Do rich people think differently from everyone else? It turns out the answer is yes. But the good news is that anyone can learn their mental habits. If you do, it will be good for your bank account and your career. You may even wind up wealthy yourself.
That's the result of research by certified financial planner Tom Corley, who spent three years interviewing 233 wealthy people and 128 poor ones to find out how their outlooks differed. The result is his book Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. The personal finance site GOBankingRates used Corley's book as a starting point to explore the habits that helped rich people get that way. You can find the full list here. These are some of the best:
1. They learn to keep their cool.
Corley found that the wealthy tend to be good at controlling their emotions in business situations. That makes sense. While having passion for what you do is important, getting swept up in your emotions can cause you to make the wrong decisions. Worse, it can hijack your prefrontal cortex, the logical, problem-solving portion of your brain. That's exactly the portion of your brain you need engaged when making business--and especially investment--decisions.
2. They make a to-do list every day.
If you're already following this simple but powerful habit (or a variant, such as the Pomodoro Technique), congratulations! You're definitely thinking like a rich person. Corley says that 81 percent of the wealthy people he interviewed make a daily to-do list, while only 19 percent of poor people do.
3. They take the time to work on their professional network.
Corley found that 79 percent of wealthy people spend at least five hours every month on professional networking, while only 16 percent of poor people do so. Networking is an important way to build a successful career, doubly so for an entrepreneur. It's well worth taking the time to expand your network. Your odds of success will rise--and you may well get to know some wealthy people yourself.
4. They watch TV for one hour or less every day.
Most of the wealthy people Corley interviewed--67 percent--said they watch TV for an hour a day or less. By contrast, 77 percent of the poor people he interviewed said they watch more than an hour of TV daily. It seems pretty clear that there's an inverse relationship between the hours you spend parked in front of the tube and your bank account. This is especially true, for some reason, when it comes to reality shows--wealthy people are particularly unlikely to watch them.
5. They make sure to take time off.
Think of the richest, most successful people you know. Do they work 18-hour days, or do they leave the office at a reasonable hour, and keep their weekends free of email and work-related phone calls? With the prominent exception of Elon Musk (who's running three companies at once), most wealthy people make sure to take the time off they need to be at their sharpest when they return to work. That's because they're smart enough to know that a career is a marathon, not a sprint, and that to be successful, you need to take enough time off to give your brain a chance to disengage from work so you can come back to it with fresh energy and a new perspective.
There you have it--these are all habits that differentiate rich people from poor people--and every one of them is something you should do too. Your health, your income--and your outlook on life--will be the better for it.