How Successful Entrepreneurs Survive Adversity

Rich Habits

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Eighty-two percent of the successful entrepreneurs in my Rich Habits Study, my millionaires, said they spent most of their entrepreneurial journey struggling with adversity. This ongoing battle often damaged their self-confidence and sometimes resulted in depression. They lacked confidence or became depressed because, despite their best efforts, they were unable to move the needle forward. Adversity never seemed to take a break.

So, what kept these self-made millionaires going?

Failure, Not an Option

Seventy-six percent of my millionaires came from poverty or the middle-class. They had mortgaged their homes and borrowed money from family and friends. The might have also had commercial loans and lines of credit from a bank. Debt is a unique motivator. It has a way of pushing you to do what in hindsight seems undoable. My millionaires literally had no choice but to succeed. They had put everything on the line in pursuit of a dream. When you have no choice but to succeed, you somehow find a way.

Great Support System

Many of the millionaires in my study had a great support system. They had people who truly believed in them. When things were not going well, their support system kicked in, motivating and encouraging them to keep on going. Self-made millionaires surround themselves with the right people.

Flashes of Success

Even though the pursuit of success for my millionaires was mostly swimming upstream, every now and then they flirted with success. A big opportunity came along and, for a time, they experience success. These success events, especially in the beginning, were usually short-lived. But they gave my millionaires hope. Hope that they were on the right path. These flashes of success helped to boost their self-confidence and renewed their belief in themselves. For a short while, they felt ten feet tall. Then, like that, they were back to swimming upstream. But the memory of that flash of success lingered in their subconscious mind. And that memory kept them going.

Deep Emotional Roots

My millionaires had invested so much blood, sweat and tears into their dreams. The emotional roots were very deep. Even if they wanted to quit, they were unable to because they were too emotionally invested in their dream.

Naysayers and Critics

Two of the most frustrating things everyone who pursues a dream experiences are the naysayers and the critics. People you know, people you thought liked you, will gossip and backtalk about you. They will say things that make your blood boil. My millionaires used these naysayers and critics as fuel. Say what you want, but revenge is a powerful fuel and my millionaires used that fuel to help them prove their naysayers and critics wrong. Naysayers and critics produce an eruption of relentless persistence.

Clarity of Destination

My millionaires had a clear vision of the finish line. They knew what their destination looked like. They created a detailed blueprint of what their lives would be like. And they focused on that vision every single day. Knowing where to put your magnifying glass allows you to focus your inner light.

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. DANNY ROYCE on May 7, 2024 at 7:20 AM

    Tom, 100% on target. Good times, AND not so good, I cannot see me going any other way. I learn from you and Robert, and others EVERY day. Thank you.

    • pwsadmin on May 7, 2024 at 9:45 AM

      Tks for your kind words, Danny

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