Aim For Achievement and Success Will Follow

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“Achievement is knowing that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you.” Helen Hayes, actress.

In a horse race, the horse that wins, even by a nose, may win $30,000, while the second place horse receives only $10,000. The first place horse is not three times faster than the second place horse.

Success is the byproduct of consistent, steady preparation. You have to be willing to go the extra mile because most people won’t. Those who prepare the most and work the hardest, win the most. They pursue success every day through their efforts and eventually, they’re hard work and consistent preparation result in success.

Focus on getting better at what you do and not on the money. Money will follow those who are the most prepared.

Bragging vs. Self-Promotion – Two Very Different Things

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Why do people brag?

The objective of bragging is to try to impress others. We want people who really do not know us to think we are more important than we are, more successful than we are, smarter than we are, harder working than we are, richer than we are, make more money than we do, have more influential associations than we do, etc.

How many times have you had to endure the endless name dropping of someone you just met at some event? Braggers have that affect on people.

When you get right down to it, people brag because, deep down, they feel inadequate in some way. Braggers are trying to sell a false narrative, typically to individuals they do not know.

According to my research on the daily habits of the rich, those who pursue success and end up becoming very successful in life, don’t brag. They will promote what they do, but their self-promotion is factual – it’s not a fabrication. They are not pushing some false narrative in order to get something from someone. The are pushing reality.

The most successful people are great at telling the truth about themselves by sharing their value proposition.

“I help people rise from poverty or the middle-class by teaching them about my Rich Habits through my books, blog, media exposure and speaking engagements.” That’s me self-promoting. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it.

“I am a huge bestselling author. I know Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dave Ramsey and I’ve been on national TV many times.” That’s me bragging. I’ve sold a lot of books but, huge is an exaggeration. I’ve met Robin Sharma, and Richard Branson once at a speaking engagement in which I was one of the speakers. They probably don’t even remember who I am. I’ve been on the Dave Ramsey show once. He might still remember me, but who knows. I’ve been on national TV three times. Three times is not many times.

Bragging is about exaggerating the truth. Self-promotion is about telling the truth. Two very different things.

Authenticity – A Beloved But Rare Success Trait

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What does it mean to be authentic?

Authentic people are consistently honest about who they are. They tell it like it is. They are happy to reveal their faults as readily as their proprieties.  Authentic people have no interest in putting on airs. They really don’t care what you think about them. They wear no masks.

And people love them for it. Authentic people are like a breath of fresh air. Their authenticity draws people to them like bugs to a light. We trust authentic people more than those who lack authenticity.

  • Authenticity is one of the reasons Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.
  • Authenticity is why so many people were and are willing to happily give their money to Warren Buffet to manage.
  • Authenticity is why so many people love Tom Hanks, the actor.
  • Authenticity is why so many people became fanatic fans of Oprah.
  • Authenticity is why Roger Federer is the most beloved tennis player.
  • Authenticity is why Abraham Lincoln is still revered to this day.

For five years I studied 233 millionaires, which became the basis for my bestselling book, Rich Habits. When I began my five year quest, I honestly had no idea what I would learn. One thing I did learn, which surprised me, was how authentic most of those millionaires were, particularly the self-made millionaires (177 of the 233 were self-made). These self-mades would spend thirty minutes telling me about all of their screw ups, mistakes and how stupid they were. They would tell me stories about their failures and missteps.

Only after some prodding would they reluctantly delve into their strengths or their successes in life.

Why?

Because self-made millionaires don’t need validation. Success instilled in them a confidence that did not need to be fed. They also believed, deep down, that it was their mistakes and failures which helped them to build their fortunes in life. They earned the right to be authentic. They earned the right to be honest about who they were.

Welcome to the Millionaire Club

Tip of the MorningThere are 323.1 million people living in the United States. According to the latest Credit Suisse Wealth Survey on America’s millionaires (source: Money Magazine September 2017), there are 13.5 million individuals, or 4.17% of the population, with $1 million or more in net investable assets (liquid assets). Of this 13.5 million, 11.3 million, or 83.7%, had between $1 million and $5 million in such liquid assets.

