes that will cost us time and money:

  • Taking regular breaks restores willpower.
  • Napping, restores willpower.
  • Going for a short walk, restores willpower.
  • Closing your eyes and resting for ten minutes, restores willpower.
  • Eating carbs, restores willpower.
  • Exercise, restores willpower.
  • Listening to calming music, restores willpower.
  • Prayer and meditation, restores willpower.

High performance achievers build into their life daily habits which restore willpower so they can maintain their focus and concentration.