It can be tempting to imagine that all millionaires caught a lucky break or two along the way and that's why they achieved the success they have. Well, luck certainly played its part, but that's because most millionaires (or billionaires) aggressively created it.
What do I mean by that? The millionaires I talk to regularly or follow online make sure that their health, productivity, and all manner of other things are so solid that success flows through more naturally.
Let's take a page from their book and see what they're doing so you can learn to create your own luck too.
1. Put some portion of your money and time in you
We all love free stuff, but we tend to value it less than the things we pay a lot for. You value where you put your money. So, why skip investing in yourself?
Millionaires not only get this thinking, they apply it to their self-improvement. They know that they are the single best investment they can make in building a successful future for themselves.
Enroll in a class that helps you improve a skill set. Pay to get the certification you need to get that job you want. Learn another language. Spend every free night DJing at a local club to master your art like Dr. Dre did. Improve yourself outside of work skills to help improve yourself overall.
What you invest in helps determine whom you become, which in turn determines the quality of spouse, parent, or worker you are and even the level of happiness you'll have.
2. Consume smartly
You constantly consume time. The question is, are you doing that productively or not?
Using this asset to debate people on social media or binge watch an entire season of some TV show doesn't help you much.
If you want to become a millionaire, you've got to limit this type of activity and put more energy into tasks that build success and, yes, wealth.
Just as unhealthy food hurts you physically, poor media consumption harms you mentally.
Entertainment has its place, but how it contributes to your future determines its value. If sitting down to enjoy an absurd comedy helps you bond with your spouse, that's time well invested. If, on the other hand, you hardly say a word to each other or watch separate things, is that time as well spent?
To become a success, distill what you consume only to things that help you become better at work and life.
Every truly wealthy and wise person I know does some version of this. They understand the value of their time and they discern whether something truly brings them value or if it simply tickles some itch to consume.
3. Work to learn, not earn
If you're working, you might as well be learning along the way. This will help you improve yourself constantly, and open up new opportunities for success or money. Sensing a theme? Good, because that's what millionaires do.
Most people trapped in working just to earn money find themselves disgruntled and unsatisfied. I'm reminded of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Here's a character whose every decision revolved around making money. By the time we encounter him, he's living a sad, angry life filled with health problems.
His story still resonates today because so many of us are still working just for money, and not to learn or expand our experience.
To avoid ending up like Scrooge, create a life that you are inspired and happy to live. That means working to learn, not just to earn.
Therefore, devote time to learning new skills as well as to getting rest. Contemplate what you need to do so you spend only a portion of your time on actual work.
As your talent and productivity improve, this becomes more realistic. You may be able to achieve more in less time. Your work may begin to stand out, and soon you're the one everyone pays top dollar to get the job done.
4. Focus on results, not working a lot
Too often, we fall into a trap called the "time-and-effort economy." Dan Sullivan of the leadership firm Strategic Coach coined this, and it refers to the factory work of the past 200 years. It claims that time equals productivity. It rarely distinguishes quality from quantity. Anyone can do your job. You're just a cog in a machine who gets paid for number of hours worked.
In our modern age, this breeds a world where busy work reigns supreme and the appearance of working equals success.
The millionaires, or just smart-minded entrepreneurs I've talked to, don't live in that world. For them, results matter, not how busy you look. They don't focus on how little they can do to get paid. They focus on how much useful work they can cram into the short time they have.
Creating luck is about using time wisely. But it's more than that. It's about cultivating a mindset where more than just the hard work matters. It's about what your working hard on -- and that doesn't have to be something you don't like. It can be something that makes you happy or even calm, which will make the rest of your life more manageable. And that may bring more success than anything else you do all day.