Category Archives: Mark Ford

Wake Up and Get Off the ‘Someday Island’

 


Wake Up and Get Off the ‘Someday Island’

By Matt Mayberry @MaTt_MaYbErRy

There are plenty of differences between high achievers and everyone else, but I think there is one that really solidifies the gap between the two. That one difference is that high achievers don’t live on the “Someday Island.” They are living on the “Now Island” and are fully creating their own circumstances in life rather than going along with what has been presented to them.

It’s disheartening when I meet men and women from all different walks of life and of wide ages who have already died inside, but just haven’t made it official yet. To hear them talking about their glory days 10 and 20 years ago while having no new hope or dreams for the future is totally depressing. The reason why it’s so depressing is because that same person has the power and ability to live their best life right this moment — now — and totally redirect where his or her life is headed.

The major reason why this becomes the point of quiet desperation for many people is because of their habit of putting important things off and living in a world of “somedays.” If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. The next time you are having a conversation with a family member or close friend, ask them what they want out of his or her life. I can almost guarantee you that his or her response will be, “Someday, I want to lose 20 pounds and have that dream body I always wanted,” or, “I would love to someday be in business for myself and become the entrepreneur that I’ve always envisioned.”

What has happened is that living on the “Someday Island” is the new norm for many people. If you aren’t living the life that you wholeheartedly love and desire, you can change it. Don’t shut off your ability to hope and dream about the future. Right this moment can be a new beginning for you. Think about it. What would you love to do? What is your lifelong dream?

Get off the “Someday Island” and put that new idea into action for yourself. Start that business that you have been contemplating for the past 20 years. Start working and developing that new course or product that your organization has wanted to roll out into the marketplace. Start being the leader that you always wanted to be.

The fact is that you have very little to lose by going after what you desire compared to letting those same passionate things die inside of you and never unleashing them out into the world.

At the end of your life, you will ask yourself if you truly lived a purpose-driven life. Whatever that “thing” may be for you, get off the “Someday Island.” Position yourself on the “Now Island” and get busy. Your life is worth way more than living in the past or ruminating over broken dreams and wishes. It doesn’t matter if you are 25 years old or 75 years old, you have a magnificent and wonderful life ahead of you now.

One of the best decisions you can make in both your personal and professional lives is to get in the habit of living now, taking massive action and going after what you deeply desire, full steam ahead.

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How to Remove the Financial Industry’s Horse Blinders

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” — Albert Einstein

How to Remove the Financial Industry’s Horse Blinders

By Mark Ford

I am not an investment professional. I have never made any money managing other people’s money. I went from rags to riches the old-fashioned way: by working hard and then investing my income as carefully as I could.

Because I’d done well on my own, I never considered seeking financial advice. Then a funny thing happened. I woke up one day with the thought that I should have a “professional” manage some of my money.

I interviewed two firms. One was a boutique business based in New York City that a friend recommended. The other was a private banking facility for one of the world’s largest brokerages.

The boutique firm was happy to take $100,000 of my money to get started. The other company wanted a minimum of $10 million. They both had fancy offices and pretty marketing brochures. But such frills scare me. They make me think, “Gee, these guys must be charging their customers a lot to afford all this stuff.”

My trepidations notwithstanding, I worked with both of them for about six months. I answered their questions about my tolerance for risk (little to none). I listened to their presentations. And then I did something that I bet few of their clients ever do.

I started asking them questions. And I kept pushing them to explain why I should believe that they could help me become wealthier.

What I got instead was clever circumlocution. A financially sophisticated version of what you’d expect from your teenage son if you pestered him about why he didn’t come home until four in the morning.

Those discussions convinced me that these guys could not manage my money better than I had been managing it.

To be fair, they certainly knew more about investment products than I did. But they didn’t know more about how to become wealthy.

These guys were smart. They had graduate degrees from great schools. They spoke eloquently. They seemed so… so… inside the game. I wanted them to be better than me. I really did.

But they really didn’t seem to care whether their services would make me richer or poorer. The contracts they wanted me to sign were going to put money in their pockets regardless. That didn’t feel right.

In the end, I told both of my elite financial planners to take a hike. And I went back to managing my money myself.

