What can we learn from the wealthy that will help us become successful in life? This is an important question because 80% of all of the affluent rose up from poverty or the middle-class. Somehow they were able to break out of their social class and become wealthy and successful. How did they do it? What secrets do they possess? What do they know that everyone else does not?
The answers to these questions are not simple. It took me five years of study to identify the habits, behaviors and choices that were the foundation upon which the previously poor or middle-class built their wealth empires. Let me share with you some of the strategies successful people learned either from their parents, a life mentor or from the school of hard knocks:
- Pursue a Dream – Dreams are powerful things. They motivate us to great achievements. 80% of the wealthy in my study were obsessed with pursuing one major, long-term goal. 55% spent a year or more in pursuit of a single goal.
- Focus, Persistence and Patience – These three traits were found in every wealthy person who was pursing a long-term goal. They simply never quit. Even if it meant complete failure and financial bankruptcy. They were obsessed with realizing their dream or major purpose in life. They sacrificed everything.
- Self-Education – The wealthy were master self-educators. 88% spent thirty minutes or more each day reading to learn. They read material related to: their dreams and goals, their careers, biographies of other successful people, self-help, history or general education. 85% read two or more books a month, month in and month out for most of their adult lives. They never stopped learning. They made self-education a daily habit. Many documented what they learned in writing or used this information to assist them in their own writing or in speaking engagements. Writing and speaking engagements seem to elevate their retention of the knowledge they gained from reading. 63% listened to audio-books during their commute to work or while exercising or working around the house. Thanks to today’s technology there is something called podcasting that is fast becoming the new audio book. You can download hundreds of thousands of podcasts on the Internet or iTunes. Some require a subscription but most are free.
- 80:20 Rule – Contrary to what you may believe, most of the wealthy did not make a great deal of money, but they did save a great deal of the money they earned. There are three ways to accumulate wealth: Live below your means (80:20 Rule – save 20% of what you earn and live off the remaining 80%), expand your means (start a business, side business, take on a second job, create something of value to be sold etc) and the last is to do both – live below your means and expand your means. This third way is the fastest route to wealth creation.
- Surround Yourself With Successful People – The affluent understand this secret to success: we are only as successful as those we associate with. If you want to be more successful in life you need to surround yourself with wealthy, successful people. You also need to minimize contact with those who are not successful. Successful people know many other successful people and these successful people can open the door of opportunity to you by simply opening up their contact data base. You can find these successful people on boards and committees of nonprofit organizations. This is why so many wealthy people volunteer for charitable organizations, civic groups or trade groups. It helps them expand their network of other successful people. If you are not rich, volunteer. If you are unemployed, volunteer. If you hate your job, volunteer. The new relationships you will create will open the door to unexpected opportunities. 72% of the wealthy volunteer five hours or more each month.
- Love Work – 93% of the wealthy in my study said they liked or loved what they did for a living, although this was not always the case. Many changed careers, changed jobs, or started their own businesses in order to find some way to make money doing something they were passionate about. You can pursue money-making hobbies or side businesses while working at a job you dislike. If you have a passion for this outside activity you will learn everything about it. In time, this outside activity will evolve and expand and allow you to pursue it full-time.
- Maintain an Open Mind – Because wealthy, successful people are voraciously reading and learning every day, they are open to new ideas and replacing old beliefs with new beliefs. Ideologies that once anchored their thinking, come crashing down. Those who are not rich, in my study, have limiting beliefs that make it virtually impossible for them to embrace new thinking, new knowledge, new possibilities and new ideas. This is precisely why the wealthy have very different beliefs from the non-wealthy. This is precisely why the wealthy think very differently from the non-wealthy. Their thinking and beliefs have evolved over time due to the daily habit of self-education.
- Listen – The wealthy are good listeners. They listen for five minutes for every minute they talk. It is a great way to learn more about their relationships and their lives. Some wealthy individuals even keep a small notepad with them to write things down about what they’ve learned from listening.
- Avoid Time Wasters – 67% of the wealthy watch less than one our of T.V. each day. 63% spend less than one hour a day on the Internet (recreationally). This frees up time to read, learn, volunteer and network.
- Creativity – 75% of the wealthy indicated that creativity is critical to success. Many of the ways the wealthy earn money is from creative pursuits. Creating something of value to society often results in obscene financial rewards. When we are engaged in creative pursuits we are at our most human state. Human beings were intended to create; to turn thoughts into reality.
Applying just one of these strategies is all it takes to lift yourself out of your current circumstances. If you want to change your life you have to change your habits, behaviors, thinking and the choices you made. Use these ten strategies as a template for your new life.