Knowledge is Wealth

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Three police cars, with their lights still flashing, were positioned on the street in front of JC Jobs house.

JC was one of the most famous residents in Manasquan, New Jersey. A giant of a man, whose books sold hundreds of millions of copies around the world. His books helped transform the lives of millions. He advised presidents, other world leaders, CEOs, hundreds of thousands of high school and college students, and through his Rich Habits training, he helped rehabilitate tens of thousands of prisoners around the world.

JC stood outside his house talking to the police officers. Neighbors began to gather around the perimeter of his house anxious, curious.

It was early dawn on a summer’s day, the sun just beginning its slow decent. JC’s house had been robbed. The thieves had ransacked JC’s house. Big screen TV’s and other electronics, along with some valuable furniture and fixtures were taken, yet JC was smiling as he went down the list of the items that were stolen.

One of the officers thought JC’s jovial demeanor, strikingly odd.

“Excuse me Mr. Jobs, but I find it a little peculiar that you’re smiling, rather than upset. You’ve just lost tens of thousands of dollars in personal effects, yet here you are smiling at us.”

JC paused for a moment before he responded to the young police officer.

“Oh they got what they came for,” JC said. “But, thankfully, they left behind the most valuable asset I owned.”

The young police officer cocked his head to the side and asked JC what that might be. JC bobbed his head in the direction of the house and the officers all followed JC into the house, through the hallway and to the back, into JC’s study.

There sat JC’s desk and all around the perimeter of the study were bookshelves filled with thousands upon thousand of books. Books JC spent a lifetime accumulating.

JC pointed to the bookshelves.

“They overlooked the most valuable asset I own, my books.”

“Rare books?” Asked the young police officer.

“No, not at all. Most of these books you could find in the public library down the street,” JC responded.

“Why are they so valuable, then?” The young policeman asked.

“These particular books contain all of the knowledge you need in order to become wealthy,” JC continued.

“You see, the thieves will probably sell my stuff and get thousands of dollars for it. In a few weeks, however, they’ll be back to being poor again. Instead, had they taken these books and spent the rest of their lives reading what was inside of them, they would learn everything I learned that enable me to accumulate my wealth.”

JC shook his head. “What a shame. They missed the elephant in the room, my books. If they stole my books, that would hurt. I wouldn’t be smiling.” JC nodded to the young police officer.

The young officer nodded back.

JC thanked the police officers for their service, led them out of his house and then returned to his study. He eyed his books lovingly, grateful that his home’s most valuable assets were safe and sound.

Why We Get Tired

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Everyone, at some point, hits a wall.

When you are focusing on a project or some task for a number of hours, you deplete the easily accessible stores of glucose that the body has at the ready. Glucose is a sugar that serves as a primary energy source for every cell in the body.

When easily accessible glucose reserves drop to a certain level, the brain sends you a signal to either rest, eat or engage in a habit.

Depending on which course of action you take, these diversionary tactics buy the body time to restore glucose levels. Once the glucose level is restored, your brain sends you a signal that it is OK to resume working on your project or task.

If you ignore your brain, it will punish you. Your cognitive ability will decline dramatically and you’ll find yourself making mistakes. Or worse, your brain will force you into a dreamlike alpha state, which is a precursor to sleep. Falling asleep, while driving a car, is an example of the brain shutting down due to glucose deprivation.

Whenever you find yourself hitting a wall while working, grab a healthy snack.  Apples, bananas, oranges, pineapples, cherries, avocados, raisins are all good glucose-packed snacks. If you eat carbs, such as bread (whole wheat or multi-grain = good carbs), just remember that carbs will require some additional processing (digestion) time before they are converted to glucose.

If you hit a wall, while exercising or while engaged in some physically demanding activity, such as a half marathon, tennis match, basketball game, etc., our amazing bodies have a solution that does not require you to stop. During vigorous activities, the body shifts to a ketogenic state.

When our muscles and livers run out of glycogen (glycogen is converted into glucose), the body must turn to fat. The fat is broken down and converted into ketones. Ketones are a superior fuel substitute for glucose. These ketones are then sent around the body, via our blood, to where they are most needed.

The Inner City’s Ugly Truth

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In my travels around the country, speaking primarily to high school students about the Rich Habits and Poor Habits, I’ve noticed a trend.

Typically, eight students out of an average class of forty took me up on my offer for the free books I gave out after every talk. Those eight students seemed genuinely interested in learning about my research in order to improve their lives.

The remaining thirty-two students could care less about improving their lives through my research.

In both cases, parents were the reason why. [Read more…]

Doing Nothing is a Habit

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I spent five years studying the daily habits of 361 rich and poor people and in my bestselling books, Rich Habits and Change Your Habits Change Your Life, I shared some of the important findings from that study.

