The Most Important Success Habits


Tom Corley boats - crop

I am often asked by the media what are the most important Rich Habits. In my opinion, these are the top ones:

#1 Experimentation – Experimenting with diverse activities that can be monetized, until you find one or more activities that reveal an innate talent or which make your heart sing with passion and enthusiasm.

#2 Dream-Setting – Creating a script of your ideal life. This helps you to define your dreams and the goals behind your dreams.

#3 Daily Self-Education – 30 minutes or more a day of reading to learn. You can substitute podcasts, videos or audio books for reading. The key is to summarize what you learn. I use a Fact Binder to capture new knowledge/facts.

#4 Living Below Your Means – Living off of 80% of your net pay and saving the difference.

#5 Daily Aerobic Exercise – 20 minutes or more of cardio, every day.

#6 Healthy Eating – Two out of three meals that do not include carbs or processed food or intermittent fasting with one healthy meal a day.

#7 Automate Savings – Automatically directing 20% or more of your net pay into a savings account.

#8 Prudent Investing – Investing your savings prudently. This requires that you do your homework. By homework I mean studying every potential investment until you feel you are confident you understand it very well. Homework also includes regularly monitoring every investment you do make.

Enthusiasm is Vital to Success


Tom Corley boats - crop

Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal which takes the imagination by storm and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice. – Arnold Toynbee

Happiness is really enthusiasm. Eighty-five percent of the self-made millionaires in my study possessed it. They woke every morning, eager to begin a new day, plying their talents, skills, and knowledge to something they believed in and were obsessed by.

The key to enthusiasm is doing something you love or have an innate talent for. When you discover your main purpose in life, it fires you with enthusiasm. It makes your heart sing.

Your sole objective in life, should therefore be to find and engage in those activities which make your heart sing and then spend the rest of your life perfecting your knowledge and skills, doing that which keeps your heart singing.

The path to lifelong enthusiasm is experimentation – experimenting with diverse activities until you find one which arouses enthusiasm.

If you want to stop working and turn hours into minutes, you must experiment and then invest in activities that one day will enable you to earn money while doing what you love.

Courage Grows Through Action


Tom Corley boats - crop

The two biggest enemies of success are fear and doubt. They hold most back from taking action.

The interesting thing about fear and doubt, however, is that they never go away, no matter how successful you become.

So, if fear and doubt exist for the successful, why don’t they hold them back from taking action?

The problem isn’t fear and doubt. The problem is habit. Successful people simply make a habit of taking action, despite the fear and doubt. They habitualize action.

Only by taking action do you gain the experiences of facing obstacles and overcoming them, facing mistakes and learning from them, taking risks and surviving failure.

Through action you gain life experiences that become a reservoir you can reach into during a time of need.

When you face obstacles, that mental reservoir in your mind says, we’ve faced a similar obstacle before a few years ago and this is the way around it.

When you face an uncertainty, that mental reservoir in your mind says, we’ve faced a similar uncertainty before and this was the mistake we made and need to avoid.

When you face a risk, that mental reservoir in your mind says, we’ve taken a similar risk before and we survived.

Courage grows through action because actions create a mental reservoir of historical experiences and those historical experiences give you the courage to take future action.

Rich Habits Poor Habits Episode 50 | Rich Habits Part 2

Intelligence, talent and charm are great, but more often than not these aren’t what separate the wealthiest among us from the poorest.

Instead, the differences are in our daily habits.

Do you realize that these subconscious, second-nature activities make up 40 percent of our waking hours?

That means that two out of every five minutes, all day and every day, we operate on autopilot.

It’s true: Habits are neural pathways stored in the basal ganglia, a golf ball-size mass of tissue right in the center of our brains, in the limbic system.

Here are the most important Rich Habits you can take up to reach and maintain your wealth potential:

1. Control your emotions

Not every thought needs to come out of your mouth.


Not every emotion needs to be expressed.

When you say whatever is on your mind, you risk hurting others.

Loose lips are a habit for 69 percent of those who struggle financially.  

Conversely, 94 percent of wealthy people filter their emotions.

They understand that letting emotions control them can destroy relationships at work and at home.

Wait to say what’s on your mind until you’re calm and have had time to look at the situation objectively.

