I once interviewed a dozen millionaires, one at a time, as a personal research project. Although I'd not call them very wealthy by modern standards. It was in the 70?s. They all agreed,
- The first million is the hardest. Why? Because it takes so much to get past the idea of it. Once you do, the next is easier.
- Who you hang out with is about more than just what they know. It's more about how they view the world and what they see as possible. It's not the knowledge they have, but the worlds they see that make them valuable. And sometimes, what makes them valuable does not add to the bottom line. It's not always about money.
- They could do it again if they lost it all. Some could even do it in other fields. One guy I knew had been rich and poor three times. I met him in the poor period, after his last bust, with just enough to live on. He had no fears he couldn't do it again. He made his first real money when his parents tried to teach him a lesson at age 10. They gave him $10,000 to invest in the stock market, sure he'd lose it all. He liked ice cream, so he invested in Friendly's (the famous ice cream chain) and made a killing. It just got better from there, but he was pretty smart with near-perfect memory.
- They don't care how much money you make. The main reason rich people don't hang out with poor people is because the poor people are so self-conscious about it. Or they are sucking up, trying to get something, overly worshiping. And that's just tiring to be around. They like to be around people who are comfortable in their own skins.
- They are keenly aware of the difference between good and great in any field, from accounting to coaching. And they have the ability to spot it without all the usual social cues, like advertising, referrals and credentials.
- There are jerks at every income level. Just because you have or lack money, that doesn't make you a good guy or a jerk. They are a little more forgiving of the fact that some folks are just greedy and self-centered, even if they do find ways around them.
- After your first few million, you have a choice to make. Work or retire? Now that you no longer need to work for a living, why are you doing it? It allows them to begin to see the game of finance, and the game of life. Once it becomes a game, it's a lot more fun.
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