In my research, I learned that there were specific habits the self-made rich adopted that enabled them to achieve their dreams and their goals. This included things such as:

  • Experimentation – Experimenting with new things in order to uncover an innate talent or passion.
  • Reading – Reading 30 minutes or more every day for self-education.
  • Build Rich Relationships – Building relationships with the right people – other future millionaires.
  • Dream-Setting – Pursuing goals around your dreams.
  • Taking Calculated Risks – Calculated risk is a type of risk that requires you to do your homework before investing your money.

There are many others (over 300) but I think you get the idea – the rich are habit-driven.

My research also led to another proprietary discovery – those who were not rich also had habits, however, many of those habits were Do-Nothing Habits:

  • Not reading to learn, is a habit.
  • Not exercising every day, is a habit.
  • Not eating healthy, is a habit.
  • Not pursuing your dreams, is a habit.
  • Not creating and pursuing goals, is a habit.
  • Not returning phone calls immediately, is a habit.
  • Not waking up early to pursue self-improvement, is a habit.
  • Not saving money, is a habit.
  • Not prudently investing your savings, is a habit.
  • Not being frugal, is a habit.
  • Not doing more than you are paid, is a habit.
  • Not avoiding time wasters, is a habit.
  • Not doing what needs to be done (procrastinating), is a habit.
  • Not networking with other success-minded people, is a habit.
  • Not making happy birthday calls, is a habit.
  • Not making life event calls, is a habit.
  • Not taking personal responsibility for your life, is a habit.
  • Not volunteering for a worthwhile charity, is a habit.
  • Not being charitable with your money, is a habit.

Most people have Do-Nothing Habits. As a result, most people struggle in life. Some struggle financially. Some struggle with poor health. And some struggle with their relationships.

Do-Nothing Habits are like a mirror, they reflect back the life you have chosen for yourself through inaction. Oftentimes, it’s not what you do that determines the circumstances of your life – it’s what you choose not to do.

 

Pump Up Your Faith

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I’ve learned from interviewing 177 self-made millionaires that faith comes and goes. One day you’re up and faith is abundant. The next day, everything is going against you and faith is replaced with doubt and uncertainty.

What kept most of the millionaires I studied going, what enabled them to survive the ups and downs, were habits. They forged certain habits that were specific to whatever dream they were pursuing. They engaged in those habits, when everything was going right and they engaged in those habits when everything was going wrong.

The reality is that faith will not keep you in the game.

Habits will.

Habits keep you moving forward. They enable you to survive until you thrive.

But faith is, nonetheless, critical to success.

After eight years of pursuing my dream, faith to me is really about being pumped up about what you are doing. When you’re pumped up, your focus and productivity skyrocket. You get more accomplished when you have faith. Habits keep you in the game, but faith elevates your game.

The problem is, faith is fleeting.

So, what can you do to pump up your faith?

When things are not going my way, when life seems intent on stopping me in my tracks, I pull out something I call my Dream-Setting Script.

A Dream-Setting Script is a script that I write about my ideal, perfect life. It requires that you pretend it is a few years into the future. In that future, your life is significantly better than your present-day life. In 500 to 1,000 words, you describe your much-improved future life. You include details about what you do for a living, how much you make, where you’re living, what cool stuff you own, how you spend your day, etc. With words, you paint a picture of the life you desire.

Creating your own Dream-Setting Script is enjoyable. It’s allows you to use your imagination – to pretend.

And, the best part is, you can create as many scripts as you like. I often create a new script when my life is in suck-mode. It always picks me up.

To date, I have accumulated about sixty of these Dream-Setting Scripts.

Just the other morning, I was feeling the wrath of life and pulled out my Dream-Setting folder, where I keep all of my scripts. I spent an hour reading through all of them. When I was done, I felt as if I could conquer the world. My mindset went from negative to positive.

My faith, as they say, was renewed.

 

Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as an Author

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Prior to writing my first book, I had never written a book before, never promoted a book before and I knew no one who did any of those things.

My journey has been the most difficult undertaking of my life. Everything I learned, I learned through the School of Hard Knocks.

But, eventually, I figured things out. I learned what to do and what not to do.

And then I sold a lot of books.

[Read more…]

Does Your Stuff Own You?

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One of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study told me that the biggest mistakes he ever made was buying a 100 foot yacht.

It had always been a fantasy of his to own a yacht. He said he and his wife, who were in their mid-70’s, envisioned spending their final years cruising around in their yacht to exotic places.

