17 Traits of Millionaires…How Do You Stack Up?

It’s a common theme to telling us how to get rich. An author just studies rich people, discovers their primary habits, find those that many of them share, and then passes that on to us.

Norman Vincent Peale did it before writing “The Power of Positive Thinking” in 1952. Napoleon Hill did it for “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937. And countless authors including Tony Robbins have done it since.

So, while some would argue that the approach may be a shortcut for authors to create best-selling books, there’s nothing really wrong with that if their research is honest.

Thus comes Thomas C. Corley who spent five years studying millionaires and gathered his insights into multiple books, including “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.”

While 17 habits is a bit long for a single blog post, I’ll only elaborate on those that I have seen so many times (and benefited from myself) and then simply list the others in case you want to pursue them in Corley’s writings.

1 They read consistently. This one really is universal and if you find that you’re reading of serious books has fallen off over the years, get it back on track. I recently mentioned on the book Principles by Ray Dalio, the billionaire hedge fund manager of Bridgewater Associates. It’s a 550-page fairly dense read about goal setting and creating a written set of rules (principles) to run your life by. It would be a great and rigorous read if you want to jump back into this pond.

The beauty of books is they force us to focus on the topic at hand, yet even so, it’s often ideas from the blue that strike us while reading. These ideas can be life-changing! Why not make 150 pages a week a bare minimum for reading books?

(By the way, the great new Netflix documentary, “Inside Bill’s Brain” about Bill Gates reminds us that Gates is and always has a been a voracious reader. On his famous “think weeks,” where he goes alone to a cabin, he has been known to read 20 or more books plus countless papers.)

2 They exercise. I admit, after being a fitness buff (and All-American athlete in college) this one is becoming harder and harder for me. It’s not because I have any physical problems, it’s just because I have come to find exercise boring! I’m working to change that with long walks (and great audio books), an underwater iPod for long swims, and of course a treadmill in front of a TV. It’s still challenging, so just as I am trying to do, I urge you to get in the habit of at least 40 minutes, 4 times a week. (A famous triathlete says that even 20 minutes a day will ensure that you don’t go backwards.)

3 They hang out with other successful people. You’ve heard this countless times, but it only makes sense that you’ll find more motivation for your own goals if successful people are urging you on, than if negative people are tearing you down.

4 They volunteer. Of the millionaires Corley studied, 72% volunteered five hours or more every month. This is not to be confused with giving money to charity, which the famous book, “The Millionaire Next Door” found that few actually do.

5 They sleep! Successful people get plenty of sleep, at least seven hours a night and often eight or even nine. And most are early risers. I’ve sure got this one down as I hit the sack at about 9:30 p.m. and am driving through Starbucks the next morning no later than 6:30 a.m.

Here are the remaining shared traits for your to consider and to compare against your own lifestyle.

6 They practice “dream setting,” or scripting and visualizing their future life.

7 They pursue their own goals. (Not, for example, that of their parents or a spouse.)

8 They get up early. (I’ve already mentioned this.)

9 They have multiple sources of income. (Such as real estate rentals, stock investments, partnerships in other businesses.)

10 They find and check in with mentors. (Groups for Edge members are forming to serve this role.)

11 They help others succeed. (Giving back.)

12 They’re positive.

13 They don’t follow the herd.

14 They practice good etiquette. (Like sending thank-you notes.)

15 They dedicate 15-30 minutes a day to just thinking. (I would also add journaling. Warren Buffet is famous for saying he likes to read and think for at least 4 hours a day. His weekly calendar that contains his meetings and commitments to others is often blank!)

16 They seek feedback. Ray Dalio, the aforementioned hedge fund billionaire and author of “Principles,” tells us not to say “I know this is right,” but to ask, “How do I know this is right?” To answer that, he seeks every possible opinion and point of feedback, especially those he knows will be negative. Then he decides.

17 They never give up. You knew that was coming because neither do you. No entrepreneur ever gives up as perseverance is perhaps the single most important trait.

So, how do you fare? Why not pick one of these to work on this week on your path to becoming a millionaire…or if you’re already there, a multi-millionaire?

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