1. Spend More Time Learning & Creating Than Watching TV
How much money you earn is generally determined by how much you’ve learned. As Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams once said, “Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” The more you learn, the more you generally earn.
I like watching TV. My wife and I love watching shows together. TV isn’t bad.
The problem is, most people spend more time watching TV and distracting themselves than they spend on learning, creating, and growing. The result is generally less income and less opportunity.
In the 1970’s, the famed black politician Jesse Jackson was famous for his constant encouragement towards African Americans in America to stop watching so much TV and spend their time on self-improvement. “Nobody, but nobody,” he’d yell on TV, “is too poor to turn off the TV two hours a night!” In her autobiography, Michelle Obama recalled how Jackson would even encourage school kids to sign pledges to turn off the TV and do homework instead. He encouraged parents to get involved. Jackson knew how powerful learning was — and how destructive unregulated TV and entertainment were.
If you focus on learning and growing, you’ll start to build powerful momentum that, if continued, will provide you with enough motivation to achieve just about any goal. Find the price of success, then pay it.
You’ll become consistent. You’ll stop wasting so much time. You’ll stop worrying about how you’re not doing anything with your life, because you’ll actually be doing incredible things in your life.
One of my favorite quotes is by best-selling author Hal Elrod. He wrote:
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”
If you spend more time learning and creating and instead of watching TV, you’ll probably end up rich — not just with money, but with opportunities, health, and relationships, too. Success in one area positively affects every other area.
2. Read Every Day
I’ve read several articles by writers who claim to have read anywhere from 100–200 books a year. That seems like a lot to me.
I read 52 books last year, and imagining reading 4x as much seems crazy to me. We don’t all have the luxury to read that much, all the time.
But we do have the choice to make time to read every day. Even if it’s just a little bit. And you don’t have to read Shakespeare or A Brief History of Time or Socrates or any of the books you’re told you “should” read — read books that make you like reading. As best-selling author James Altucher once wrote:
“Only read books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human.”
There has always been a correlation with literacy (especially financial literacy, which I’ll get to a minute) and wealth. Generally, the more you read, the more you earn.
If you read a lot — every day, or at least most days — you’ll find yourself thinking of new ideas, considering new ways to do things. You’ll see things from other people’s points of view, and you can use that knowledge to connect with people more. You’ll start to see patterns in the world you never noticed before.
These connections breed opportunities through relationships and knowledge. If you can relate to someone better, they’ll naturally be more inclined to relate with you, hear your story, and perhaps even help you out. You’ll learn proper social behaviors that tend to attract more success, and stop doing things that historically aren’t good for your chances. It’s amazing what you learn when you read a lot.
I’ve gotten the most from autobiographies. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned:
- I learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger that you can still operate and function decently even if you didn’t sleep well the night before.
- I learned from Michelle Obama that it’s usually harder to succeed at “normal” goals if you’re black, a woman, or a minority — but you can still succeed anyway.
- I learned from Steve Martin that it could take years of practice and failing before you finally learn how to do something right. If you practice long enough, perhaps you can become the best in the world.
- I learned from Tina Fey that sexism in the workplace is an enormous barrier for many women, and perhaps I should consider that factor more when I think about workplace success.
Try to read every day. Try to learn something new every day. That reading will begin to translate into more sophisticated social behaviors, empathy, knowledge, and guidance you otherwise might not never have known. More money is a natural consequence of gathering this knowledge.
3. Learn How Money Works
In his landmark book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki wrote a sentence that has stuck with me for all the years since I read it:
“Rich people are rich because they are simply more literate in more financial areas than others.”
Money is really complicated — but it’s also damn simple. After reading the 7 most popular finance books of all time, I learned that most of the money-making strategies that work are some form of the same principle.
The truth is, the recipe for building wealth has been the same for thousands of years. Learn how money works, and you’ll start to attract it.
When you read a lot about money, you’ll see this come to life.
