A Closed Mind Invites Poverty

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In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg invited 5 people to his Harvard dorm room to discuss a business opportunity. Only two people showed up.

Today, those two people are worth billions:

  • Dustin Moskovitz – $16.1 billion
  • Eduardo Saverin – $10.3 billion

Nothing is more costly than a closed mind.

Closed-mind thinking shuts the door to opportunity. What causes a closed mind?

  • IDEOLOGY – Unwavering beliefs that have locked in your thinking. Most of these beliefs are inherited from your upbringing. Sometimes, the are adopted from the thinking of influencers or significant others. Ideology, when it goes unchallenged, acts like a wall, blocking out any challenges to your thinking.
  • IGNORANCE – When you lack knowledge, you are unable to see opportunities when they present themselves.
  • OVERACTIVE EGO –  Having an overactive ego means you think you are always right. This closes your mind to new information, new ideas and new facts that could be critical to your success.
  • LOW SELF-ESTEEM – When you have low self-esteem, you undervalue your own thoughts, ideas and personal power. Low self-esteem is like a self-manufactured braking system that stops you in your tracks, preventing you from moving forward.
  • HATRED – Hatred is one of those costly negative emotions that consumes your thinking and your actions. When you hate someone, you ignore what they have to say. When you hate something, you dismiss it. In both cases, you lose. You lose because hatred has closed your mind.

The self-made millionaires in my study developed the daily habit of keeping an open mind. Those with an open mind are thirsty for new information, new ideas and new facts. As a result, they are constantly growing in knowledge and wisdom. This new knowledge and wisdom opens their eyes to opportunities to make more money.

Those with a closed mind struggle with poverty because opportunities to make more money are invisible to them and pass them by.

Ruts Don’t Come With Ladders – You Have to Build Your Own Ladder

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Are you overweight?

Do you struggle to pay your bills?

Are you in a dead-end job?

Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut, hopelessly unhappy?

If you’re like most, the answer is yes to one or more of these questions.

So, what do you do?

Ruts don’t come with ladders. You have to build your own ladder and climb out yourself.

How? How do you climb out of your rut?

The answer is – The 100 Day Challenge.

What’s the 100 Day Challenge?

 

Engaging in one new positive activity for 100 days in a row.

Engaging in one activity for 100 day does four things:

  1. It will help to change the structure of your brain.
  2. It gets the attention of the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is a small mass of neurons, deep inside the limbic system of the brain. One of its numerous responsibilities includes designating repetitive behaviors as habits. Once the basal ganglia marks a behavior as a habit, it remains a habit for the rest of your life.
  3. It will stimulate and motivate you.
  4. It will shift your mindset from negative to positive.

Below are some ideas for your personal 100 Day Challenge. Choose just one activity and limit it to 20 minutes a day:

  • Engage in some form of cardio activity for 100 days. This could be running, jogging, biking, cycling, walking fast, etc.
  • Read a non-fiction, educational book every day for 100 days.
  • Eat five hundred fewer calories a day for 100 days.
  • Limit your consumption of junk food to no more than 300 calories a day for 100 days.
  • Meditate for 100 days.
  • Listen to an educational podcast every day for 100 days.
  • Listen to one TEDx speech a day for 100 days.
  • Say I love you to your spouse, significant other, kids, parents, etc. every day for 100 days.
  • Spend $2 less every day for 100 days.
  • Do not gamble for 100 days.
  • Don’t drink beer, wine or alcohol for 100 days. If that seems impossible, limit your consumption of alcohol to no more than 1 drink a day for 100 straight days.
  • Floss every day for 100 days.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes for 100 days. If that seems impossible, limit your cigarette smoking to one or two cigarettes a day for 100 days.
  • Pursue some new skill for 100 days.
  • Focus on becoming knowledgeable in one topic or subject area for 100 days
  • Don’t eat candy for 100 days.
  • Don’t consume sugar for 100 days.
  • Limit recreational social media use to no more than one hour a day for 100 days.
  • Offer gratitude for something good in your life. Do this once a day for 100 days.
  • Read something positive and uplifting every day for 100 days.
  • Call one different person a day, just to say hello, for 100 days.
  • Limit your consumption of TV to no more than one hour a day for 100 days.
  • Don’t gossip for 100 days.
  • Don’t curse for 100 days.
  • Don’t complain for 100 days.
  • Don’t criticize anyone for 100 days.
  • Don’t lie for 100 days.
  • Don’t procrastinate on anything for 100 days.

