I spent five years researching the daily habits and lessons that self-made millionaires learned from their non-millionaire parents. I share all of these habits and lessons in my book Rich Kids (http://richhabits.net/rich-habits-books/) but thought I’d share with you ten of the most important ones:
Success Habit #1 – Continuous Self Education – 30 minutes a day of reading for self-education. This does not include school homework. Parents and their children can collaborate on the topics. Requiring your children to summarize, on one page, what they’ve read each week forces accountability. This will eventually become a habit that children will take with them into their adult lives and pass along to their own children, creating a generational cycle of succees.
Success Habit #2 – Daily Aerobic Exercise – 20 to 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise improves health and cognitive ability. Besides keeping you fit and healthy, aerobic exercise has been shown in many neurological studies to cause the birth of new neurons (brain cells) and keep existing brain cells healthy.
Success Habit #3 – The One Hour Rule – Limit the consumption of T.V., social media, video games and other time wasters to one hour a day. Children can use this additional time to read, exercise or play outdoors with their friends.
Success Habit #4 – The Rules of Etiquette – Below are the fundamental rules of etiquette parents should be teaching their children in order to prepare them for the adult world:
How to Communicate
- Look everyone in the eye for no more than 5 seconds at a time, then divert your glance for another 5 seconds. Practice will turn this into a habit.
- Not every thought that comes into your head should come out of your mouth. Vet your thoughts. Speaking your mind does not mean sharing every thought. Some thoughts are not appropriate and could cause irreparable damage to your relationships.
- Never criticize, condemn or complain about anyone to another relationship. It’s a giant red flag. People will assume that you are bad mouthing them and will try to stay away from forming any strong relationships with you.
- Never gossip. Most gossip is bad, negative and damages relationships.
- Gather as much information about your relationships as you can. At a minimum gather the following information: birthdays, hobbies, interests, schools attended, where they grew up, current family background (married? kids?), where they live, dreams or goals they are pursuing.
- Make Hello Calls, Happy Birthday Calls and Life Event Calls.
Believe it or not most people don’t know how to eat. Many grow up eating while they watch T.V. or sitting at a table in a fast food restaurant. In the adult world of the successful you need to know how to eat at social settings. Let’s go down the list:
- As soon as you sit in your chair take the napkin off the table and drape it over your lap.
- Never begin eating until everyone has their meal.
- Never chew with your mouth opened.
- Never talk while you’re chewing your food.
- Never dip any food you’re eating into a sauce everyone is using.
- Don’t wolf down your food. Eat at the same pace as everyone else at the table.
- Never hold a spoon, fork or knife with your fist.
- Outside fork is for salads, inside fork for the meal.
- Never make gestures while your utensils are in your hands.
- Never reach for anything like salt and pepper. Always ask someone to pass things like that.
- Don’t slouch at the table. Sit straight up.
- After the meal, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom and make sure you don’t have any food in your teeth. Carry a toothpick or something similar in your wallet or purse wherever you go.
You have to learn how to dress in life. There’s a certain way to dress for work, job interviews and formal or informal social events. Here’s a basic rundown:
- Work and Job Interviews – Some professions have special purpose clothing like construction, roadwork, electricians etc. If you work in an office, dress like your boss or your boss’s boss. In some offices its business casual, in others it’s a suit and tie for men. For woman its slacks, or skirts with open collars, heels or no heels are ok.
- Weddings, Wakes, Funerals – In most cases this will be suit and tie for men. For women it’s the same as work clothes but many women like to wear more formal gowns or a more stylish cocktail dress, usually worn with heels. Some cultures have special dress codes you need to be aware of.
- Formals – Usually formals are black tie optional, black tie or white tie for men. Optional usually means a dark suit, tie or black bow tie, dark shoes. Black tie means black tuxedo, dark shoes, white tie means black tailcoat, white wing-collar shirt, white bow tie, black shoes for men. For women it’s a long formal gown or short cocktail dress or dressy long skirt and top, usually worn with heels. White ties are very rare.
In life, you will be forced into situations where you will meet new people. This opportunity to develop valuable relationships is unfortunately a lost one for most people. Some of these relationships could be your next employer, future spouse, new best friend, future co-worker, investor or future business partner. There are 5 basic rules to making introductions:
- Firm Handshake.
- Make Eye Contact.
- 30 Second Elevator Pitch About Who You Are.
- Ask Questions About the Person You Just Introduced Yourself to – What do they do for a living, where did they go to school, are they married, do they have kids?
- Say Yes, Please and Thank You.
- Say “Excuse Me” when interrupting or entering a conversation.
- Don’t interrupt someone while they are talking.
- Don’t roll your eyes when someone says something you disagree with.
- Don’t look away when someone is talking to you.
- Never check your cell phone when talking to someone.
- Always stay positive and keep criticisms and negative comments to yourself.
- Compliment, compliment, compliment.
- Thank anyone hosting an event, dinner etc.
- Never curse or use inappropriate language during social events.
- Never be rude.
Success Habit # 5 – The 5:1 Rule – For every minute you talk, you must listen for five minutes. This teaches children the importance of listening and will eventually become a habit they will take with them into their adult lives. It also teaches children the importance of asking questions in order to learn more about others.
Success Habit # 6 – Helping Children Find Their Main Purpose in Life – I came up with a simple exercise to help parents help their children find their main purpose in life:
- In the first column, list everything that has ever made you happy in life.
- Highlight those happiness events that require some type of marketable skill.
- In the second column, assign a # to each highlighted happiness event with #1 being the happiest one and #2 the next happiest one etc.
- In the third column, assign a # to each happiness event with #1 being the greatest potential income, #2 the next highest income etc.
- In the fourth column total the numbers. The lowest numbers represent your optimal main purpose in life.
Allow your child to pursue each one of these main purposes from the exercise, six months at a time. The ones that create the most passion represent your child’s optimal main purpose in life. During this six month period your child will learn new skills, obtain new knowledge and help showcase abilities your children didn’t know they had.
Success Habit #7 – Helping Children Script Their Life Through Dreamsetting – This is another fun activity which allows children to use their imagination to create an ideal future life. Here’s how it works:
Take out a piece of paper and in 300 to 500 words have your children paint a picture, with those words, of the ideal life they desire in twenty years. Spare no details. Have them answer these questions:
- What do you do for a living?
- How much money do you make?
- Where do you live?
- What does your home look like?
- How do you spend your day?
- How much money do you have?
- Where and how often do you vacation?
- Who are the people you associate with?
- What new skills do you have?
- What goals have you accomplished?
It’s a fun exercise that will really engage their imagination and help them identify their wishes and dreams for the perfect life.
Success Habit #8 – Individual Responsibility – Children need to understand that they are individually responsible for their financial circumstances in life. Their thoughts, behaviors, habits and the choices they make will determine the life they lead. Children need to be taught that they are the creators of their life. They must avoid victim thinking and accept responsibility for their lives.
Success Habit #9 – Setting Goals – Children need to learn the importance of setting and pursuing goals. The Main Purpose exercise and the Twenty Year Letter will help your children identify the wishes and dreams they will built their goals around. Children should understand the difference between wish and a goal.
Success Habit #10 – Never Quit – Children need to learn that in order to succeed in life, in any endeavor, they must give it their all. Focus, persistence and patience are critical in overcoming obstacles, failures and mistakes that are always a part of realizing a big goal, main purpose or life dream.
Parents who teach their kids these 10 Success Habits set their kids up for success in all aspects of their lives. These habits represent a springboard for a happy and successful life.