Courage Grows Through Action

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Toxic Traits

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One of the most glaring differences between the rich and the poor in my Rich Habits Study was who the rich and the poor surrounded themselves with.

The self-made millionaires in my study built Rich Relationships – relationships with individuals who possessed Rich Traits, characterized by a positive mental outlook on life. Rich Relationships are typically upbeat, enthusiastic and success-minded individuals.

The poor in my study had a tendency to build relationships with other toxic people – individuals who shared a pessimistic, hopeless, negative-minded outlook.

Toxic people have certain Toxic Traits that act like a virus, infecting everyone around them. Becoming aware of these Toxic Traits helps you to avoid or rid yourself of negative influences which only serve to hold you back or drag you down in life.

Toxic Traits

  • Sarcastic
  • Gossip About Others
  • Selfish
  • Blame-Throwers
  • Dependent Mindset
  • Victim Mindset
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Argumentative
  • Dream-Killers
  • Habitual Liars
  • Untrustworthy
  • Addicted to Something – Drugs, Gambling, Sex, Alcohol
  • Excuse Finders
  • Fault Finders
  • Perpetual Financial Problems
  • Inconsiderate
  • Lethargic or Lazy
  • In Perpetual Conflicts With Others
  • Erratic Behavior – No Control Over Emotions
  • Irrational
  • Rude
  • One-Uppers
  • Envious or Ungrateful
  • Deceptive
  • Unresponsive to Others
  • Bullies

No one’s perfect. Even the rich possess some Toxic Traits. The key is this: Does an individual have an abundance of Toxic Traits?

If the answer is yes, then avoid them. Their toxicity will hold you back or drag you down.

Motivational Habits

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Self-made millionaires are self-motivated.

They create daily routines, or habits, that help them stay positive and motivated. Below are examples of some of the Motivational Habits that self-made millionaires use to stay motivated:

  • Write a script of your ideal, perfect life.
  • Read your ideal, perfect life script.
  • Re-write your ideal, perfect life script.
  • Create a Vison Board of the things that exist in your ideal, future life.
  • Look at your Vision Board and daydream.
  • Express gratitude for three things that happened yesterday. Gratitude gets you in the right farm of mind. It is the gateway to a positive mental outlook.
  • Read something inspirational. This could be a book, blog or article.
  • Surround yourself with upbeat, enthusiastic people. They will keep you infected with an upbeat attitude.
  • Create positive affirmations and review them periodically.
  • Engage in some activity, like exercise, which makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Engage in some fun activity.
  • Create a list of goals you would like to accomplish in life.
  • Review your list of life goals.
  • Create a Victory Log.
  • Review you Victory Log.
  • Listen to uplifting music.
  • Listen to uplifting podcasts.
  • Watch an uplifting TEDx talk.
  • Reward yourself – prior to engaging in a task, specify a post-task reward. This could be a treat, dinner with friends, a beer, etc.
  • Meditate.

Self-made millionaires create motivational routines that help them stay in the right frame of mind so they can engage in activities which help them move forward in life. Motivational Habits are your personal triggers which help keep you motivated.

Three Types of Self-Made Millionaires

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In my five-year Rich Habits Study, I interviewed 177 self-made millionaires. I am often asked by the media how they got rich.

Essentially, my self-made millionaires fell into three distinct groups:

The Savers

The first group of self-made millionaires in my study saved their way to wealth. These Savers accumulated their wealth by living below their means, saving money and then investing that money prudently. According to my Rich Habits research, this path to multi-millionaire status took about thirty-two years.

Savers typically were risk averse, employed most of their lives, earned a moderate wage and had a low or moderate standard of living.

Self-made millionaire Savers were among the least wealthy in my study, with an average net worth of $3.4 million.

Being a Saver is the risk-averse way to building wealth. It’s the safe path to wealth accumulation. However, it required discipline, sacrifice and attention to detail in order to live below their means, save and prudently invest.

The Executives

The second group of self-made millionaires in my study worked for large publicly held corporations. Through hard work, smart office politics, constant self-improvement and powerful relationship-building skills, they rose up the ladder in their respective companies.

As executives, they received higher than normal compensation, which always included bonuses and stock compensation.

This stock compensation was in the form of one or more of the following:

  • Qualified stock options
  • Non-qualified stock options
  • Stock rights
  • Restricted stock
  • Outright stock grants

The stock compensation, irrespective of its form, was always disproportionate to their base compensation, meaning, significantly higher than their base pay. This stock compensation was responsible for generating most of their wealth.

It took this group about twenty-five years to accumulate their wealth.

The Entrepreneurs

The third group of self-made millionaires in my study were the entrepreneurs – individuals who started their own business. This group, by far, accumulated the most wealth, averaging $7.4 million over an average of twelve years.

