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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What’s Your Plan?


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Jerry Rice was overlooked by all of the big college football programs. As a result, he had to settle for a very small school in Mississippi, called Mississippi Valley State (MVS).

The school was so small and poor that its football athletes wore borrowed uniforms.

Rice ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, rather than the speedy 4.3 seconds needed to catch the attention of those who mattered.

Nonetheless, Rice had a dream and that dream included a plan. That dream was to become a professional football player. But not just any professional football player. Rice wanted to be the best wide receiver ever to play the game.

So, his plan included relentless practice. Rice followed that plan religiously while at MVS and eventually his hard work ethic caught the eye of Bill Walsh, the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Walsh took Rice as the 16th player in the first round of the 1985 draft.

The unknown kid from a small school in Mississippi was officially a first-round draft choice.

But Rice did not abandon his plan and continued, throughout his career, following his plan by working hard every day to perfect his skills and knowledge.

Jerry Rice eventually realized his dream. He is the all-time leader in most major statistical categories for wide receivers in the history of the National Football League.

All plans begin with a dream. Find your dream and your dream will reveal your plan.

What’s Your Dream? Buried deep inside every dream is a plan, or path to the realization of that dream.

Find your dream and your plan will unfold, revealing itself.

Dreams create clarity. Clarity reveals the path towards the realization of those dreams. When that path then becomes your life plan, dreams become a reality.

Envy Your Future


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How many of you are perfect?

How many of you had amazingly perfect parents?

Here’s a little, dirty secret – we are all products of an imperfect upbringing.

So, will you wallow in your dysfunctional upbringing?

Not me. I will not.

I intend to rise above my inherited imperfections.

Will you join me?

The path to overcoming the imperfections that are a byproduct of your upbringing is awareness. Awareness of the minutiae that is holding you back.

That minutiae is represented by the unconscious programming you received during your upbringing, primarily from your parents.

That unconscious programming is why:

  • You eat too much junk food
  • You are negative and unhappy
  • You respond with anger to those around you
  • You find fault in everything around you
  • You do not read to learn
  • You do not exercise
  • You have Type II diabetes
  • You drink too much
  • You curse
  • You sabotage relationships
  • You quit when the going gets tough
  • You see yourself as stupid
  • You think you’re inferior

Awareness of your faults opens your eyes to them. If you want to change your life, you must become aware of and then change the imperfections that are the springboard for the life you currently have.

We are all imperfect because we were raised imperfectly. Dysfunction is commonplace and omnipresent. But the flaws you inherited from your upbringing do not have to be a death sentence.

Acknowledge your flaws. Make a list of them. Stare at them.

Once you see them on paper, they begin to lose their power over you.

Then, change is possible.

You can rewrite the script for your life. The life you desire is completely within your control.

Envy your future.

Plan, Practice, Persist


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When you know exactly who you want to become – what your future holds for you – this creates a clear vision of the end.

This is clarity – a superpower of high achievers, the successful and self-made millionaires.

Once you define your end, your subconscious then goes to work to reveal the path that will get you to where you want to go.

That path will then reveal the plans to help guide you to your end. Those plans manifest themselves in the form of dreams and goals. Those dreams and goals represent your GPS, or map, which leads you to your destination.

Those plans reveal the knowledge and the skills that you must acquire, during your journey, in order to reach your destination.

This creates persistence – the relentless acquisition of knowledge and the mastery of the skills, that lead you to your destination.

Clarity sets all of this in motion: the Plan, the daily Practices you must engage in and Persistence.

Clarity is a Superpower


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The by products for High Achievement are success and wealth. A prerequisite for high achievement is clarity.

Without clarity success and wealth are almost certainly unattainable.

Clarity is really the secret superpower of the super-wealthy.

Here’s why.