If you choose more than one activity you will tax your brain, making habit change impossible.

I discovered in my Rich Habits research that if you engage in a new activity for more than twenty minutes at a time, the willpower required expends too much brain fuel (glucose or ketones). The brain reacts to this excess fuel consumption by going to war with you and your new potential habit. If you keep the activity to within 20 minutes, the brain will not put up a fight.

So, focus on one activity for no more than 20 minutes a day.

It won’t be easy but if you stick to one activity and limit it to 20 minutes a day you will succeed.

When you complete your 100 Day Challenge, move on to another new positive activity and engage in it for the next 100 days. Over the course of one year you will have added three new, good habits to your life.

The 100 Day Challenge is your ladder out of your rut. Each 100 days represents a rung on that ladder. Slowly, after each 100 days, you will find yourself climbing higher and higher on your ladder and out of your rut.

Lack Passion? No Worries – You Don’t Need Passion to Become Rich and Successful

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If you had to rely on passion, motivation or willpower to do what is needed to become successful, everyone would fail.
This is because passion and motivation ebb and flow from day to day. And willpower only has a limited reserve that peters out after a few hours.
Success requires consistency. So, you need something special; something more concrete and longer lasting than passion, motivation or willpower. Something that forces you to do what you need to do day in and day out, in order to keep you moving forward towards the realization of your dreams and goals.
What is that something special?
Good daily habits.
Habits by their very nature are automatic unconscious behaviors, thinking, decision-making and even emotions. To engage in habits you don’t need passion. You don’t need motivation. You don’t need willpower. All you need is to have forged the habits and then to be alive and awake.
Where passion, motivation and willpower do come into play is in the early stages of forging the habits.
Self-made millionaires use Passion, Motivation and Willpower to help them develop the good habits that will carry them through to the realization of their dreams and goals.
Once forged, habits stick forever. You will engage in them even when you lack passion, lack motivation and have zero willpower.
For this very reason, good habits put you on autopilot for success. They are critical to success and and infinitely more important than passion, motivation or willpower.

For Entrepreneurs, Becoming Rich is a Trial & Error Process

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We all know that the pursuit of dreams and goals is one of the paths to riches. In my Rich Habits study, there were essentially three groups of self-made millionaires:

  1. SAVERS – Individuals who saved and invested their way to wealth.
  2. PUBLIC COMPANY EXECUTIVES – Individuals who worked for publicly-held companies and became senior executives.
  3. ENTREPRENEURS – Individuals who pursued a dream.

Those entrepreneurs who pursued a dream accumulated, by far, the most wealth ($7.4 million vs. $3.4 million and $3.6 million) and in the shortest period of time (12 years vs. 32 years and 25 years).

Why were entrepreneurs able to accumulate more wealth in a shorter period of time?

The answer is – Entrepreneurs had no choice but to forge good habits or fail.

You see, dreams, goals and habits are interconnected.

When you pursue a dream and the goals behind every dream, you must figure out what works and what does not work. This is a trial and error process. You experiment, fail, figure out what you did wrong, make adjustments and experiment again.

Entrepreneurs continue to experiment until they get it right. Once they have the right formula, then they turn that correct way of doing something into a habit. They continue this process until they forge numerous success habits, which enable them to keep moving forward towards the realization of their dream.

Pursuing dreams and goals forces you to create good daily success habits. And, because they’re habits, they stick with you forever. This is why, if you were to take away the wealth of self-made millionaire-entrepreneurs, like a phoenix, they will rise from the ashes.

