Will Your Child be Rich or Poor? 14 Habits Every Child Needs to Succeed in Life

Tom Corley boats - cropWhen I travel the country speaking to high school and college students about exactly what they need to do to become financially successful in life, I always begin my presentation by asking the same three questions:

“How many want to be financially successful in life?”

“How many think they will be financially successful in life?”

Almost every time I ask the first two questions, every hand rises in the air. Then I ask the magic third question: [Read more…]

Choose Purpose Over Prosperity


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It’s not easy deciding what to do for a living. Parents and teachers do their best in steering young adults into jobs, careers or professions that offer the best compensation. This makes it possible for young adults to provide for themselves and, eventually, their own families.

Sounds like the right thing to do, but for most, it’s a recipe for disaster. When you choose a job, career or profession based solely on current of future compensation, you are choosing prosperity over purpose. At some point during your life it becomes evident that you do not like what you do for a living. That revelation typically manifests itself when you have young children, a mortgage, car loans and other bills to pay. Its hard to make a career change with adult responsibilities.

The correct approach is to choose purpose over prosperity. Doing something you love involves pursuing something that taps into your inner talents. We all have unique talents. The job of parents and teachers, instead, should be to inundate kids with a multitude of activities that expose their inner talents. This is the only way kids will find that thing they love to do. And when kids engage in activities that expose their inner talents, only then will they find their purpose in life.

Finding your purpose in life means you will never have to face the revelation that you do not like what you do for a living. When you pursue your purpose in life, the money eventually finds you. Always choose purpose over prosperity. It’s the only true path to success and happiness.

Whose Investment Are You?


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The fact is, most people work for someone or some organization. From the perspective of the employer, their employees represent an investment; an asset. From the perspective of an employee, their employer is a means to an end. That end, for most unfortunately, is a paycheck. A select few, however, are in it for more than a paycheck. They go the extra mile. They do more than their job description. They pursue responsibilities that go beyond their job description. And here’s the little known secret to success that only a unique number of employees have discovered – going the extra mile is an investment in themselves.

When you do more than your job requires, you grow. As you grow, you become more valuable. Not just to your employer, but to every competitor in your industry. The more you go beyond just earning a paycheck, the more you learn, the more new people you come into contact with and more your stock rises.

Going beyond a paycheck and your job description shifts the investment from your employer to you. It’s an investment in yourself. And the more you invest in yourself, the more opportunities you create.

That was one of the hallmark’s of the self-made millionaires I uncovered in my Rich Habits Study. One of the self-made millionaires in my study started in the equivalent of the mailroom. I interviewed him because he had risen to the 2nd in command at a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey. He’s now worth in excess of 8 million dollars. He somehow uncovered that little known secret of success.

If you want to be a success in life you must invest in yourself. You must take on responsibilities that push you outside your comfort zone. This discomfort means you are growing. When you go above and beyond your job description, you are no longer an investment of your employer. You become your own investment.

The Pursuit of Any Worthy Dream Must Become Your Main Purpose in Life


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Dreams come with baggage. They take time and effort. Sometimes the effort feels like an endless investment. It would be so much easier if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The light of certainty. Unfortunately, there is no certainty when you are pursuing a dream.

In my research, I found that self-made millionaires were not the brave and confident heroes written about in so many books. They worried about the outcome of all of their efforts and were concerned about all of the money they poured into their dreams. They doubted themselves. But what makes them unique is that, despite so many mistakes, failures and unmet expectations, they kept pursuing their dreams. They just did not quit, despite the anguish.

When they realized success, it was not something that washed over them in one singular event. It was more or less an evolution. Success is only perceived in hindsight. It is typically not something that becomes self evident. There are set backs, which create doubts. Then turning points, followed by major advances which inspire confidence. Then more set backs, and more doubts, then more turning points and then more confidence. Dreams do not come easy. It’s not a linear climb up some ladder. It’s more like climbing monkey bars. Sometimes you feel like you are moving one bar backwards, sometimes you feel you’re moving one bar sideways, other times it feels like you are not moving at all and every now and then you find yourself moving two or three bars upwards.

