What separates the most successful and wealthy people from the average person isn’t natural talent. They don’t have some secret the rest of us don’t have access to, nor are they luckier than we are. In fact, there are specific fundamental core concepts that just about every ultra-successful or wealthy person has in common. (Yes, maintaining an excellent credit score is definitely one of them!)
It turns out, if you want to be well-off, it doesn’t matter where you came from, how much money your parents had, or what your present circumstances are. Maybe your credit score is 500 and you’re saddled with debt, but you set your mind to becoming debt free? Or, you’re a renter but want to buy a home because you’re tired of overpaying to make your landlord rich. It’s possible that your finances are well under control, but you’d like to build a better financial future for your family.
No matter what your version of “success” or “wealth” is, we all have to walk the same path to get there – which means incorporating these 50 habits to achieve success, wealth, and financial independence:
1. Pay off bad debt.
Successful people understand that paying interest is a great way to make someone else rich – and keep struggling, yourself. In fact, financially comfortable people always pay off credit cards, car loans, small installment loans as fast as they can, and don’t carry personal debt on a month-to-month basis. While they often pay off their mortgages as well, they distinguish between “good debt” and “bad debt.”
2. Plan for rainy days.
Financially aware people may take risks, but they definitely are pragmatic as well, planning and preparing for the unforeseen. They keep a good amount of savings, make sure they are well insured and protected, and generally minimize liability in every aspect of their lives.
3. Automate savings.
Whatever they earn, successful people break off a tiny piece and stash it, deducting it directly from each paycheck. This is what they mean by “pay yourself first,” as it gives them a solid foundation to invest and grow before they ever touch the rest of the funds for basics or play.
4. Invest young.
Even in their 20’s or sometimes their teens, these folks understand the compound principle of money. By putting money into 401k’s, Roth IRA’s and the like early, they benefit from returns and a windfall as they get closer to retirement.
5. Go the extra mile.
People who achieve big things in life invest extra effort, thought, and creativity into everything they do, no matter how big or small.
When you look at those who achieve excellence at anything from art to sports to neuroscience, the typical pattern is that that didn’t spend a ton of time partying or playing video games. Any classically trained musician will tell you that they didn’t attend a lot of social functions so that they could practice.
7. Log long hours.
Successful people got the hard work out of the way early, not looking for shortcuts or get-rich-quick schemes. By doing, they learned to refine their work, the way a swimmer refines their stroke to maximize the outcome and minimize the effort.
Instead of getting hung up on the minutiae of the process, they’re constantly focused on the target, asking questions like: how can I improve? What is lacking or holding me back? There is a built-in evaluation of every project they undertake.
People who accomplish great things in life are confident but not cocky, have a good sense of their own strengths and weaknesses, and have a high self-worth, while remaining humble.
Some of the most unlikely experiences give rise to the best ideas. Great thinkers get outside their bubble and open themselves up with a relentless curiosity about the world.
They have specific training, knowledge, skills, and talents. Instead of just being generalists, high achievers invest in the education or training to become the best at one single thing, while adding on to their core skill. For example, professional athletes train constantly, but they also educate themselves on nutrition, concentration, and responsiveness.
There is no substitute for reading and ultra-achievers read non-stop. Studies show that 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more every day (for education or career reasons – not romance novels!). Reading is part of that core skill set, no matter the discipline.
13. Organization and goal setting.
81% of wealthy and successful people scratch things off a daily To Do list compared to only 19% of working class people. Just the act of writing down goals is very powerful, allowing the mind to prioritize and receive a jolt of satisfaction from completing even simple tasks.
14. Wise use of time.
Successful people use their downtime to inspire their projects and explore other ways of thinking. Since time is our greatest asset, successful people don’t spend theirs on empty entertainment. In fact, 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day, while 23% of poor people do, and only 6% of wealthy watch reality TV shows vs. 78% of poor.
Setting tangible goals with concrete timetables and planning the action steps to achieve them is crucial to success. Being able to break down big goals into small digestible steps is key, along with a consistent reevaluation of their plan based on changing circumstances. If we don’t, then we aren’t experiencing progress and our projects quickly lose momentum.
16. Risk and a relationship to failure.
Failure is not the enemy of successful people – it’s a necessary instrument of growth. In fact, if they don’t go through enough failure in their lives, they understand they’re not taking enough risks.
17. Optimism bias.
Successful people don’t wait around for luck to bless them –create their own opportunities with hard work, smart planning, and confidence in their efforts. In fact, 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity instead of luck, while only 4% of poor believe the same. Furthermore, 76% of affluent people attribute negative outcomes to bad “luck” vs. only 9% of the poor.
People who own their actions good and bad, and exhibit accountability for their actions tend to draw quality people around them. They never try to pass the buck or dodge blame – this goes back to that self-awareness piece.
19. Flexible thinking.
Agility takes practice, but it’s a necessary skill. Successful people have firm values but flexible thinking, adjusting their sails depending on how the wind blows.
20. Create vs. consume.
Instead of just amassing and worshipping material things, successful people are marked by their contributions, whether it’s a new business, building a house, or forming a non-profit. Creation is one of the processes held in highest esteem by high achievers.
21. Presence of mind.
The key to success (and happiness) is to always be fully present in the moment. That goes for work as well as play.
Mega high achievers dare to dream about the unattainable…then they attain it! In fact, 80% of wealthy and successful people are focused on a singular goal – and never take their eye off the ball.
“Fall seven times, get up eight,” as the old saying goes. You hear great minds talk about setbacks and disappointments, but they understand that their success is earned by bouncing back.
24. Dissatisfaction with the status quo’.
It’s really about developing a vision rather than accepting mediocrity. Achievement is about reaching higher.
25. Singular focus.
Multi-tasking is a myth that amounts to “do everything badly.” The human brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time. Successful people know this and don’t try to juggle – work in immersed short bursts of concerted effort.
Look for part two coming soon with 25 more traits of wealth and success!