Steve Jobs, for example, went through nearly all of the $117 million he had after he was fired from Apple. In his biography, he acknowledged that in 1994 he was one year away from losing everything. He eventually rebounded and when he died he was reportedly worth $10.2 billion.

In 2002, Elon Musk received a windfall of $180 million, after taxes, when eBay acquired his Pay Pal stock. Musk took his $180 million and invested it into three ventures: SpaceX ($100 million), Tesla ($70 million) and Solar City ($10 million). At the end of 2008, Musk was out of money to help fund his fledgling companies. He was able to rebound and is now reportedly worth $20.7 billion.

How to Walk and Talk So Millionaires Take Notice

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It is a fact that how you present yourself to others impacts their perception of you.

If that perception is a negative one, it’s like you’re slamming the door in your own face.

Millionaires don’t want to do business with those they perceive in a negative light.

As I discovered in my study of self-made millionaires, becoming rich and successful often requires the assistance of people who have already become rich and successful. And in dealing with them, there are certain road rules, which I cover in my bestselling book Rich Kids. Here are a few of those road rules:

  • Never Curse – Cursing is a habit that is forged over many years. You don’t want this habit to become an impediment when you run into a millionaire. Millionaires don’t take you seriously if you curse. And, worse, cursing makes you sound stupid or ignorant.
  • Don’t Gossip or Badmouth Others – Millionaires will hand those they trust the keys to their kingdom. Badmouthing and other forms of gossip telegraphs to millionaires you are disloyal and cannot be trusted.
  • Always Tell the Truth – Lying is one of those scarlet letter habits that follow you around via your reputation. Millionaires won’t do business or help anyone who has a reputation for lying. They avoid  anyone that cannot be trusted.
  • Etiquette Matters – Etiquette is a business card we all carry around our necks. It tells people you are a person of character, manners and good social skills. Poor etiquette tells people you lack social skills and millionaires will distance themselves from those who they think might embarrass them is a social setting.
  • Names Are Important – Everyone, even millionaires, perk up when they hear their name. Since you might not know who is or isn’t a millionaire, it’s important to forge this Rich Habit whenever you meet someone new. They will be impressed that you remembered their name, the next time you meet them.
  • Avoid Slang – Ain’t and Irregardless might be words according to Webster’s Dictionary, but to millionaires they advertise your lack of command over the English language. Always use proper English in social settings and avoid slang. You never know who might be listening.
  • Never Interrupt – Interrupting others is a bad habit that can catch up to you. Especially if you interrupt the wrong person, like a millionaire. It’s offensive to interrupt someone while they are talking. You don’t want to offend millionaires who could open closed doors for you.
  • Eye to Eye – According to my research, self-made millionaires forged the habit of looking others in the eyes for only a few seconds at a time. I was told by my millionaires that staring into someone’s eyes for too long is intimidating. Worse, was not looking into their eyes at all. It shows a lack of confidence and self-assurance. So, moderate your eye to eye contact but don’t ignore it.
  • Follow-Up – If you make a promise, follow-up. Following-up says you respect the other person. If that person turns out to be a millionaire who can help you, following-up tells that millionaire you are a person of integrity and someone who is true to their word. It’s a Trust Habit that attracts others to you.
  • Go the Extra Mile – When you forge the habit of exceeding the expectations of other, you set yourself apart from everyone else. Millionaires notice those who are willing to go the extra mile.

The #1 Factor That Makes Poor People Rich

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It’s easy to fix the blame for poverty on society or the government or tax policy or Wall Street or, well, you fill in the blank.

What’s not easy is to look in the mirror at the real cause.

Sometimes we need a dose of reality to shake us from our excuses.

If no poor person on the face of the earth ever rose from poverty to wealth, you might have a case that it’s impossible to become rich if you were born and raised poor.

But, reality paints a very different picture. There are thousands of poor people every day who become rich. According to Forbes Magazine, just in America, there are approximately 1,700 working class people a day who become millionaires.