Because of this inherent uncertainty and the emotional ups and downs, the pursuit of your dream must be for all of the right reasons. Money alone is not a good enough reason. You must see your dream as that thing you will do, irrespective of any financial gain, for the rest of your life. It must become your main purpose in life.

Good Habits Take the Grind Out of Grit


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Grit is just another word for persistence. Persistence, above all else, is the main secret of all success. Never quitting on a dream is the definition of persistence.

But being persistent requires that you grind it out. You must do certain things every day that move you closer to realizing your dreams and your goals. This is where habits come in. Good habits automate the success process. Because they’re automatic, unconscious behaviors and thinking, they take the grind out of the pursuit of success. They make you automatically persistent, without the need to rely on willpower. Automating success by adopting good success habits means you don’t have to grind it out, willing your way forward every day. Habits made success easier because they enable you to grind it out without really feeling like you are. Good habits take the grind out of grit.

There’s a Zombie Inside All of Us


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Do you have any cravings for human flesh? Well, if you do, you better get yourself to a Doctor quick. That’s not the kind of zombie I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the zombie brain that resides inside each one of us. First, let me share some brain facts with you. Every human brain has three parts:

  • Brain Stem
  • Limbic System
  • Neocortex

The conscious parts of our brain, our consciousness, is spread across the following regions of the brain.

  • Temporal Lobes – Neocortex
  • Amygdala – Limbic System
  • Septum – Limbic System
  • Hypothalamus – Limbic System
  • Insular Cortex – Limbic System
  • Singular Gyrus – Limbic System

This represents a small fraction of the brain. The rest of the brain, many of the leading neuroscientists argue, represents our subconscious.

The subconscious parts of our brain are actually running our lives. To a very large extent, our behaviors, thinking and habits are controlled by our subconscious. We are, to a large extent, zombies, controlled by our subconscious.

The good news is that the conscious part of the brain is under our control. It is the command and control center of the brain and can override our subconscious. You’ve probably read about the Buddhist monks who are able to control heart rate, body temperature and other bodily functions normally controlled by the subconscious brain. Well, it goes much deeper than just controlling body function.

By exerting our consciousness we can also control our behavior, thinking and habits. But in order to do so we must become aware of our behavior, thinking and habits. You can’t change what you do not track. By tracking, you can identify which behavior, thinking and habits you’d like to change and then direct the conscious brain to override them. It will takes you anywhere from 18 to 254 days to change your habitual behavior and thinking (University College of London study).

We see many people under the control of their zombie brain every day. These are people who play the victim card and complain about their circumstances in life. They believe they have little or no control over their lives. They blame their parents, society, government, Wall Street, the wealthy and anything else that can justify their circumstances. They do not take responsibility for their lives. It’s not their fault. It’s just the luck of the draw.

That’s too bad. Your circumstances in life are the byproduct of your behavior, thinking and habits. You can change your circumstances by changing your habitual behaviors and thinking. You are the master of your zombie brain. You can make it do whatever you want it to do. You are in complete control of your life. Don’t play the victim card. When you allow your zombie brain to control you, it only leads to misery and unhappiness. The brain can be an incredible master or a very poor servant.

The Most Common Cause of Regret


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Unrealized potential is the most common cause of regret. Not living up to your potential is a sin against humanity. When you look at all of the great successes in life, they all have one thing in common – they lived up to their potential as human beings: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Andrew Carnegie, Michael Jordan, Michelangelo, Einstein, Galileo, Stephen King, John Maxwell, Tony Robbins, Dr. Ben Carson, Arnold Swarzenegger, Leonardo da Vinci. The list goes on. These individuals went all out in life. They pushed the limits of their potential and the world rewarded them. They believed they had unlimited potential and that nothing could stand in their way. The ones who are no longer with us died without any regrets. They tried. They gave it their all.