One of the biggest problems people have with money is that they don’t really understand it. Other than vague, unhelpful clichés like “diversify your portfolio” and “pay off your credit card each month,” most people don’t really understand money. They’re either scared of it so they spend it all, or scared of it and hoard it all. Neither is a good way to live.
There is a ton of free, accurate, simple content out there about money. You don’t have an excuse. If you’re stuck, I recommend George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon, possibly one of the smartest, simplest books about money there is.
If you don’t know how money works, you’ll be doomed to always have less money than you want. Money makes the world go ‘round, as they say. You should probably learn how it works.
4. Do the Hard Work Today So You Can Relax Later
My life changed during a financial seminar when financial guru Dave Ramsey said the following words:
“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.”
Delayed gratification is rare. Frankly, most people would rather have $100 now than $1,000 later. It’s another great, unfortunate truth of life that can make you rich if you take advantage of it.
But if you can train yourself to be someone who sacrifices today so they can have a better tomorrow…then you’ll probably end up rich.
It’s simple, and really boils down to compound interest. A penny that doubles in value today isn’t worth much, or even in a few weeks. But a month later, that untouched penny will evolve into millions of dollars.
Be someone who sacrifices today for the better life later.
It takes discipline. It’s hard to sacrifice when your friends and family are living it up today, this weekend, right now. FOMO is real, and it’s really hard to resist.
But you can do incredible things if you live like no one else around you is today.
Years ago, my wife and I were in debt. (Well, we were in my debt. I had a lot of student loans, and she was stuck with me.) But we went hard on those loans. We started putting away every spare dollar we could each paycheck. Our friends were traveling, partying, going out, buying cars and houses and dogs. I was driving my father-in-law’s spare minivan. We were eating two-dollar-bag-of-lettuce-salads every day for lunch.
I hated those salads.
But in a few short years, we became 100% debt-free — something most of my friends still aren’t even close to achieving. We moved to South Korea for a year to teach english and visited 12 countries in 15 months. We have a retirement fund that grows every day.
Live like no one else around you is living right now…
And later, you’ll be able to have the life no one else around you can afford to have.
Do the hard work now so you can relax later.
5. Create Multiple Streams of Income
Most people are not financially independent — they have credit card debt, student loans, a mortgage, car payments, and countless other bills that prevent them some spending their money they way they want to.
The majority of people aren’t wealthy. Most people are broke, in debt, and have poor financial behaviors. Most people overspend, don’t save, don’t invest, and don’t develop their financial intelligence.
Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits, studied the habits of millionaires during a five-year study of the rich and poor. Here’s what he found as it pertains to most self-made millionaires and their income streams:
- 65% of self-made millionaires had three streams of income.
- 45% of self-made millionaires had four streams of income.
- 29% of self-made millionaires had five or more streams of income.
If you focus on building multiple streams of income (which in itself will require enormous learning and knowledge), you’ll probably end up rich.
George S. Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon explains that every “gold coin” (or dollar) is like a worker. That worker has the ability to magically produce more workers, if you know how. One worker/dollar could potentially develop hundreds of more “workers” for you.
Every dollar is like a little seed that can grow and sprout more dollars. This is the essence of having “money work for you.”
It’s nearly impossible to “get rich” by working in a money-for-hours-worked model. The average salary in America is $56,516 dollars/year. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a lot — it’s pretty small, actually. And that’s from working about 40 hours a week, all year, every year, for a long time, with very little vacation time. It’s not a great system.
Instead, focus on building wealth through multiple income streams. Make money while you sleep. Make money that doesn’t require you to clock in and clock out every day. Then, build on that. Read. Read more. Learn about different strategies.
Build multiple income streams, and you’ll probably end up rich.
The recipe for building massive wealth has been the same for hundreds and thousands of years.
Wealth is a mindset. Don’t follow traditional advice — it’s usually not helpful. Make your money work for you. Keep going, even if it gets boring. Work to own, and never stop investing in your education.
Following these fundamentals won’t guarantee wealth. But these are the same principles preached in nearly every important finance book.
If you want to build massive wealth, you’d do well to practice them carefully.
This article first appeared on Medium.
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This article originally appeared on Medium.