There's a popular quote that goes something like, "People are like tea bags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water." It's a sentiment that's been tested. Dr. Randall Bell, author of "Me We Be Do: The Four Cornerstones of Success," has consulted as an economist on hundreds of disasters around the world, including Chernobyl, Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill and the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. After surveying more than 5,000 people in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, he and his research team have identified four factors that affect a person's ability to thrive, regardless of what life brings. Here are his words regarding the habits that separate high achievers from everyone else.

The Me Cornerstone

Taking quiet time every day is a powerful habit. When we look beyond the headlines and history books at the personal habits of great historical figures, we see a pattern of self-imposed solitude. It allows us to see the bigger picture. In practice, cultivating this habit means completely turning off all technology for part of each day. Here we can connect with the wisdom within us. Many great ideas come to us in the shower because of the solitude it provides. When we get up and jump right into our day, our brains generate only beta waves, which are associated with alert conscious thought. However, when we meditate, our brains switch to alpha waves, and this is where bursts of creative insights emerge.

The We Cornerstone

Success requires teamwork. High achievers actively cultivate authentic connections and engage in spontaneous acts of gratitude and kindness. This can mean surprising a friend with a phone call, or sending notes or thank-you cards. Our "Rich Habits Survey" showed that those who tend to smile and speak positively are 43.5 percent more likely to be happy, and they are up to 46 percent more likely to become millionaires.

The Do Cornerstone

The world belongs to the productive. Leo Fender, the founder of Fender Guitars, thought retirement was dull and literally worked in his laboratory to the day he died at the age of 81. High achievers have a strong work ethic. The Do cornerstone is where we put our ideas, vision, and connections into action, not just at the office but with managing our health and money. In the "Rich Habits Survey" a strong work ethic ranked as the number one habit that people were most proud of.

The Be Cornerstone

The Be cornerstone is where we progress and make our distinct mark. High achievers have clear goals and a sense of their place in history. Those who manage their time and who maintain both a calendar and a to-do list are 289.3 percent more likely to be millionaires. On a grander scale, this cornerstone includes maintaining a family history, mentoring the next generation, and developing a long-term vision.