Over the past year I’ve found myself on long drives in the car listening to a number of podcasts. Many I enjoyed involved interviews with interesting and successful people, and I noticed that many of these interviews, or the topics being discussed, are effectively self-help for successful people.
A lot of the most popular podcasters today are themselves quite wealthy; and their content is aimed at an “already successful” follower base. People like Tim Ferriss, Shane Parish, Ryan Holiday, Mark Manson, and James Clear would fall into this category along with some of the Joe Rogan motivational material.
There are many interesting themes I found that run through the advice given, such as to set a work schedule, to focus on the difficult things first, to write down lists of goals and affirmations, to focus on the things you can control and accept the things that you can’t ,and to be radically honest with yourself and the people you deal with. I’d love to hear what interesting or inspiring podcasts or YouTube channels you enjoy, so do let me know in the comments section.
Some of the advice relates to people going full circle. They started out working with a good job, but one in which they possibly have less control than they might like — where their time and work schedule is structured and defined by their employer. After going to great lengths to escape that framework, inspired by entrepreneurship or ideas around the early retirement, “FIRE” movement, they become more autonomous. Then they find a need to find discipline and build a new structure in their life that ensures they continue learning, maintain their health, and continue to strive to improve their lives, without having a boss pushing them forward.
It interests me the extent to which successful people focus on self-improvement, which made me wonder what other habits do wealthy and successful people have? It is worth noting upfront that just because the wealthy eat more caviar doesn’t mean that eating more caviar will make you wealthy. The old correlation — causality disclaimer.
In “Rich Habits”, author Thomas Corley reflects on these ideas after having studied “rich and poor” people for five years. I put together a list of thirteen habits of the self-made millionaires that he studied that I found most interesting.
1. Rich people read constantly, in particular, they read biographies of successful people, self-help or personal/career development books, and history books. 88 % of the self-made millionaires said that they devote thirty minutes or more each day to self-education or self-improvement reading.
2. Rich people don’t watch TV, and the screen time that they do have is spent on educational content. Only 6% of the self-made millionaires studied admitted to watching reality TV shows.
3. Rich people don’t buy lottery tickets. That’s not to say that they play it safe with their money though. “Most were business owners who put their own money on the table and took financial risks” They take smart financial risks and invest rather than gambling.
4. The Rich exercise and eat well. 76% of the self-made millionaires exercise for half an hour or more a day and 57% said they count calories every day.
5. They sleep well and get up early. 89% of the self-made millionaires reported sleeping seven or more hours a night, and almost half said they wake up at least three hours before the workday begins.
6. They tend to have multiple streams of income. 65% had at least three streams of income that they created prior to making their first million dollars. Examples of the additional streams are real-estate rentals, stock-market investments, and part-ownership in a side business.
7. Overwhelming positivity! “Long-term success is only possible when you have a positive mental outlook, according to Corley. He found that positivity was a hallmark of ALL the self-made millionaires he studied.
8. Good etiquette. They don’t use bad language, they dress appropriately for social occasions, they have good table manners and they acknowledge people by saying thank you.
9. The self-made millionaires studied tend to seek feedback. Often people don’t seek feedback for fear of being criticized, but feedback is essential to learning what is working and what is not. I thought this one was interesting, as when I interviewed Jack Schwager a few weeks ago on YouTube, we discussed how successful traders see losing trades as feedback rather than bad luck and use it to improve their trading going forward.
10. Self-made millionaires work longer hours than average. 86% of the rich people were found to work 50 hours or more per week, while 43% of other people do according to the book. 81% of the successful people also keep daily to do lists, while 19% of regular people do.
11. The rich tend to mostly be friends with other wealthy people and avoid spending time with negative or destructive people. They also tend to volunteer for charitable organizations and civic groups which they say allows them to surround themselves with good people. Of the millionaires studied, 72% volunteered for five hours or more per month.
12. They help others to succeed. Helping your friends and business associates succeed means that you are in a group of successful people. The people studied said that they don’t just help anyone though, they tend to help people who are already pursuing success, who are optimistic, goal-oriented, positive, and that they find uplifting.
13. Rich people set goals. The millionaires in the study were found to set annual and monthly goals. 67% of them actually write those goals down. While many people chase other people’s dreams — such as their parents’ — rich people define their own goals and pursue them relentlessly and passionately.
Maybe now is a good time to follow habit thirteen and write down a monthly and an annual goal. I’d love to hear some of your goals and ideas comments section.