Seeing Only 20% of the Big Picture

The investment advisory industry is a huge, multibillion-dollar business based on hard work, clever thinking and sophisticated algorithms. But also on one teensy-weensy lie.

The lie is that you can grow wealthy investing in stocks and bonds.

It’s not a big, black lie. But the unfortunate truth is the financial establishment rarely looks beyond stocks and bonds. And if you think about it, why would it want to? It makes its money by ushering you from one “hot” stock or “amazing” fund to the next.

Wall Street wants you to think the stock (and sometimes the bond) markets are the only places you can make money. And because they know that you have heard that “diversification of assets” is good, they give you the illusion of diversification by having your stock portfolio invested in businesses that are “diversified” into manufacturing, retail, global trade, natural resources, etc.

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This is, as I said, an illusion. At the end of the day, it’s all invested in stocks or stock derivatives. The result? More risk and less potential wealth gain for you.

So start by deconstructing the little lie.

Building wealth involves much more than just investing in stocks and bonds. Most rich people get that way by consistently doing the following nine things:

  1. Giving top priority to increasing their net investible income, not to maximizing returns

  2. Spending less as a percentage of net income as it grows so they can save more

  3. Understanding debt and using it occasionally and strategically to build wealth

  4. Investing in stocks and bonds with discipline — i.e., without expecting to get returns that are much higher than market averages

  5. Insuring themselves against “black swan” events, but not investing with the hope of profiting from them

  6. Owning tangible, portable and non-reportable assets as a reserve that can be tapped into at opportune moments

  7. Investing in safe real estate — i.e., income-producing properties

  8. Investing directly in private enterprises and other “outside Wall Street” opportunities

  9. Keeping a substantial store of cash to be used when “cash becomes king.”

As you can see, investing in stocks and bonds is only one of nine strategies you must follow to become rich, but that was the only one the two money management firms I tried cared about.

How to Ensure Financial Growth and Security

So if you can’t reasonably expect to get rich with just stocks and bonds, what can you do?

You can model your investing behavior on the behaviors that have been proven, time and time again, to actually work.

I’m talking about asset allocation.

Asset allocation is the process by which you spread your wealth across different sorts of investments.

You might think that something so dull as asset allocation could not possibly be that important in acquiring wealth, but numerous studies have shown that it may be the most important factor. (These studies can be found here.)

Because of an early financial disaster, I became an emotionally compulsive diversifier of practically every dollar I could save, putting some of it in bonds, some in stocks, some in cash, some in real estate and so on.

Over the years, I have made hundreds of individual financial decisions — buy this, sell that. Some of them were quite good, a few of them were quite bad, and most of them were in between. And yet, overall, my net worth has increased considerably and consistently, without any down years, for more than 30 years.

I could see very clearly that particular buy/sell decisions did not account for this good fortune. It was the general decisions about asset allocation that paid off.

Since I discovered this, I have been telling my readers about my own asset allocation decisions every year. Not because I think my portfolio is the best possible exemplum of diversification, but just to illustrate my belief that one needs to go well beyond some combination of stocks, bonds and cash to win at the wealth-building game.

Editor’s Note: As you may already know, Mark Ford was the creator of Early to Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes his Creating Wealth newsletter.

For the last six months, Mark’s been working on a special project only a few of his employees know about. It’s the culmination of his 35 years of experience in building wealth for himself and his protégés. And he’s about to reveal it to select readers…

He’ll show you exactly what you need to do to create more wealth. You’ll learn every detail, shortcut, and “loophole” he’s discovered. And you won’t have to quit your job, go into debt, or take any crazy risks. Mark’s even discovered a way you can make an extra $20,000 to $100,000 this year…

Click here to add your name to the “preview” list. You’ll also get exclusive wealth-building content — 100% FREE.

How to Grow Your Wealth for Decades Without a Single Losing Year

“Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.” — Jim Rohn

How to Grow Your Wealth for Decades Without a Single Losing Year

By Mark Ford

Maybe I’m lucky. Or maybe it’s just common sense.

I’ve been involved in the investment advisory business for 30 years. And except for a few early mistakes buying real estate, the big financial hoaxes and bubbles that devastated so many investors never burned me.

That made a huge difference over time. It allowed me to grow my net worth year after year without a single year of loss.