According to research data from Fidelity and the Spectrum Group (source: Money Magazine September 2017), the typical U.S. millionaire is 62 years of age with $1.75 million in net liquid assets (Median).

Here’s some more interesting data regarding America’s millionaires:

  • Median Annual Income = $125,000.
  • 55% of the typical millionaire’s wealth was net investable assets (stocks, bonds, cash – think liquid assets)
  • 44% of the typical millionaire’s net investable assets were invested in stocks, 15% in fixed income investments, 15% in short-term investments and 26% in other investments.
  • 45% of the typical millionaire’s non-liquid wealth was spread out as follows:
    • 16% Home
    • 12% Retirement Assets
    • 8% Insurance/Annuities
    • 6% Non-Home Real Estate Investments
    • 2% Privately Held Business
    • 1% Other
  • 76% are married.
  • 67% are men and 33% are women.
  • 91% are White/Caucasian. Caucasian means white European origins.
  • 83% had an undergraduate degree or higher.
  • Millionaires with $5 million to $25 million in net investable assets were, on average, 66 years of age.
  • Millionaires with more than $25 million in net investable assets were, on average 52 years of age.

Having $1 million in liquid wealth does not make you rich. What makes you rich is being able to live off of the passive income generated from your liquid wealth. Rich means your passive income equals or exceeds your cost of living. In the research behind my book, Rich Habits, I set the bar for being rich higher:

  1. $160,000 in passive income and
  2. $3.2 million in Net Investable Assets

Passive Income of 5% on $3.2 million = $160,000 in annual passive income.

In most parts of the world, having $160,000 in annual passive income is more than you need to meet your cost of living.

What Are You Good At?

Tip of the MorningDawn played soccer, lacrosse and was a gymnast as a child. At age 13 she dropped soccer and lacrosse and, with the enthusiastic support of her parents, devoted herself to being a gymnast. She was a very good gymnast. It got her a partial scholarship to college. Her parents were happy about that. Dawn is 21 years old now. She just finished her junior year in college. Her major is Accounting. She’s interning part-time, over the summer, at a prestigious CPA firm. After only a few weeks interning, she’s beginning to think she may not like being a CPA. It’s not for her. She has no passion for it. She longs for something else. Dawn doesn’t know what to do. She’s unhappy.

Pete played baseball and basketball as a child. He was a stand out pitcher and guard on his varsity high school team. Unfortunately, Pete was unable to get any college scholarships. Because his parents were poor, Pete was unable to go to college. Pete is 28 now. He went into construction right out of high school. He realizes now, he doesn’t like his job. He longs for something else. Pete is a new dad. He doesn’t know what to do. Pete’s unhappy.

Katie was an outstanding tennis player as a child. She, and her parents, focused much of their time and resources on Katie’s tennis, which she continued playing throughout college. Katie went on to get a graduate degree in education. Katie, now 35 and a mom with two kids, has worked as a high school teacher for ten years. She does not like her job. She’s thinking about a career change but doesn’t have any idea what that new career should be. Katie is very unhappy.

Sound familiar? Dawn, Pete and Katie are representative of the vast majority who do not like their jobs. According to a 2012 survey conducted by “Big 4” accounting firm Deloitte, 80% of those surveyed did not like their jobs. In another survey conducted by Gallup in 2013, 63% of the 230,000 employees in the survey said they were unhappy with their jobs.

What happened? What went wrong?

As children, most are never exposed to enough diverse activities which can help lead to the discovery of some innate, god-given talent, or something they like doing.

Experimentation is the only way to discover your innate talents or your passions in life. Your  innate talents or passions are revealed any time you try something new and one of two things happens:

  1. It comes easy to you – this is life’s way of telling you that you have some innate, natural talent for doing something.
  2. You love it – when you really enjoy doing something, when it grabs hold of your emotions, this is life’s way of telling you that you have found a passion.

