Here's one of the most common and understandable questions many of us ask ourselves: "How do I get rich?"
You've heard it before, right? But there's a catch.
Being an entrepreneur doesn't just mean starting and running a company. More than that, it means grabbing hold of a mindset, and cultivating the right kinds of life habits. With that in mind, here are the most important of these habits--things that people who are destined ultimately to become wealthy train themselves to do ahead of time.
Bonus content: 9 Things Great Leaders Say Every Day (free infographic)
1. They make conscious choices.
This is the most important point. The future wealthy don't just believe in themselves, or that they have the right to make their own choices. In addition, they believe they have the power to control what those choices even are.
My best effort at summarizing this in practical terms comes from the words I wrote for Breakthrough Entrepreneurship, a book I co-authored with Jon Burgstone:
Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action.
You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option, and try to make it fit.
Or you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.
Future wealthy people choose the latter course, every time. They recast situations over and over if necessary, until they control the array of available choices.
2. They do the math.
We count money. We use numbers. Most people who accumulate large amounts of money pay close attention to the calculations.
It's so obvious. Yet, if you've ever left a credit card bill or bank statement unopened because you were afraid of what's inside, you're making the wrong choices here.
It's not just personal finances, either. Small differences in mathematical computations can make a gigantic difference at scale. If you don't crunch the numbers maniacally, however, you'll never know.
At the same time, future wealthy people cut their expenses. Your money is always working for someone. If you're consuming, it's working for someone else.
3. They find stuff that's fun.
Everybody and his annoying uncle will tell you that there's no shortcut for hard work. That's true, sort of--but it doesn't mean that work has to be drudgery.
The future wealthy understand that unless they find enjoyment in what they do, they're probably not going to want to do very much of it--and they're not going to be as good at it as other people are.
Besides, your most important resource in this world isn't money, it's time. So find ways to spend your days doing things you actually like doing--then you're more likely to work hard at them, and accumulate greater wealth in the process.
4. They solve problems.
Do you know why so many successful businesses claim to put the customer first?
It's not just marketing; it's self-interest. When you put your customers first, you find out what they truly want and need. That puts you on the road to being able to find it and sell it to them.
The same idea applies to human relationships. The future wealthy understand that there's nothing wrong with seeking advantages at the same time that you help other people.
Of course, you don't want to be off-putting, but making a habit of helping others solve problems means you'll both gain important insights and accumulate a wealth of people who are eager to help you in return.
5. They find examples to follow.
The future wealthy understand that there is almost never any reason to reinvent the wheel. No matter the goal, chances are somebody else has already done it--or at least accomplished pieces of it.
Why not study that person's example and follow it?
And if you can't find mentorship with a living human being, look to history. Even if your eyes are set on something unprecedented, you are guaranteed to be able to find at least some analogous examples of similar successes in history.
6. They have guts.
Fortune favors the bold. The future wealthy are willing to take action and to defy convention. They certainly don't follow the path that their parents told them about, and they don't allow themselves to be trapped by their own success.
If you've ever heard the phrase "golden handcuffs," you'll know what I mean.
Note, however, that this doesn't mean they're reckless. There is a crazy notion that entrepreneurs and the wealthy are big risk-takers. They're not, at least not the good ones. Instead, they're risk-calculators. They understand that literally every choice entails balancing risk--and that sometimes doing nothing is the riskiest option of all.
7. They diversify.
Everybody fails sometimes. The future wealthy understand this, which is why they never put all their eggs into a single basket. They try to have several things going at once--whether it's with their investment portfolios or their careers.
A caveat here: I don't mean that they lack focus. In fact, the future wealthy usually have incredible focus. However, they hedge their bets ever so slightly, whether that means cultivating their networks and looking for additional opportunities, even when things seem to be going great--or even launching a full-blown side business or second (or third) source of income.