I learned several lessons about growing wealth and avoiding the biggest mistakes average investors make.

The financial life of the typical investor is marked by a plethora of hopeful speculations. Only a few dozen, at best, achieve their promise. My investment history is less exciting but more profitable.

I get into trends only after they’re proven, I get out as soon as they don’t make sense, and I turn my back on nine out of 10 opportunities that come my way.

For example, in the 1980s, penny stocks were the rage. The financial press was full of stories about investors who got rich by buying little-known companies at 50 cents per share.

My boss invested in one and tried to convince me to do the same. I was tempted… but something inside me said to let this bus pass me by.

I’m glad I did. My boss, a very savvy investor, lost 100% of his money on that deal. It turned out to be a scam.

I remember thinking, if a sophisticated investor could be fooled by one of those cheap stock deals, I stood no chance.

Another example: the recent real estate bubble. By that time, I’d been investing in real estate for more than 10 years. I knew the game. I’d made a lot of money.

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But by 2006, the houses I’d been buying were selling for 20 times their yearly rentals. I knew it was time to get out.

I stopped buying, and I advised my friends to do the same. They thought I was crazy. I’m sure they wish they’d listened to me now.

I’m telling you these stories not to brag, but to illustrate an important point: You don’t have to be a sophisticated investor to avoid making big investment mistakes. You can do so by applying a little bit of common sense.

Here are the five biggest mistakes most ordinary investors make:

  1. Being swept away by exciting stories.

    The business my boss got suckered into had an amazing story. A company in Central America was turning beach sand into gold. The company had “proof” of their success—in the form of audited financial statements, geologist reports, and endorsements from investment experts.

    My partner even went down there to see the operation. He saw the sand going in and the gold dust coming out.

    I didn’t invest because the story sounded so fantastic. I remember telling him, “This sounds like alchemy.” I didn’t know anything about geology or gold, but I didn’t need to. The story itself was just too crazy.

    When I hear stories like that nowadays, I’m totally turned off. One part of my brain might get excited, but the smarter part tells me, “Stay clear!”

  2. Investing in businesses you don’t understand.

    My boss was a sophisticated investor. He had his own seat on the stock exchange when he was in his 20s and had been successfully investing since that time. But he knew nothing about gold mining.

    His ignorance allowed him to be duped by the reports and by the fraudulent factory tour. The scam was exposed by a few people in the mining business. They understood the industry and knew how to read reports with the sophistication of experience.

    If you don’t understand the business you’re investing in, you’re investing blind.

  3. Allowing yourself to be bullied by good salespeople.

    I mentioned I made some bad investments early in my real estate career. They were due to a combination of the two mistakes I just enumerated. Plus, I buckled under pressure from a real estate broker who also happened to be my landlord and — I thought — my friend.

    I agreed to make the investments even though I had a hunch they wouldn’t work out. I ignored my instincts because she was so good at manipulating my emotions.

    Nowadays, whenever someone tries hard to sell me something, I take that hard selling to be a signal: Stay away!

  4. Investing in trends too late — when the only chance of making money is to find “the bigger fool.”

    I got into real estate investing at a good time, when prices were already going up but the values were still good. I made a lot of money as the market rose.

    When I could no longer buy properties at eight or 10 times yearly rentals, I realized the only way to profit was to ride the bubble to the top.

    But riding a bubble when the economics are bad is a fool’s game. Your only chance of winning is to find someone else willing to buy you out… someone who knows less about the market than you do.

    Insiders call this “the bigger fool theory.” You’d think anybody with common sense wouldn’t fall victim to this impulse. But millions of Americans (including bankers and brokers) did.

    There’s a time to get into a trend and a time to get out. Neither is particularly difficult… so long as you pay attention to the fundamental economics of the deal and ignore the excitement caused by the bubble.

  5. Investing without a way to limit your losses.

    Sometimes, even if you use your common sense — and avoid the four mistakes I’ve already explained — you can lose money because something unpredictable happens.

    To avoid this, I have a rule: I never get into an investment unless I have a way out.

    When you’re investing in a business deal, that “way out” might be a buy/sell agreement.

    When you’re investing in real estate, the way out is the income you can get from renting it if you can’t sell it for any reason.