So, what do you do now that you’re an adult?

The key to finding a hidden talent, or some passion, is to focus on one new activity every three months. If it comes easy or you enjoy it, then you may be on to something big. If it doesn’t, then you move on. You can do your experimentation before or after your work hours. I discovered my unknown writing talent in the early morning hours of 2008/2009. I’ve been writing ever since and will continue doing so until the day I die, even if I never make another dollar.

When you find your hidden talent or find something you are passionate about, everything about your life will change. Your thinking will change. You will find clarity of vision. You will become hopeful. Life will become exciting. And you will find happiness and fulfillment.

Expectations

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Neal Halfon, lead researcher in a 2001 study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, in which 6,600 children and their parents were studied for many years, found that children rise to the level of the expectations set by their parents.

You expectations, therefore, are critical to your success in life.

If you are not satisfied with your life, you need to evaluate your internal “expectations” programming.

Those with high expectations, rise to the level of those expectations.

If your expectations are too low, success will be impossible for you. If you set the bar too low in life, you will only rise to that low level and stay there your entire life.

What are your expectations? In order to reinvent yourself, the starting point is becoming aware of your current expectations and then replacing those expectations with ones that force you to stretch, grow, improve and achieve by some certain date. 

“I expect to become a successful __________________ in ______ years.”

“I expect to make $____________ a year.”

“I expect to have $____________ in the bank in ______ years.”

“I expect to weight __________ pounds by __________.”

“I expect to complete my first half marathons by __________.”

“I expect to write my first book by __________.”

“I expect to start my own business by __________.”

“I expect to accumulate my first million by __________.”

When you set the bar high, you may not always achieve what you desire, but you will push yourself to a higher level. Expect more of yourself. We all have the capacity to achieve great things.

Paint a Portrait of the Person You Want To Be

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Self-made millionaires are visionaries. Long before they turn the corner towards their first million, the rich see themselves as millionaires.

Fifty-three percent of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits study said they were convinced they would one day be wealthy. They literally looked into their future mirror and saw themselves as wealthy.

This Future Mirror Strategy is a Rich Habit of self-made millionaires. I’ve written about this habit in my book Rich Habits.

I believe the ability to look into the future and to see yourself as successful and rich, is the springboard for every action and every decision that ultimately leads to wealth. Knowing where you want to go and who you want to be comes first. Wealth comes second.

One of the reasons self-made millionaires are able to embrace this wealthy futuristic vision of themselves is they habitualize, on a daily basis, unbridled optimistic thinking. And they eschew any negative thoughts of mediocrity, failure or poverty. They embrace individuals who live in a world of YES and they avoid individuals who live in a world of NO.

Self-made millionaires live in a fantasy world of their own making in which anything and everything is possible. This futuristic thinking spurs them on, providing them with the energy and motivation to work long hours, consistently for many years, until their futuristic vision becomes their new reality.

Paint a portrait of the person you want to be.

Exercise Your IQ

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A neuron (brain cell) has one axon and multiple dendrites. The axon branches of neurons connect to the dendrites of other neurons, creating what is known as a synapse. Neural stem cells are pre-brain cells. They are born in the hippocampus and either divide into neural cells or glial cells (support cells for neurons). Neural cells are sent from the hippocampus to the dendrite gyrus, which acts like a traffic cop, ordering them to go to specific regions of the brain.

There is a direct correlation between the number of axons, dendrites and synapses an individual has and their intelligence. Anything that increases the number of axons, dendrites and synapses, therefore, increases intelligence.

Research has found that regular exercise does a number of things that improve brain performance:

  • Exercise increases the number of neural stem cells created by the hippocampus. It doesn’t matter if you’re jogging or lifting weights.
  • Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, increases blood-flow to the brain. The more you exercise, the higher the blood flow. This increased blood flow feeds the brain with more glucose or ketones (brain fuel) and oxygen.
  • Oxygen not only acts as a catalyst, helping to convert glucose or ketones into ATP (brain fuel), but it also acts like a sponge, soaking up free radical waste, left over from the conversion of glucose or ketones into ATP. Aerobic exercise, therefore, cleans out toxins and wastes from brain cells.
  • Weight lifting increases the production of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which is produced inside the hippocampus. BDNF is like miracle grow for the brain, helping it give birth to more neural cells and also helping to increase the size of existing neurons.