Knowing where you want to go supercharges your brain. It opens up areas of the subconscious mind, that were previously dormant or not functioning to their full capacity:

  • Identifying exactly where you want to be in, say, five years, activates the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is part of the subconscious brain’s Limbic System. It is the brain’s radar system – taking in targeted stimuli from the environment, via the five senses.
  • Clarity also supercharges the Thalamus. The Thalamus resides just above the Brain Stem, the oldest part of the brain. It is intricately connected to the Basal Ganglia (part of the Limbic System and the hub of habit formation) and the cerebral cortex (the most advanced and modern addition to the brain).

The Thalamus, along with the RAS, then begin to work together as a team searching for clues within your environment that help to subconsciously guide you to the correct path you must take. 


The moment you define where you want to be in five years, is the moment you supercharge these two very powerful parts of the “old brain”.

Once supercharged, these two areas of the “old brain” go to work, behind the scenes, helping direct you and guide you via intuition, on the path that will take you to the realization of your dreams and goals.

Dream Disruptors


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Toxic people are Dream Disruptors.

They throw a wrench into your path, disrupting your march towards success. This is why it is critical to eliminate toxic people from your inner circle.

There are certain give-aways, traits or signs that will help you easily identify toxic people.:

  • Sarcasm – Toxic people use sarcasm to demean. Their goal is to take you down a notch, which makes them feel superior to you. Oftentimes this sarcasm is shrouded in humor. When you see this Poor Habit or toxic trait in anyone, you know you are in the presence of a toxic person.
  • Gossip – Toxic people have the Poor Habit of gossiping. Gossiping is almost always negative. The underlying goal of gossip is to impair or damage your reputation.  When you find out someone gossiped about you, distance yourself from them. They have only one goal in mind and that is to disrupt you.
  • Negative Mindset – Toxic people often possess a negative mindset. They see problems everywhere. They see negative outcomes everywhere. They see the bad in every situation.
  • Money Problems – Toxic people struggle financially. They have difficulty paying their bills. They are swimming is debt. They live beyond their means. They do not make enough money to sustain their standard of living.
  • Relationship Problems – Toxic people struggle with their relationships. They do things, like gossiping, that undermine the relationship. Toxic people do not have many friends or long-term relationships. They are constantly bickering or fighting with family members.
  • Job Hopping – Toxic people struggle in maintaining a job. Because of their toxic traits, their work lives are in constant turmoil. They hop from one job to the next.
  • Deceitful – Toxic people cannot be trusted. They have a reputation of being untrustworthy and will, eventually, stab you in the back.

Toxic people infect you with their toxic traits.

Once you become aware of these toxic traits, however, toxic people lose their power over you.

It’s very much like diffusing a bomb before it detonates and can cause any damage. Awareness enables you to shake off anything toxic people might say or do to take you off purpose – the pursuit of your dreams and goals.


6 Self-Improvement Habits of High Achievers


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High Achievers become Virtuosos in their field, industry or profession.

Virtuosos share two common traits:

  1. Expert Knowledge and
  2. Expert Skills

The common path all High Achiever-Virtuosos travel in order to gain expertise is self-improvement.

Self-improvement requires daily effort. Below are the six self-improvement habits of High Achievers:

  1. Read – High Achievers read to learn, a minimum of 30 minutes every day.
  2. Listen – High Achievers become expert in their knowledge by attending seminars or by listening to podcasts, speakers or audio books.
  3. Watching – High Achievers become expert in their knowledge by watching other experts. This could, once again be attending seminars or speaking engagements. It could also be watching TEDx videos, Youtube videos, etc.
  4. Write – High Achievers reinforce their knowledge by writing Writing is a form of communication. Whenever you communicate knowledge you are forced to a higher level of understanding of the topic you are communicating.
  5. Speak – Speaking is another form of communication. Like writing, speaking forces you to a higher level of understanding of the topic you are communicating.
  6. Do – Doing requires that you put your knowledge into action. This action typically takes the form of Deliberate Practice. Deliberate Practice is Focus. Focused practice requires that you isolate specific components of whatever skill you are honing in order to become an expert. Tennis players, for example, will focus one day entirely on their serve. Another day, their backhand. Another day, the overhead, etc. Every skill has multiple components. High Achievers become expert in every component of a skill.

