Humility Makes Great Teachers


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Some people have it hard and some people have it easy.

Of the 233 millionaires in my Rich Habits study, fifty-six were raised in wealthy households and 177 were self-made (41% came from poverty and 59% from the middle-class). The differences in the habits, thinking and decision-making between those who inherited their wealth and those who created their own wealth was, in many instances, very significant.

One of the glaring things I discovered, was that the majority of those who inherited their wealth seemed much more arrogant. Because they were born into money, they took for granted their wealth and they took for granted their amazing life. I got the distinct impression that they felt superior to me and, I suppose, to many others in society who were not born rich. There was a hubris in the way they conducted themselves that seemed to ooze out of them in conversation. And it made me uncomfortable talking to them. I did not enjoy interviewing those millionaires. Plus, I did not learn as much from them as I thought I would. Arrogant people, I learned, make very poor teachers.

The self-made millionaires, on the other hand, were not only a joy to interview, they were a real-life education in what it takes to become successful. What I found most endearing was their humility. Unlike the inherited millionaires, the self-made’s were a humble lot. And I now know why. Success came hard for them. They suffered constant rejection, endured costly mistakes, overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles and nearly 1/3 of them suffered humiliating failures that almost destroyed their families. Their pursuit of success humbled them.

Despite their success, they remained humble. And they remained humble because they understood all too well that the difference between success and failure was often a very fine line. One separated only by persistence and a never quit on your dreams attitude.

I don’t think you can learn much from inherited millionaires. They don’t have the scars and battle wounds that often teach valuable lessons. The real teachers were the self-made millionaires. Their struggles humbled them and made them great teachers.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. I share the same sentiment. This is because there was not a “process” for these millionaires whom inherited their wealth. The mentality that you’ve so expertly observed and studied is cultivated over an extended period of time. These individuals will never have the opportunity to experience that.

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