Fear is perhaps the most important negative emotion to control.

Any change, even positive changes such as marriage or a promotion, can prompt feelings of fear.

Wealthy people have conditioned their minds to overcome these thoughts, while those who struggle financially give in to fear and allow it to hold them back.

Whether you fear change, making mistakes, taking risks or simply failure, conquering these emotions is about leaning in just a little until you build up confidence.

It’s amazing how much confidence helps.

2. Network and volunteer regularly

You’ll build valuable relationships that can result in more customers or clients, or help you land a better job if you spend time pressing the flesh and giving back in your community. Families by state

Almost three-quarters of wealthy people network and volunteer a minimum of five hours a month.

Among those struggling financially, only one in 10 does this.

One perk of volunteering is the company you’ll keep.

Very often the boards and committees of nonprofits are made up of wealthy, successful people.

Developing personal relationships with these folks will often result in future business relationships.

3. Go above and beyond in work and business

Unsuccessful people have “it’s not in my job description” syndrome. business-2345812_1920

Consequently, they are never given more responsibility, and their wages grow very little from year to year—if they keep their jobs at all.

Wealthy individuals, on the other hand, make themselves invaluable to their employers or customers, writing articles related to their industry, speaking at industry events and networking.

Successful people work hard to achieve the mutual goals of their employers or their businesses.

4. Set goals, not wishes

You cannot control the outcome of a wish, but you can control the outcome of a goal.

Every year, 70 percent of the wealthy pursue at least one major goal.

Only 3 percent of those struggling to make ends meet do this2.

5. Avoid procrastination

Successful people understand that procrastination impairs quality; creates dissatisfied employers, customers or clients; and damages other non-business relationships.

Here are five strategies that will help you avoid procrastination: Business Patient

  • Create daily “to-do” lists. These are your daily goals. You want to complete 70 percent or more of your “to-do” items every day.
  • Have a “daily five.” These activities represent the crucial things that will help you get closer to realizing some major purpose or goal.
  • Set and communicate artificial deadlines. There’s nothing wrong with finishing early.
  • Have accountability partners. These are people you team with to pursue a big goal. Communicate with them at least every week, and make sure they hold your feet to the fire.
  • Say a “do it now” affirmation. This is a self-nagging technique. Repeat the words “do it now” over and over again until you begin a task or project.

6. Talk less and listen more meeting

A 5-to-1 ratio is about right: You should listen to others five minutes for every one minute that you speak.

Wealthy people are good communicators because they are good listeners.

They understand that you can learn and educate yourself only by listening to what other people have to say.

The more you learn about your relationships, the more you can help them.








The Grass is Always Greener Until You Have to Mow the Lawn


Tom Corley boats - crop

If you were to ask most people if they want to be rich, they will emphatically answer YES almost every time.

But, as I learned from my five-year study of self-made millionaires, the journey to success isn’t easy.

It often requires that you take numerous risks.

Success is also riddled with obstacles, adversity and mistakes, which requires sacrifice – long work hours that separate you from your family and friends. It takes time to overcome the pitfalls you will face during the success journey.

Success is also an emotional roller coaster ride. Most days things will not go your way and you need to gain control over your emotions or that emotional roller coaster ride will break you.

In reality, most people do not want to become successful because most people do not want to take risks, face adversity or make the sacrifices success requires.

The grass is always greener until you have to mow the lawn.

Most people simply want success to happen to them. Deep down, they do not want to do the work required of success.

But success never just happens. It has to be made to happen. It has to be earned. And when the rubber meets the road, most are simply unwilling to devote their heart and soul to doing what it takes to become a success in life. The fear of the unknown stops them in their tracks.

They fail to take action because they do not believe they have what it takes to survive the success journey.

Unfortunately, what most fail to realize is that courage, work ethic, persistence, focus, patience and resilience are not success traits you must possess before you pursue success. They are success traits that reveal themselves during the success journey.

Everyone possesses these success traits. They are part of every human being’s DNA. But they remain dormant until they are called upon. And they are only called upon when they are needed.

When you pursue your dreams in life, these success traits spring forth, like a fountain of riches you never knew you had.

Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from pursuing your dreams. All you need is already deep inside of you. You just need to take that first step. You need to take action on your dreams. You are much more than you ever imagined.

Easiest Rich Habits


Tom Corley boats - crop

According to one of the most comprehensive habit studies conducted by habit researcher Phillipa Lally of University College London, it can take anywhere from 18 – 254 days to forge one habit, depending on the complexity of the habit.

In my Rich Habits Study, in which I studied the daily habits of self-made millionaires, I identified certain habits that are the easiest to forge:

Automate Savings

This habit is among the easiest to automate because all it requires is one decision – setting up an automated savings program. Once you specify how much you will save every paycheck, the savings is automatically directed into a separate savings account. This forces you to live below your means, meaning to survive financially living off the remaining net pay check.

Living Below Your Means

This is another habit that only requires one smart decision. Since a home is the most significant cost for most people, living in a modest home, in a modest neighborhood reduces your rent or mortgage payment, real estate taxes, utility costs, home maintenance costs and home repair costs. Like a domino, this one habit reduces many other related costs.

Daily Self-Improvement

Daily self-improvement is one of the most powerful Rich Habits. It helps you grow your knowledge-base and your skill set. Just 20-30 minutes a day of daily self-improvement sets you apart from the competition.

Eating Healthy

Eating right helps reduce weight, improve your cardiovascular system and introduces healthy bacteria (microbiota) into your gut, boosting your immune system. All this habit requires is one or two healthy meals a day.


5 Bad Spending Habits the Rich Avoid


Tom Corley boats - crop

The self-made rich are rich for a reason. They accumulate wealth and then they keep the wealth they accumulate.

Keeping your hard-earned wealth requires that you adopt certain Rich Habits that make it impossible for your to part with your money. Below are five bad spending habits the rich do not have:

  1. Emotional Purchases – You see that amazing red dress, or that Movado watch, or that cute sports car and next thing you know you’re whipping out your debit/credit card. That’s called an Emotional Purchase, one driven by your reptilian brain and not your thinking brain. The rich make a habit of controlling their emotions and this is where that Rich Habit pays off big time.
  2. Spontaneous Purchases – This is a close cousin to Emotional Purchases. Retailers are tuned into this Poor Habit. That is why they place so many items at the checkout counters. They know that most people, while waiting to check out, will make a Spontaneous Purchase or two.
  3. Want Spending – Buying what you want, when you want it, even if it means going into debt, is a Poor Habit the rich avoid. Want Spending is driven by instant gratification, something that has been hardwired into us through: the constant bombardment by advertisers and easy credit.
  4. Cheap vs. Frugal Spending – The rich in my study were not cheap. They were frugal. Cheap spenders seek the lowest price first. Quality is a secondary consideration. Frugal spenders seek the highest quality first and then they diligently search for the lowest price.
  5. Gambling – Gambling is high risk speculation. The rich do not speculate. 94% of the rich in my study did not gamble, while 77% of the poor admitted to gambling every week.

Beware The Experts


Tom Corley boats - crop

Experts live in a box.

Inside that box, is a playbook.

The playbook contains all of the agreed-upon doctrines, processes, strategies and rules by which the experts rely. Those who deviate, incur the wrath of the experts who seek to dismiss and ridicule the outsiders who do not follow or accept the rules within the playbook.

The problem is that in today’s faced-paced environment, the playbook is constantly being re-written by outsiders who do not know or accept the rules.

Think Albert Einstein, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs – all outsiders who did not follow the rules of the playbook. Where would we be without outsiders who challenged the status-quo?

Outsiders bring fresh, new solutions to time-worn problems. Over time, new solutions become accepted doctrine and are entered in the playbook by the experts.

Don’t be brainwashed or dissuaded by the experts. Those who pursue and realize their dreams, are the very individuals who force the experts to re-think their rules.

True dreamers are outsiders who refuse to play by the same rules as everybody else.

Happiness Activities


Tom Corley boats - crop

What is happiness?

Happiness is the byproduct of an increase in one of four types of Happiness Hormones: Endorphins, Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin.

Each of these hormones, when elevated, increase the sensation we call happiness.

The pursuit of happiness, therefore, is really the pursuit of activities which elevate one or more of the Happiness Hormones.