And, according to my own Rich Habits study, 41% of the 177 self-made millionaires I studied were born and raised in poverty.

What was the #1 factor that helped them shake off the chains of poverty and become wealthy?

Changing their daily habits.

Changing your habits can be hard, especially if you don’t know how. If you read my book Change Your Habits Change Your Life, you know the shortcuts to habit change.

Here are some of those short-cuts, straight out of my book:

Habit Merging

Think of an existing habit (existing neural pathway) as a train on a track, except it’s inside your brain. If you add your new habit to that same train, as if it were a new passenger, the brain won’t put up a fight because you’re not trying to take control of the train or the track. You’re just taking a ride. When an old habit does not perceive a new habit as a threat, it does not wage war against the formation of the new habit.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you want to add a new Rich Habit of reading 30 minutes every day for self-education and let’s say you have an old habit of exercising aerobically on the stair master 30 minutes every day. If you were to put a book on the stair master and read that book while you’re exercising, you will, almost immediately, form a new joint habit that sticks. The trigger for the habit will be the book on your stair master. Here’s another example: If you have an old habit of drinking coffee every day and you want to add a new Rich Habit of drinking a glass of water every day, you will put your coffee cup on a water cooler or in your sink or in your refrigerator, next to the water bottle. When your brain tells you it’s time to drink coffee, you will, initially, search for your coffee cup. That coffee cup will then become a trigger, reminding you to drink a cup of water. That new joint habit will only take a few days to stick.

Law of Association

Old habits can be triggered by the individuals you associate with. If you are trying to get rid of some old, bad habits you need to limit the time you spend associating with those individuals who act as a trigger for those bad habits and begin associating with individuals who possess the new good habits you are trying to adopt. You can find these new individuals in network groups, non-profit groups, trade groups or any group that is focused on pursuing similar goals. For example, if one of your new goals is to read more, you can join a reading group that meets periodically to discuss books the group reads. Another example would be finding individuals who run, jog or exercise and begin jogging, running or exercising with them. Once you open your eyes to habit change, you will begin to see that there are many individuals who have those same habits. They are all around you. You only begin to notice them after you make a decision to change your daily habits.

Changes in Your Environment

It is much easier to abandon old habits and form new habits when your environment changes. New home, new neighbors, new friends, new job, new colleagues, new cities, etc., all offer an opportunity to forge new habits. When your environment changes, you are forced to think your way through each day. Spoons, knives and forks are no longer where they used to be, so you have to think. Your commute to work is different, so you have to think. Your new responsibilities at work are different, so you have to think. Eventually your brain will force you to develop habits in your new environment in order to make the brain’s job easier.

Start Small

It is far easier to change your habits if you start with small habits. Small habit change involves adding habits that require very little effort. Examples include drinking more water during the day, taking vitamin supplements or listening to audio books while you commute to work. Small habit change also includes cutting back on existing bad habits. Examples include reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke, reduce T.V. watching by thirty minutes each day or reducing Facebook or Internet use to less than an hour a day. The smaller, easier the habit change, the higher the probability that it will stick. Small habit change gives you momentum and increased confidence. This allows you to take on bigger, more complex habit changes in the future.

Schedule Your New Habits

Sixty-seven percent of self-made millionaires in my study maintained a to-do list. To-do lists are a way of processing success into your life. One of the tricks self-made millionaires use is to incorporate certain good daily habits onto their to-do list. These specific daily habits show up automatically, every day, on their to-do lists. This forces accountability. Every day you must be accountable for the new daily habits you are trying to form. If they are simple daily habits, after a few weeks, you won’t need to include them on your to-do list – they will have become habits. You can then move on to other, new daily habits using this to-do list habit process.

