Oct 16, 2018 | 4
Minute Read

How Can I Get Rich? 6 Things Self-Made Millionaires Have Done to Find Success

hundred dollar bills in wallet

Google “how can I get rich” and you’ll find 931,000,000 results. Apparently this question (and its potential answers) are top of mind for many.

Becoming a millionaire, or at least being independently wealthy, is often at the heart of many entrepreneurs’ visions. The thought of financial freedom and having the ability to live life on your terms can be the reason why these visionaries are willing to take the risks and put in the hard work necessary to reach their lofty goals. What makes a self-made millionaire different from the average person living paycheck-to-paycheck? Is there a secret recipe to becoming independently wealthy?

A recent article by Jeff Haden of Inc. Magazine was the inspiration behind this blog. In his article, he discusses habits that millionaires have in common that may reveal a roadmap for success for aspiring entrepreneurs. Haden’s point of reference is a book by Tom Corley entitled, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.

Corley interviewed 177 self-made millionaires to see if he could uncover any common threads that may provide a recipe for these millionaires’ overwhelming successes. Corley found some consistent themes that these many of these 177 employed that seemed to suggest there may be a road map for others to follow if they’d like to achieve similar successes.   

The roadmap to financial freedom

While there certainly may be others, six common threads seemed to be prevalent in many of the self-made millionaires. They:  

  • Surround themselves with successful people
  • Waste as little time as possible
  • Make time daily for focused thinking
  • Create good habits
  • Stay positive
  • Do what they love

Surround yourself with successful people

Like attracts like. When you are in the presence of others that have had success, inspiration happens. This is especially true when you surround yourself with people who have found success in the specific areas in which you also seek success. Great ideas begin to reveal themselves, and positive habits can be learned.

In many cases, successful people realize their good fortune and they want to give back. Many who have found success are often more than willing to share helpful tips and real-world examples of how they achieved their success. Sometimes all it takes is asking for help to receive the inspiration and direction you need to move light years ahead with your own vision.

The importance of good habits, vision and time

According to Corley, “Daily habits unconsciously control our lives. Our daily habits, as boring as they may be, are the secret to success, failure, or mediocrity. Our habitual behaviors, both physical and mental, and the choices we make, are the cause of wealth and poverty. The journey toward success always starts with a vision; a vision of the person you want to be and the life you want to have for yourself and your family.”

To become successful in life, it takes a concerted effort, laser-like focus, determination and the most important commodity of all, time. These driven individuals tend to waste as little time as possible, understanding the importance and value of time. They make every moment count. Additionally, they know what they want and are willing to do the things it takes to get there.

The underlying challenge comes in carving out time every single day for focused thinking. For million-dollar ideas to enter the mind, the mind has to be clear. It necessitates slowing down, blocking out the external world for a short period of time and letting the mind what it does best - create. Giving ourselves these mental-stimulation sessions daily allows the brain to produce the ideas that will lead to the success the person initially envisioned.

Corley explains, “Sixty-one percent of the self-made millionaires in my study engaged in something I call ‘dream setting’. Dream-setting involves scripting your ideal future life. In this process, you define your future life, the future you, by imagining all of your dreams coming true; then you put it to paper in five hundred to a thousand words. The future letter toggles on the reticular activating system (RAS) as well as the hippocampus. Once you turn on the RAS and the hippocampus, they go to work, behind the scenes, searching for ways to attract what you desire in your new, future life.”

Keeping a positive frame of mind

You can’t put a square peg in a round hole and it works the same way with the mind. You cannot welcome ideas of wealth and success if the mind is not in a good place. Everyone has “off” moments, but the key is getting back on track as quickly as possible and trying to keep a positive outlook a majority of the time.

Corley says, “Maintain a positive mental outlook: Long-term success is only possible when you have a positive mental outlook. Positivity was a hallmark of all the self-made millionaires. Forty-three percent believed they would one day be rich. Seventy-nine percent believed they were the cause of their circumstances in life.”

“Most of us are completely unaware of our thoughts. If you stop to listen to your thoughts, to be aware of them, you’d find most of them are negative. But you only realize you are having these negative thoughts when your force yourself to be aware of them. Awareness is the key.” Simply put, we need to take time to process what we are thinking about to ensure the thoughts remain positive.


Do what you love

When we do what we love, we do it with vigor. Our passion creates natural energy that propels us forward, let’s us navigate past detractors and do what it takes to succeed. Figuring out your passion then pursuing it with everything you have is the recipe needed to see that passion succeed.

“Pursue your passion: One of the common threads among all of the self-made millionaires in my study was a passion for what they did for a living,” said Corley. “They were among the fortunate few who found their calling in life. Every wealthy entrepreneur in my study who realized incredible wealth also had passion. Passion changes your beliefs about yourself. It infuses you with energy, persistence, focus, and patience. Each one of the wealthy entrepreneurs in my study had an intense desire to realize their dreams. They had a never-ending focus on achieving their dreams. They did not let obstacles get in their way. They believed in themselves. Their passion made miracles happen.”



So you want to be a millionaire? Are you willing to do what it takes to get there? Start by surrounding yourself with other successful people. Those who have found success have developed good habits that got them to where they wanted to go. You can do the same. Learn to make the most of your time, but no matter busy your day is, always find time for focused thinking. Whether that’s during a meditative period in the morning or an afternoon walk in the park, make that creative time an integral part of every day.

Throughout the day, take note of your thoughts. If the messages in your mind aren’t positive, change the channel. Think thoughts of things, people and places that make you happy and go to that place until you turn off the negative thoughts. Positivity creates energy and allows everything else to work to its optimal ability.

No matter what, if you plan to dedicate your life to doing something, make sure you do something you love. What’s the point of working in a field that doesn’t satisfy your heart and soul? Money can be made in any field; pursue an area that you love. When you do this you’ll slowly begin to build a life that you don’t need a vacation from and your energy and happiness will increase substantially.


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Dave Clark