Now, he was worth about $22 million and the yacht set him back about $5 million, but it wasn’t the $5 million that was the mistake. Yachts can lose value, but they can also appreciate in value. So, as far as he and his wife were concerned, this was akin to buying a house.

The underlying mistake was the cost of maintaining the yacht. That cost included the financial cost of regular maintenance and a crew: Captain, first mate and a cook.

The stress, the headaches and the time it took out of his day in dealing with his crew and his yacht was taking a toll on his health and became more than he could bear. My millionaire sold his yacht. He said it was one of the happiest days of his life. He said he felt like he was set free.

Another millionaire in my study had three homes: their main home, a farmhouse and a home by the beach. After a few years of owning these three homes, she sold all but one. The stress of dealing with the problems associated with maintaining three homes was affecting her health and also affecting her marriage.

Most people don’t have problems like that. But, even for the average person, the stuff you own can end up owning you.

A vacation home sounds nice, but buying one doubles your home ownership problems.

Buying a high-end luxury car sound nice, but maintenance and insurance costs on luxury cars can be two to three times higher than the maintenance and insurance cost of normal cars.

I can go on with other examples, but the point I want to make is that the more stuff you own, the more problems you have. You minimize your problems in life by keeping your life simple.

Keeping life simple means not owning a lot of stuff. The less stuff you own, the fewer problems you have and more control you have over your life.

Why Compartmentalizing is Critical to Success

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One of the interesting discoveries I made in my Rich Habits study was that self-made millionaires created multiple streams of income. Three seemed to be the magic number.

But the questions I often get asked are:

How were they able to avoid spreading themselves too thin?

How were they able to focus their time to each of their businesses?

The answer is – by Compartmentalizing.

Compartmentalizing is the act of single-mindedly focusing on one thing for a number of hours and then moving on to the next focal point.

Millionaires are so good at this, that it almost appears, to the untrained eye, to be an inherently unique trait possessed by the mighty few.

Only it isn’t.

It’s actually just a habit.

And, it’s a habit anyone can forge.

Once I understood how millionaires Compartmentalize, I forged this daily habit. Here’s how I did it.

I have three core businesses:

  • CPA Firm – 5 employees and about 1,000 clients
  • Financial Planning Company – I am part of a company with 130 financial planners.
  • Rich Habits Institute – I write books, I write articles for the media, I do speaking engagements, I do media interviews on my books and research and I occasionally offer Rich Habits training sessions to the public.

I typically manage my CPA business from 9am-5pm.

I typically manage my Financial Planning business from 5pm – 8pm.

I typically manage my Rich Habits business from 4:30am – 7am.

Occasionally, these businesses cross each other, but I do my best to focus on each core business by devoting specific, daily blocks of time to each.

This is something I learned from the entrepreneur-millionaires in my study. They Compartmentalized their businesses and by doing so, they were able to single-mindedly focus on each individual business at a time, ensuring its best chances for success.

Average is a Prison – Here’s What Average Looks Like in America

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If you do what everyone else does you’ll get what everyone else gets, which isn’t much.

Here’s what average looks like in America: [Read more…]

If You Don’t Ask You Won’t Get

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As a rule, most people do not like asking others for things.

Asking for what you want can make you feel like you are burdening someone or make you feel obligated to them.

But I learned from my Rich Habits research that self-made millionaires get comfortable being uncomfortable with a lot of things. Asking for what they want or need, is one of those things they became very comfortable doing.

They learned to get comfortable asking for help, advice or guidance in solving a problem.

They learned to get comfortable asking for others to mentor them.

They learned to get comfortable asking for money from family, friends or prospective investors.

They learned to get comfortable asking some prospect to buy their product or service.

When I became President of The Ashley Lauren Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps families struggling with pediatric cancer, it became apparent that I was going to have to get comfortable asking people for money.

As an adult, I’ve only ever had to ask banks, venture capitalists or private equity investors for money for the various business ventures I’ve been involved with over the years. That was easy for me to do because that was in my wheelhouse – something I was comfortable doing due to my finance background.

But asking individuals to fork over their hard earned money for a charitable cause was something new for me and outside my comfort zone. It took practice, but after seven years in working with the Ashley Lauren Foundation, I’ve gotten pretty good at asking for money.

The discomfort of asking for what you want diminishes every time you ask.

What I did find interesting and unexpected is that asking for help from others actually strengthened my relationship with them. We grew closer. The roots to our relationship tree grew deeper. This is because, asking for what you want forges a special kind of bond between two people; a unique bond that essentially says we have an investment in each other.

So, get comfortable asking for what you want. That’s what self-made millionaires do. The odds are pretty good – there’s a 50% chance you might get a yes.