Firewall Your Bad Habits

One trick to habit change is to make it harder for you to engage in a bad habit by creating some type of firewall between you and the bad habit. For example, let’s say you eat junk food late at night while watching T.V. You eat that junk food because it’s in your pantry. If it wasn’t in your pantry you wouldn’t be able to eat it. The way to make this bad habit harder to engage in, would be to stop stocking your pantry with junk food and instead stock your pantry with healthy snacks. The habit isn’t eating junk food; the habit is snacking while you watch T.V. Eliminating junk food may stop you from snacking, but more likely, when you sit to watch T.V., the cue, you will default into your routine of seeking a snack. This time, however, the reward will be a different snack, ideally a healthy one or at least a low calorie substitute.

Another bad habit might be spending hours on Facebook at night, after dinner. One way to make this habit harder to engage in would be to turn off your computer, or moving your computer into the basement or disconnecting it from the router. Because it requires exerting some effort to engage in the bad habit, you won’t, if your willpower is weak. And willpower is usually at its weakest at the end of the day.

The Law of Cause and Effect

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You can call it karma, the law of attraction or, what I prefer to call it – the Law of Cause and Effect.

When you devote your life to helping others succeed, life rewards you. It rains riches down upon you.

Take Mother Teresa, for example. She devoted her life in service for the poor. Through her Missionaries of Charity, which began in India, she created branches in 50 Indian cities and 30 other countries. Her selflessness was so admired that she even received a Nobel Peace Prize.

But, I’ll bet you didn’t know this about Mother Teresa. Her Missionaries of Charity organization received hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to help her carry out her mission. Her selflessness became a money magnet.

I’m no Mother Teresa. But, since 2009 I have been sharing my Rich Habits study findings to millions of people around the world through my Rich Habits website. I literally dump all of my research onto my website, which is free to everyone. Over five million people have read one of my articles on my website.

For those who do not subscribe to my website, I’ve written several self-published books in an effort to get my research out there. Over the years, I’ve invested close to $70,000 in these self-published books and, until recently (2013), they did not generate any significant royalties.

But, in 2013, the law of cause and effect brought my research and my books to the attention of tens of millions of people in the U.S. and Canada, thanks to my Dave Ramsey and CBS interviews. Since then, I’ve sold close to 100,000 books, signed a big publishing deal with the 6th largest publisher in the world (China South Publishing and Media Group) as well as a number of other foreign publishers in South Korea, Vietnam and Australia. Soon, my books will be in many bookstores around the world.

The money, however, is not the reward.

The reward is the people, whose lives I’ve improved.

One woman, who was struggling financially, emailed to thank me for saving the life of her daughter. For six months, she followed my Save 10% of Your Income Rich Habit and was able to sock away $800 during that time period. Then her daughter got brain cancer. In her country, she had to pay a specialist $600 up front before the doctor would treat her daughter. Thanks to her saving $800, she had the money. Her daughter recovered and is now healthy.

I think about that email almost every day, especially when my life is beating over the head with problems.

Another individual emailed to tell me that before he read one of my books, he was unhappy, unemployed and at the end of his rope. He was contemplating suicide. After reading my book, he pulled himself together, eventually secured a decent paying job and even started a side business (Multiple Streams of Income Rich Habit), which was now providing him with a very good living.

I have thousands of email examples from individuals around the world, whose lives improved in some way from my writing/research. For me, these emails justify all of the cost, time and effort I’ve put into my blog, my books, my media interviews and my speaking engagements.

I do what I do because I truly believe we are put here on earth to help each other thrive. And I also believe that when you devote yourself to helping others, the Law of Cause and Effect rewards you in many ways, financially and otherwise.

Whose Wall is Your Ladder On?

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At the start of my sophomore year in college I was required to pick a major. They call that matriculation – selecting a particular course curriculum in order to receive a specific college degree.

I did what most children do. I asked one of my parents. In this case, my Dad. He told me to pick Accounting – “you’ll never starve,” he said.

What he really meant is that if I became an accountant, I’d never be poor.

That meant a lot to me because we were poor at the time and I didn’t want a poor future.