If you want to become a High Achieving-Virtuoso in your field, industry or profession, you must forge the daily habit of self-improvement.

Most of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study who became Virtuosos in their field of expertise engage in daily self-improvement two to five hours every day.

The world pays a premium for the services, products or expertise of High Achievers. That premium translates into higher earnings and increased wealth that can then be invested to produce passive or residual income – income you do have to continuously work for to produce.

The Bridge to Tomorrow


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Do you know where you will be in five years?

What will your life be like, five years from today?

What would you like your life to look like five years from today?

If you don’t know where you are going, the path to take really doesn’t matter.

In my research of the rich and the poor, the poor did not do much, if any planning, for their future.

The reason?

They were not very optimistic about their future. And that was because they possessed some negative beliefs that held them back in life.

In particular, they did not believe they were in control of the circumstances of their life.

That’s too bad because, as my research showed, poor people can become self-made millionaires. In fact, 41% of the self-made millionaires in my study were raised in poverty.

And my research is validated by famous poor people:

  • Oprah Winfrey was raised poor.
  • Ben Carson, renowned neuro-surgeon, former Presidential candidate and Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development federal agency, rose from poverty.
  • Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, was poor.

I could spend the rest of my life writing books about poor people who became millionaires – there are so many!

So, how do poor people rise from poverty?

They start by creating a vision of their ideal, future lives.

Sometimes this vision is in writing – a script that paints a picture with words about what their future lives will be.

Sometimes this vision is represented by pictures of the things they want in life.

And sometimes this vision is just inside their minds.

The next step in the process, is to build a bridge that will take them from poverty to wealth.

This bridge almost always involves changing their habits:

  • They forge the Rich Habit of Reading to Learn. This gives them knowledge that will help them become virtuosos in some field, industry or profession.
  • The forge the Rich Habit of Deliberate Practice. They develop skills and then practice those skills every day, until they become virtuosos in some field, industry or profession.
  • The forge the Rich Habit of Building Rich Relationships. They surround themselves with other success-minded, upbeat visionaries, like themselves.
  • They forge the Rich Habit of Saving Money. You can’t invest what you don’t have. They save money by living below their means and then, at some point, they invest that money wisely. This almost always requires that they take some calculated risk.
  • They forge the Rich Habit of Formal Education.  They go to college, grad school, obtain Phd’s, etc. This usually requires that they incur Good Debt – debt that is an investment in themselves.
  • The forge the Rich Habit of Dream-Setting. They pursue some dream.
  • They forge the Rich Habit of Finding a Success Mentor in life. Success mentors teach you what to do and what not to do. They guide you along the right path in life by showing you what to read, how to develop skills and how to practice so that you can perfect those skills.

The path from poverty to wealth is never an easy one. But the one thing all self-made millionaires have in common is a bridge – they build a bridge that takes them from the Today Me to the Tomorrow Me.

That bridge, however, is not built by bricks, mortar or steel. It is built by habits.

Finding Inspiration


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Some days you’re the fly and some days your the windshield.

I love that quote because it really does a great job highlighting the fact that life is one big roller coaster ride.

There are days when everything seems to go your way. And there are days when everything goes against you.

It’s easy to feel upbeat and inspired when things are going right but it’s very difficult when things are going wrong.

So, when things are going wrong, how do you find inspiration to keep moving forward?

This is really all about maintaining a positive mental outlook on life. When something goes wrong, those with a positive mental outlook are able to grind it out and power through because they believe that right around the corner, things will get better.

So, the real question is:

How do you maintain a positive mental outlook?

