Habits are repetitive behaviors, choices and thinking that take place unconsciously. They are involuntary, unconscious acts. According to a 2006 Duke study, these involuntary acts represent 40% or more of an individual’s daily activities. This means 40% or more of the time, each day, we are all doing things, making choices and thinking a certain way, without even being aware of it.
I first began to realize that most of us were unaware of our daily activities in my five year study of the daily habits of the rich and poor (http://richhabits.net/rich-habits-study-background-on-methodology/). It became clear to me, from this study, that neither the rich or poor really understood what caused them to be rich or poor. Neither group had any inkling that their financial success or financial failure was the result of their habits. Most were on autopilot, just doing the same things their parents did, or taught them, without realizing it. This presented a big problem in my mind because, since millions of people in America were poor, this meant many families would be forever stuck in a generational cycle of poverty and have no idea why. It also represented a revelation to me because it highlighted the real culprit for the wealth gap in our country – bad daily habits that are passed along from one generation to the next. It was a true epiphany for me.
I found in my research that the only way families were able to break out of poverty or the lower middle class was when parents were, for whatever reason, obsessed with mentoring their children to become successful in life. This obsession caused these parents to become aware of their own entrenched bad habits and motivated them to teach their children different, good habits. I discovered in my research that awareness of our habits is the key to changing them. When we mentor our children with good daily success habits and put up a stop sign anytime we see a bad habit in our children, we become success mentors to our children. I wrote Rich Kids (http://richhabits.net/rich-habits-books/) in order to help give parents the tools they need to become success mentors to their kids. Parents are often the only shot kids have at having a mentor in their lives. Parents raise children but parents who are success-mentors raise successful children.