So, I took my ladder and put it on my Dad’s wall. Then, I proceeded to climb it for 28 years.

I got my CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license. Then I went to grad school at night and got a Masters degree in Taxation. To help my CPA clients manage their money, I got my Series 7 license for financial planning. Then I got my CFP (Certified Financial Planning) license.

By the time I was done climbing my Dad’s wall, it was 2009 and I was age 47, unhappy, unfulfilled and wondering if this is all there was to life.

And that’s when I discovered my purpose in life.

I had always written articles. Most were technical in nature and related to accounting, taxes or financial planning. I wrote hundreds of those articles. But after completing my Rich Habits study I decided to apply my writing skills and write a book about my findings.

I published my first book, Rich Habits, in 2010. It became a huge bestseller on Amazon. In 2013, Rich Habits rose as high as #7 in all books in the United States. I was ahead of J.K. Rowling, Tony Robbins and even Sheryl Sandberg, whose book at the time, Lean In, was #1 on the NY Times bestseller list. And I stayed in the Amazon top 100 for nearly three weeks.

I’ve since written three other books. I’ve spoken on the same stage as Sir Richard Branson. I’ve spoken to thousands and thousands of people across the United States. I’ve been to Canada and Australia to share my Rich Habits research. I’ve done over 300 media interviews, over 150 radio interviews and dozens of TV interviews. My research has been shared by the media in 25 countries.

I’m not rich yet, like the millionaires in my Rich Habits study. But since I put my ladder on my wall, my income has doubled and I feel happy. My mindset has shifted from negative to positive. I feel energized like never before. I feel optimistic. I see a different future. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I know I will be writing until the day I die.

That’s because, for the first time in my life, I am doing what I am supposed to do.

My new life began the minute I decided to put my ladder on my wall.

Don’t waste your life following someone else’s dreams and goals. It’s your life. It’s your ladder. Find your wall to put it on.

Purpose Guarantees Success

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What does it mean to have a purpose?

A purpose is a desire for something that is so intense, it haunts your thoughts even while you sleep.

When you find your purpose, you are able to focus your thinking and actions like a laser. You are able to marshal enormous reserves of unlimited energy.

Purpose provides you with clarity – clarity of vision (your Where, Destination or End Point), clarity of the path you must take (your Road Map or Directions to get you to your Destination) and clarity of action (your How).

When you have a purpose, you are able to overcome every obstacle in your path. With a purpose, failure is never permanent. It is always a temporary thing. A mere setback.

When you have a purpose, achievement is virtually guaranteed. You literally become unstoppable.

Everyone has a purpose. You just have to find out what it is (here’s how). When you do, your life will never be the same.

You Don’t Need Motivation to Succeed in Life

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Tom Corley boats - cropMotivation is a short-term burst of activity that can lead to incredible breakthroughs, incredible performance and incredible productivity.

When motivated, you can work many more hours in a day than the average person. When motivated, you can create a prodigious amount in a short period of time. When motivated, you can push yourself to perform at very high levels.

But, motivation is fleeting. It is hard to sustain.

Those who rely on internal or external motivation do not get very far in life. Eventually, they all lose their motivation. And when that happens, they then burn through their willpower reserves. When they run out of willpower, activity, progress and performance declines significantly or may even cease.

This is why habits are so fundamental to long-term success.

Habits do not rely on temporary bouts of motivation. Habits do not rely on willpower.

Habits, by their very definition, are unconscious behaviors that a person engages in every day, whether or not they feel like it or want to.

Rich Habit #6 – Everything in Moderation.

This is a seemingly short, simple and innocuous little Rich Habit.

Except that it’s not.

Moderation means to moderate everything in your life: How much you work every day. How much you eat every day. How much you drink every day. How much you exercise every day. How much you read every day. How much you (fill in the blank).

Moderating your activities enables you to engage in those activities, every day, every week, every year, for your entire life.

Moderation is all about consistent activity. Those who forge this Rich Habit are able to engage in daily activities that, over time, lead to incredible success.