This was the highest risk and hardest path towards building wealth. In fact, 34% of the self-made millionaire entrepreneurs in my study failed at least once in business, which took a toll on their families and their lives.

The upfront investment in time and money was significant.

The early part of the journey for the typical entrepreneur was one fraught with nothing but uncertainty.

They invested most, if not all of their time, money and energy in something with no guarantee of success.

Despite their best efforts, things often went wrong. In the beginning, there was an endless parade of setbacks, obstacles and mistakes.

With every misstep, doubt was a constant companion. These doubts fill their waking moments and invaded their dreams.

Peace of mind was hard to find. Uncertainty sucked the life out of them. It often drained them of their confidence and every setback caused them to wonder if it was all worth it.

It took superhuman resilience to survive the entrepreneur’s journey.

But the journey transformed their lives and the lives of their families.

It forced them to develop new skills, acquire new knowledge and learn how to find and build relationships with other outstanding, success-minded people.

Those who were able to survive the journey and succeed, became millionaires and found happiness and fulfillment awaiting them on the other side of their journey.

There’s no easy path towards accumulating wealth and becoming a self-made millionaire.

Saving your way to wealth is the least stressful and least risky path towards accumulating wealth, but it requires enormous discipline and sacrifice.

Climbing the corporate ladder to wealth requires unique skill-sets and more than a little bit of luck. Finding a publicly held company to work for is easy. Finding one that is in a growing and expanding sector where profits and share price are consistently rising requires some luck.

Being an entrepreneur is perhaps the hardest way to accumulate wealth. The ups and downs, characteristic of entrepreneurship, requires enormous emotional control, long work hours, persistence, resilience, focus and the ability to rebound from mistakes and failure.

Rich Thinking – The Success Mindset

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Rich Thinking is a habit, or rather, many habits. Rich Thinking habits establish a success-oriented mindset, something that is critical to, and a prerequisite to, the acquisition of success.

So, what are the Rich Thinking Habits?

I Must Improve Every Day

Being obsessed with daily self-improvement triggers all sorts of daily behaviors, or daily habits:

  • Reading to Learn every day in order to acquire expert knowledge in your field or craft. This requires a thirty minutes or more of daily reading.
  • Engaging in Deliberate Practice every day to help perfect and improve your skills. This requires two hours of more of Deliberate Practice.
  • Curiosity. This requires seeking specific answers to things you know nothing about.

I Will Never Quit

  • Emotional Stability is at the heart of this Rich Thinking habit. When things go wrong, as they mostly do during the success journey, Emotional Stability means avoiding the tendency to get down on yourself. When things go right, Emotional Stability means avoiding the tendency to become euphoric. Emotional Stability means never overreacting to defeat or success. You’ve seen this habit at work in high performers like Roger Federer, Eli Manning and Michael Jordan. You would never know either of them was winning or losing because they possess the Emotional Stability Rich Thinking habit.
  • Managing Expectations requires setting realistic expectations at the very beginning. When you set realistic expectations, you avoid the ups and downs.When you set unrealistic expectations you are setting yourself up for disappointment, sadness or depression. When you set realistic expectations you are setting yourself up for satisfaction or happiness.
  • Focus eliminates distractions. When you make focus a habit, you ignore the noise and distractions that take most people off task.
  • Persistence means you continue to pursue your dreams and your goals no matter what happens in your life.

I Know Where I’m Going

Dream-Setting is about visualizing what your ideal, perfect life looks like ten or twenty years into the future. You create a blueprint of that life by writing a script about what your future life will look like. This habits requires that you continuously tweak your blueprint, you re-write your script, as facts and circumstances change. During the pursuit of success, some things will go right and more things will go wrong. Staying focused on the end game, requires re-writing your script when your circumstances change, while still maintaining your focus on where you want to end up ten or twenty years into the future.

I Will Maintain a Positive Mental Outlook

Gratitude is the gateway to a positive mental outlook, so it all begins with being grateful for what you have. This sets in motion all of the other positive traits you will need to succeed: optimism, enthusiasm, hope, passion and inspiration.

The most successful individuals have the ability to stay positive during stressful situations. They understand that positivity is the springboard of all creativity and insight, which helps you overcome obstacles and find solutions to problems.

I Will Adopt a Solutions Mindset

Successful people do not focus on finding problems, they acknowledge a problem and then focus on finding solutions.

I Will Become Process-Oriented

Everyone who pursues success makes mistakes. Those who succeed see those mistakes as learning experiences. They learn from their mistakes. Once they figure out what they did wrong, they develop processes that enable them to avoid making the same mistakes.

I Will be Patient

Success takes a long time. Those who succeed adopt the Rich Thinking Habit of Patience. They patiently persist, waiting for opportunities and luck to manifest themselves and then taking advantage of those opportunities and that luck.