This is a habit. It takes daily practice. There are certain daily rituals that you can employ to keep you positive:

  • Morning Daily Exercise – No matter how bad your day turns, you can always reflect on the fact that at least you did something good for yourself – you exercised. I use this positivity technique all the time when things are going against me. I say, “well at least I ran four miles today.” And I immediately feel better about myself and my day because at least one thing, one thing I control, went right.
  • Help Someone – Doing something that improves the life of another person just makes you feel good about yourself. So, if your day is going badly, do something good for someone else.
  • Call an Upbeat Friend – When life is throwing pots and pans at you, take a break and call someone you know who is upbeat and positive. They will invariably say something that will make you feel better.
  • Look at Family Pictures – If you’re a parent, this is an easy one. When your day is going badly, pull out some pictures of your children. Think about all you’ve done for them. Focus on the goodness within each child. You will immediately feel better about your day. This is really big picture stuff.  It forces you outside your narrow daily woes and allows you to consider the big picture – that these bad days have a purpose – to help you raise your children.

There are many other ways to find inspiration when things are going wrong. These just happen to be in my tool belt. But you may have other things in your life that make you smile, no matter what wrenches life tosses along your path. Find them and use them.

Your Thoughts Create Your Habits


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When your thoughts are negative, you create Poor Habits.

When your thoughts are positive, you create Rich Habits.

For example, if you are envious or greedy of the things other people have, this can lead to several Poor Habits:

  • Theft – Stealing from others who have more so that you can have what they have.
  • Cheating – Breaking the rules in order to get what you want.
  • Lying – Saying whatever you need to say in order to get your way.
  • Gossip – Stabbing others in the back with your words in order to help move you forward or make you look better.

If, however, you are grateful for what you have, this can lead to several Rich Habits:

  • Saving Money – Because you are happy with what you have, you don’t feel you need more, so you save.
  • Reduced Spending – Once again, because you are happy with what you have, you don’t cave into the consumerist demands of society and, thus, spend less money.
  • Charity – Because you are happy with what you have, you are able to a portion of your excess income to help others who are more in need.

Be careful of your thoughts. Your thoughts create the habits that you have. When your thoughts are bad, your habits will be bad. When your thoughts are good, your habits will be good.

Cascade Events


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The end game of grinding it out in pursuit of some dream is success.

That grind can take many years. So, what keeps self-made millionaires in the game, until success materializes?

Cascade Events.

Cascade Events are those little victories that take place during the grinding out phase.

Cascade Events give you a small window, through which you are able to peer, that inspire and motivate you. They provide momentary hope that you are on the right path and that, eventually, true success is just a matter of time.

Without Cascade Events, most would give up, quit on their dream, and never realize ultimate success. Cascade Events keep you in the game.

This is why, I believe, it is critical to maintain a running list of all of your victories in the form of a Victory Log. The Victory Log reminds you how far along you’ve come.

This is also why, I believe, it is critical to craft a hypothetical Victory Log, or Dreamer Victory Log.

The Dreamer Victory Log acts like a compass. It helps provide clarity by highlighting the dream victories you hope to achieve. These very specific dream victories are future victory goals you hope to realize during the grinding out phase. The Dreamer Victory Log sets the stage for the future victories you desire.

And this keeps you on task. It helps to push you along, from victory to victory. Until, ultimately, you arrive at your destination – the realization of your dream.

Cascade Events, those small wins that occur during the pursuit of your dream, are minor turning points that let you know you are on the right path.

Cascade Events are evidence that something worked – some activity, some new habit, some intuitive thinking, something tangible which created the victory. They are your little “Ah Ha” moments.

These “Ah Ha” moments then allow you to create processes around what worked, helping you to produce more future wins which ultimately lead to the realization of your dream.

Each Cascade Event propels you up and forward, closer and closer to the realization of your dream.

Cascade Events, those small victories you experience during the pursuit of your dream, let you know that you are indeed figuring things out – that you are moving in the right direction, that you are winning and that the grind is worth it.