A Fish Rots From the Head Down

Rich Habits

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There’s an old saying: A Fish Rots From the Head Down

In other words, long-term poverty begins and ends in the mind.

According to my Rich Habits Study, most of the rich (76%) are born into either poverty or the middle-class. According to the 2016 Wealth X Census, 75% of the rich are born into either poverty or the middle-class.

It’s what happens after childhood that determines whether or not you will be poor, stuck in the middle-class or rich and successful.

The path towards wealth always begins in the same place – the mind.

Those who rise up from poverty or the middle-class have one thing in common – they change their thinking and their changed thinking changes who they are.

They do this a number of ways:

  • Associate with other, success-minded people who, like a virus, infect them with their upbeat, positive, success-thinking.
  • Find success mentors in life. who inspire/guide them to grow and improve into the person they need to be in order to become successful.
  • Read books of other successful people who rose from poverty or the middle-class.
  • Read books, articles, blogs or listen to TEDx talks or podcasts that inspire them or help them grow in knowledge and wisdom.
  • Surround themselves with experts who wisely council them.
  • Find partners who share their dream/vision and can help them pull the same cart.
  • Avoid or disassociate themselves from negative, toxic people.

Success is a process. That process always starts in the same place – the mind.

If you want to succeed in life, you must change the way you think. You must become upbeat, positive and optimistic about life. You also must increase your knowledge or gain/improve your skills.

These things require an investment – an investment in yourself. One of the best investments you can make in yourself is forging relationships with other success-minded people, finding success-mentors or by seeking to gain knowledge/skills you don’t currently possess.

Make investing in yourself a daily habit and surround yourself with individuals who share this desire to grow, improve and succeed.

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, Effort-Less Wealth, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, Rich Habits Poor Habits and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”



  1. Randy Todhunter on December 20, 2023 at 8:53 AM

    Excellent advice! Thanks for that reminder to invest in yourself.

    • Sam Shober on December 21, 2023 at 7:25 AM

      Very good. Thank you.