This is the one thing all billionaires have in common

It is admittedly, at least a little counter-intuitive to rigidly adopt the characteristics of the fiscal elite in an attempt to mimic their achievements. History has proven that success, of any kind, to be largely sympathetic to risks and more than a pinch of luck.

Nevertheless, there are certain reoccurring themes that marry the origin stories of the exceedingly wealthy that simply cannot be overlooked.

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Creativity and work ethic seem to appear the most frequently in the billionaire narrative. Innovation is the most powerful currency there is; an intuitive comprehension of an omnipresent problem facing society, and the determination to perfect a solution. As it relates to wealth accumulation, the aforementioned  ‘problem’ has many faces.  Wu Yajun, for instance, made a dramatic leap from poverty to billions via the founding of a successful real estate company in the early nineties, while JK Rowling did the same by tapping into a burgeoning literary trend. Ingenuity yokes both of these rags to riches tales. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk all flag similar circumstances. Imagination isn’t particular to eureka moments, sometimes all it takes is a relevant- informed contribution.

Perhaps the most dispiriting ingredient integral to successfully determining industry trends, belongs to ideations unexplainable,  i.e. gut feelings. I’m sure you’ve read a fair share of testimonials about the prophetic occurrences that spawn cultural revolutions: Einstein’s unique brand of clever curiosity birthing the theory of relativity or The Terminator occurring to James Cameron in a fever dream. Forgive the disparity of impact, but it is that unmistakable inner-hunch that energized these makers to see their concepts through prologues to the most culture-altering phenomenons.

When Modesto A. Maidique of The Harvard Business Review inquired of Carnival CEO Micky Arison exactly how he came to make the most important decisions of his career, he simply said that he “trusted his gut”-an answer echoed by a good may high ranking executives.

It’s an ambiguous answer, surely, but let’s not be too quick to call it mysticism. Correctly interpreting your instincts is a skill that resides in everyone’s reach. There are cultural and pharmaceutical norms that we all engage in, that effectively blunt our interception, but nothing can ever truly eradicate our evolutionary ability to determine which mammoth is worth hunting.

The Work

Recently, writer Anna Johnson penned a piece for Entrepreneur demarcating the traits of millionaires and billionaires. Johnson aims to speak to the qualities that enable able us to build on revenue in addition to maintaining it.

These qualities are segmented into five components, with luck being added as a sixth in the form of consideration. I’ll list them then summarize: Goal and commitment, scale, repetition, budget and self-control, and passion. These five factors bridge the virtues of motivation and sacrifice.

Johnson expounds with an anecdote involving a hypothetical start-up company.  If a major tech company offers the founder of said startup 15 million, “A typical entrepreneur might take the $15 million as a personal victory, ” a  future billionaire, on the other hand, expressing fidelity to their initial goals and aspirations, might reject the $15 million in the hopes of something better.

Being shrewd is also important. Johnson stresses, once millionaire status is achieved, future billionaires often make a point not to spend lavishly to match their new found wealth.

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