Activities Which Boost Happiness Hormones

  • Anaerobic Exercise – Weight Lifting.
  • Aerobic Exercise – Jogging, Fast Walking, Hiking, Swimming, Biking, Basketball, Soccer, Dancing, Spin Cycling.
  • Eating Spicy Foods.
  • Gratitude.
  • Exposure to Sunlight.
  • Drinking Milk.
  • Pursuing Goals.
  • Hugging.
  • Getting a Massage.
  • Holding Hands.
  • Taking Vitamin D3
  • Talking to any upbeat person.
  • Laughing.
  • Moderate Consumption of Alcohol.
  • Anticipation of a Happiness Activity.

If you are feeling down, find an activity which boosts your Happiness Hormones.

Rich Habits Poor Habits Episode 49 | Rich Habits Part 1

Tom Corley spent years studying the difference between the habits of our country’s rich and poor, questioning hundreds of individuals.

On the rich side, these were people with annual gross income north of $160,000 and net liquid assets of $3.2 million or more

Some of the differences between rich and poor are obvious, while others are a little more surprising.

Here are the most important Rich Habits you can take up to reach and maintain your wealth potential:

1. Live within your means.

Wealthy people avoid overspending by paying their future selves first.  money savings

They save 20 percent of their net income and live on the remaining 80 percent.

Among those who are struggling financially, almost all are living above their means.

They spend more than they earn, and their debt is overwhelming them.

If you want to end your financial struggles, you need to make a habit of saving and budgeting what you spend.

Here are some sensible ways to budget your monthly net pay:

  • Spend no more than 25 percent on housing, no matter if you own or rent.
  • Spend no more than 15 percent on food.
  • Limit entertainment—bars, movies, miniature golf, whatever—to no more than 10  percent of your spending. Vacations should account for no more than 5 percent of your annual net bill finance debt
  • Spend no more than 5 percent on auto loans, and never lease. Ninety-four percent of the wealthy buy instead of leasing. These folks keep their cars until the wheels fall off, taking great care along the way so that they save money in the long run.
  • Stay away from accumulating credit card debt. If you are doing this, it’s a clear sign that you need to cut back somewhere.
  • Think of savings and investments as two completely different things. You should never lose money on your savings. Try to stash six months of living expenses in an emergency fund in case you lose your job or your business goes belly-up.
  • Contribute as much as you can afford to a retirement plan. If you work for a company that matches your contributions up to a certain percentage, great. Always take that free money when you can get it.

2. Don’t gamble.

Talk about a sucker bet: Every week, 77 percent of those who struggle financially play the lottery.

Hardly anyone who is wealthy plays the numbers.

Wealthy people do not rely on random good luck for their wealth.

They create their own good luck.

If you still want to bet after knowing the risk, use money from your entertainment budget.

3. Read every day

Reading information that will increase your knowledge about your business or career will make you more valuable to colleagues, customers or clients.


Among wealthy people, 88 percent read 30 minutes or more every day.

Just as important, they make good use of their reading time:

  • 63 percent listen to audiobooks during their commute.
  • 79 percent read educational career-related material.
  • 55 percent read for personal development.
  • 58 percent read biographies of successful people.
  • 94 percent read current events.
  • 51 percent read about history.
  • 11 percent—only 11 percent—read purely for entertainment purposes.

The reason successful people read is to improve themselves.

This separates them from the competition. By increasing their knowledge, they are able to see more opportunities, which translate into more money.

Comparatively speaking, only one in 50 of those struggling financially engages in this daily self-improvement reading, and as a result the poor don’t grow professionally and are among the first to be fired or downsized.

4. Forget the boob tube and spend less time surfing the Internet

How much of your valuable time do you lose parked in front of a screen? Social media buttons on keyboard

Two-thirds of wealthy people watch less than an hour of TV a day and almost that many—63  percent—spend less than an hour a day on the Internet unless it is job-related.

Instead, these successful people use their free time engaged in personal development, networking, volunteering, working side jobs or side businesses, or pursuing some goal that will lead to rewards down the road.

But 77 percent of those struggling financially spend an hour or more a day watching TV, and 74 percent spend an hour or more a day using the Internet recreationally.