What distinguishes millionaire business owners from the rest of us, apart from their wealth, is the habits they formed that helped them get to where they are. All of us have dreams, desires, wants, and we work hard to earn a living. But to quote from Justine Musk (Elon Musk’s ex-wife): “The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it.” It takes more than just working hard, having dreams, desires, and wants. Through a survey of millionaire business owners, we have come up with a list of overlooked habits by most of us.
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” – Tony Robbins
Our senses process a lot of information as we go through our day. They can go from the most important to the most mundane. But one of the most critical habits millionaires have is to think deeply and differently from the rest of society. I am starting this enumeration of overlooked habits because accurate thinking is the foundation of achievements. But what defines accurate thinking is being able to filter out what is valid and relevant from all the clutter that goes into your mind.
To do this, millionaires set aside a place and a time to do introspection. Sifting through all the rubble of matters that compete for our mind’s attention is a tall order. But there is a practical way of doing this. It is to ask yourself very pointed and detailed questions that address matters of extreme relevance. Getting the best answers requires the best possible questions.
Let us take an example. One respondent does this while doing his daily strolls. Instead of asking himself: “how should I earn more money” he asks himself a more detailed version of this question: “how should I gain more margin through improving the efficiency of my supply chain.” This way, he can get better quality answers from the second question than to answer the first question. The answer turned out to be adding more suppliers who will agree to commit to a set time of delivery. This way, he was able to cut down on inventory costs.
Changing Your Mindset
“It will never
rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.”
Most of us go through our workday working hard, expecting salaries later on as a fruit of our labor. But at a certain point, we will feel jaded and gorged because of our perceived lack of progress in our careers and our lives. Then we begin to think victimizing thoughts: “my boss doesn’t like me,” “my workmates are conspiring against me,” “my skills are not recognized,” and things beyond your control caused other things that are some other people’s fault or the problems.
What distinguishes millionaires from us is how they react to and process problems. Most of us see the fruits and complain about them. What millionaires do is look into the source of the issues and seek ways to solve them to prevent a similar problem in the future. This is a habit that can be formed even as workers. Trying to solve problems now through the things you control will somehow improve the future relative to the current situation.
Seeking More Knowledge
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”― Benjamin Franklin
One reason millionaires can keep acquiring and retaining wealth is their insatiable thirst for acquiring knowledge. Approximately 88% of wealthy people devote 30 minutes or more to self-improvement or self-education reading. They usually do not admit to being masters of their field. They refer to experts in their field and do not hesitate to go back to their mentors to check if they are practicing their craft the right way.
Another way millionaires manifest this desire to learn more is not to show themselves as the smartest person in the room. Many of us would sound like pedants around them after having read a book or watched authoritative videos. They know that having so much knowledge means gaining little else. This means that they may be the ones who asked the most (thoughtful) questions around other people.
Seeking and being open to feedback and criticism is another way millionaires seek knowledge. They know that certain things can’t be seen from the first-person point of view. They concede that criticism, whether good or bad, is a crucial element for learning and growth. Acquiring knowledge by any means possible is one way they can grow to the person they want to become.
Protecting their Health
“It is health that is real wealth. Not pieces of gold and silver”― Mahatma
76% of the rich do at least 30 minutes of some form of physical exercise. This could include, but is not limited to, jogging, walking, running, biking, or swimming. Such forms of exercise are not only good for the body, but it is also good for the brain. Moreover, the time taken by exercising can be an opportunity to think and do introspection (see item #1 above).
A healthy diet can also be helpful. Consuming nutrient-dense foods is beneficial to brain health. One successful industry leader, Richard Branson, starts his day with a bowl of high-fiber muesli with fruit salad. Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, has veggie pizza on whole-wheat bread as her favorite. Jim Rohn, the famous newscaster, consumes nutrient-filled smoothies to start his day.
Highly successful people such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and others admit to sleeping 7 hours a night. Although they welcome to sleep less when starting their companies, they advocate this length of sleep, citing that it helps provide them with a more productive workday. According to Jack Ma, “If I don’t sleep well, the problem will still be there. If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it”. They all recognize that sleep deprivation impacts cognitive function, which will affect decision-making, memory, and creativity.
Around 50% of self-made millionaires wake up 3 hours before their actual workday. Getting a head-start is one way to go around problems and tasks early to avoid disrupting the more productive times of the day. This way, they can have more time to take control of their lives.
Healthy habits such as exercising, taking in a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and waking up early are not just strategies to extend their lives. It is also a way to protect the memory of the knowledge they acquire.
Focus on Creating Value
“The secret to success is…is no secret. It’s called work your Ass off and find a way to add more value to people’s lives than anyone else does!”― Tony Robbins
You cannot become a millionaire just by being determined to put in the necessary work required. Even at extended hours, just doing the usual things will aspire for more of the same rewards. To take earnings to the next level, millionaires think of creating more value for their work. For instance, if you are good at writing, then try to be a master of it. Next is to master another skill, for example, being good with systems or engineering. Once you combine both, you can add more value to yourself and aspire for more than just staying at what you are accustomed to doing.
One way to put it is trying to find out how to leverage your time and work. To maximize the value, you need to find out what your market wants and needs. If you can use the combination of your talents, knowledge, time, and skills, focus on how to deliver to these wants and needs. Companies do this process from brand creation to sales. It can be reproduced on a personal level. So once a unique value proposition is presented to a market, there will be a great chance of getting more rewards.
They Hang Out With Other Successful People
“You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.”― Jim Rohn
Exposure to more competent people than we are, or more affluent than we are, can expand our thinking and catapult our income. We become who we are associated with. For example, athletes attract other people who are athletically inclined. Academics attract people who are as smart as they are, and so forth. This is because we learn from the people we are surrounding ourselves with.
Being around any set of friends allows opportunities for any of us to be criticized. But since millionaires are open to learning, and the quality of criticism is high, getting criticized by someone successful has an added value.
Another benefit of hanging around with other successful people has the chance to talk about their businesses. Business opportunities arise during conversations. There are fewer ways than two or more parties having potential mutual interests being involved in these conversations striking a good deal.
Lastly, close friends typically share common interests. This could count sharing the same charitable activities, or sports, or churchwork. This way, successful people develop or optimize their habits by taking on the practices of their inner circle.
They Never Quit
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”― Conrad Hilton
Not all millionaires have a perfect track record of success. Some of them have had businesses failed under them. Some might have failed in their first jobs. What is important to them is bouncing back from failure. What sets them apart is their persistence. They would instead go down with the ship than giving up the fight.
Citing from an earlier item about changing mindsets, millionaires possess a habit of thinking more in the long term. Failures, for them, are merely just setbacks that can be overcome. Once they have shaped a vision and a goal, they expect difficulties to arise. They are confident and firm in their execution of what needs to be done. In the best cases, they have a system to manage difficult situations to help them reach their goals.
They Have Multiple Sources of Income
“If you do not find a way to make money while you sleep, you work until you die.”― Warren Buffet
This is related to the other habits discussed. Having a solid mindset, thinking differently from the rest, seeking to create value, and being around other successful people make for fertile ground in producing opportunities to earn more from multiple sources.
Around 65% of millionaires have at least three sources of income. These may come from the salaries they draw from their businesses, stock market investments, real estate rentals, or investing in other companies by being partners.
Having multiple income streams allows them to be more flexible. This gives them the confidence to invest in other ventures without fearing one or more of their income-generating avenues getting constricted for some reason will then help them generate more wealth.