In effect, exercise grows your brain by creating new brain cells and increasing the size of existing brain cells. Muscle movement increases the growth of axons. Lifting weights, therefore, increases the growth of axons, which helps contribute to increased synaptic activity.

So, if you want to increase your IQ, start exercising.

Rich Focus

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What you focus on expands. It’s a universal law. When you focus on what’s right, you will see good everywhere. When you focus on what’s wrong, you will see injustice everywhere.

There is a difference the size of the Grand Canyon, in the way in which rich people and poor people focus. Your focus in life, creates your life:

  • Rich People focus on abundance, Poor People focus on scarcity.
  • Rich People focus on opportunities, Poor People focus on obstacles.
  • Rich People focus on solutions, Poor People focus on problems.
  • Rich People focus on their strengths, Poor People focus on their weaknesses.
  • Rich People focus on taking risk, Poor People focus on avoiding risk.
  • Rich People focus on individual responsibility, Poor People focus on blaming others.
  • Rich People focus on positivity, Poor People focus on negativity.
  • Rich People focus on doing more, Poor People focus on doing the bare minimum.
  • Rich People focus on meeting their wants, Poor People focus on meeting their needs.
  • Rich People focus on taking action to become rich, Poor People focus on wishing to be rich.
  • Rich People focus on what they can do for you (giving value), Poor People focus on what’s in it for them (getting value).

Rich Beliefs

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“Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions, which lead to results.” T. Harv Eker

Your beliefs are nothing more than the opinions of others you have accepted as fact. Most of your beliefs are shaped by those who have had the most significant impact on you – your parents. But beliefs can also be passed down to you from teachers, mentors, your environment, and other individuals who have had a significant influence over you during your life.

Once a belief is accepted as fact, it becomes part of your unconscious programming. Your beliefs are always the starting point. They are the springboard to everything: your habits, feelings, emotions, behaviors and your actions. That last one, actions, creates the outcomes for your life: rich, middle-class, poor, happy, unhappy, fulfilled and unfulfilled.

So, your beliefs are either helping you move forward in life, helping you create the life of your dreams, or your beliefs are holding you back, unconsciously creating a life of misery.

We form beliefs around certain cores:

  • Money – What are your beliefs surrounding money? When you think of money, is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? Do you see money as good or bad? If good, you will save and invest it prudently. If bad, you will spend it and invest it unwisely.
  • People – What are your beliefs surrounding people? When you think of people, is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? Do you see people as good or bad? If good, you will develop long-lasting and strong relationships with others. If bad, you will struggle with your relationships. You will not devote the time and effort to maintaining and improving existing relationships and you will avoid creating new relationships. Since relationships are the currency of the wealthy, having a negative belief about people becomes an anchor, holding you back from becoming rich.
  • Wealth – What are your beliefs about wealth? When you think of wealth, is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? Do you see rich people as good or bad? If good, you will see the pursuit of wealth as a good and noble thing. If bad, you will see the pursuit of wealth as a bad and evil thing.
  • Health – What are your beliefs about health? When you think of health, is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? Do you see healthy people as good or bad? If good, you will devote your life to being healthy. If bad, you will ignore your health.
  • Work – What are your beliefs about work? When you think of wealth, is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? If good, it will be reflected by a hard work ethic. If bad, a bad work ethic.
  • Family – What are your beliefs about family? When you think of family, is it a good feeling or a bad feeling? If good, you will have strong family ties. If bad, you will ignore your family.
  • Friends – See family.

Each one of us has the power to change our beliefs. But, as I’ve often said, all change starts with awareness. You must first become aware of the beliefs you have before any change is possible.