Don’t let life pass you by without exploring your potential. We are all gifted with unlimited potential. It is up to us to explore the limits of our potential. If we don’t, we live a life filled with regret.

The Words You Use Affect the Way Others Perceive You


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I remember my first job in NYC. I was 21 and interning for Bankers Trust right across from World Trade Center Building #1. I was finished with my work day and headed down the two story long series of escalators which delivered all of us down to street level. There were four of these escalators, two that went down and two that went up. While on one of these down escalators I ease dropped on a conversation two bankers were having in front of me. To this day I have no idea what they were talking about. But what I do remember was how impressed I was. They used words like Michelangelo used clay or paints. It bothered me that I did not understand the words they were using.

That summer I decided I was going to learn ten new words a day. So I pulled out the dictionary, took out a binder, some paper and a pencil and began writing down words I didn’t know. I did this every day for about two months. As summer came to a close, I was now the proud owner of 500 new words. And I started to use these words, weaving them into conversation. I remember playing pool in the rathskeller back at college. There was a very pretty girl in the group. She knew some of the guys I regularly played pool with. We were all discussing Poland, which was in the news. They were going through a revolution there. I remember sharing my opinion with the group about this revolution. I test drove some of the new words I learned over the summer.

About an hour later, as I was walking out the rathskeller, the pretty girl accompanied me up the stairs. She never did this before. I confess, my heart was beating like a rabbit. She said to me, “I didn’t realize you were so smart.” We became fast friends after that and had many more conversations. We came very close to dating but I never had the ask a girl out on a date confidence to ask her out. I’m of Irish decent and, at the time, I was working on my eighth year of puberty. I still looked like a man child and felt ugly and very awkward back then.

I kept that word binder, but confess that I lapsed in my devotion to learning new words. When I was finishing up my study on the daily habits of the rich and poor in 2008, I discovered that one of the Rich Habits the millionaires all seemed to have was a daily devotion to learning and self-improvement. So I found my old word binder, dusted it off and renewed my study of words. It has helped me enormously in communicating my research in the books and articles I’ve written as well as in the numerous media interviews I’ve had.

The words we use every day create perceptions. They are like magnets, drawing to us all sorts of people. Rich people had figured that out long before they became rich. The more words you know, the better your ability to communicate what you know. Words create perceptions. If you want to create the perception that you are smart, you must increase your knowledge of words and use them in conversation. Learning new words helps you grow as an individual. They increase your confidence. They transform you.

Start your word binder today. Devote just fifteen minutes a day to increasing your vocabulary. Add five new words a day to your arsenal. People will take notice. Words will elevate you and draw the right people into your inner circle.

5 Step Process to Daily Growth


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“Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.” John Wooden

Achieving success requires that you pursue and realize your dream. In order to realize your dream you need to gain new knowledge and develop new skills. You must evolve into the person you need to become in order to realize your dream. The key to realizing your dream is daily growth. The key to daily growth is daily learning. You need to make growth a daily habit. But how? By processing growth into your daily schedule. Each day commit to reading at least 30 minutes about something that helps you gain more knowledge. That’s step one. You then need to document what you’ve learned each day. Writing down new information helps reinforce that knowledge. Many of the self-made millionaires in my study maintained a binder that they filled with new information and then separated that new knowledge into topics. That’s step two. Once a week they would review their “fact binder”. That’s step three. The fourth step requires that you use that new information. Knowledge, without action will not stick. Finding ways to act on what you’ve learned creates a synapse, or neural pathway in the brain. Repetition moves your new knowledge into long term memory. That’s step five.

Tip of the Week – The 5:1 Rule

The wealthy are good listeners. They subscribe to  the 5:1 Rule. This rule states that every minute of talking requires five minutes of listening.