    When you’re investing in stocks for yearly gains or income, the way out is the trailing stop loss.

    There is always a way to limit your downside as long as you identify what that is before you make the investment — and stick to it. Even if you feel like you shouldn’t.

Those are the five biggest mistakes ordinary investors make. As you can see, they’re all pretty obvious — the kind of mistakes you can avoid by applying common sense. Avoiding these mistakes is part of how I’ve managed to get richer, year after year.

Think about your own investment experiences and the investments you’re making right now. Ask yourself honestly: “Am I making any of these five common mistakes?”

The Power of Doing This Daily

“Adhering to a daily schedule that is led by your vision and run by your priorities is the surest path to personal freedom.” – Mark Ford

The Power of Doing This Daily

By Craig Ballantyne

Full of amazing stories, out-of-this-world characters, and vivid details, you might mistake this book for the latest Stephen King novel. But it’s not about haunted houses or demon-possessed cars. Instead, this book opened a window into the history of the world’s greatest creators.

Daily Rituals, written by a young man named Mason Currey, chronicles the everyday routines of legendary literary artists, architects, and inventors as they struggled against the Resistance to their work.

You might be surprised to know that dozens of the greatest authors and artists in history despised writing and creating, and that their work practically tortured their souls. “The turmoil is invisible,” reported illustrator Maira Kalman. “It was a daily fight,” others described, while some authors simply hated the act of writing altogether. Their daily work drove some to drugs, some to drink, and even a few to an early death.

You don’t have to be a writer to appreciate how hard it can be to get stuck in your most important daily task. But you must find a way to get started and pull together a routine that enables greater productivity.

Chosen wisely, one’s daily routine “can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of limited resources such as time, willpower, self-discipline, and optimism,” writes Currey. “A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” William James suggested that we need to put parts of our life on autopilot so that we can “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”

But if you don’t have the right routines in place, you can feel like you are spinning your wheels and struggling in life.

Let’s say your day currently looks like this.

You wake up and remember all the stuff you have on your to-do list. You begin rushing around, getting things done, checking them off, and then find that each time you complete a task, your list, like a hydra monster, seems to grow back two items for every one removed. Suddenly it’s past your preferred bedtime and before you know it you’re up and at it again. It’s your own virtual Groundhog Day, but not nearly as funny as the one featuring Bill Murray.

It’s hard to make breakthroughs in life when your daily routine only creates deeper ruts. Your addiction to doing everything at the last minute grows stronger. Your ability to say no to external obligations gets weaker. Time for your own work diminishes.

That’s the common reactionary approach to living.

But it was rarely exhibited among the giants of history chronicled by Currey in Daily Rituals.

Each of the great artists in his book had success rituals. Sure, they varied greatly. Some were eccentric artists that didn’t start working until 7 p.m. or even 10 p.m., and kept going until the wee hours of the morning or even until dawn the next day. Unfortunately, most of these bright lights burned themselves out far too early in life.

I’m writing to you from my kitchen table in Toronto, less than a mile away from the birthplace of one man featured in Daily Rituals. His name was Glenn Gould, and he was one of Canada’s greatest musical composers. Gould was an odd bird, you might say, preferring to sleep until late afternoon, skipping meals and shunning almost all interaction with the world, before spending five or six hours recording in the studio each night.

After he had spent all of his mental energy on his piano, he’d wind down with his one and only meal of the day, finally relying on sedatives to force himself to sleep as the sun rose.

Alas, Gould lived to be only fifty years old, and while he accomplished so much in such a short time, you wonder what he might have done with another twenty years.

Most prolific writers preferred to take the opposite approach. Up early, like clockwork, they’d either begin at first light (such as Hemingway, who believed there was something magical about the morning). Others, after breakfast, would settle into their office by 9am for three to five hours of writing, before shutting it down for the day.

Many authors shared the belief that one could write for about three hours, and no more. Some authors would finish fifteen hundred words in time while others would struggle to complete two hundred and fifty, and “would tear them to pieces the next day,” as reported by Anthony Trollope.

Regardless of their prodigious — or minimal — production, for many great creators the work hours were firm. The rituals were set. Few, like Joseph Heller, would skip a day (and he only did so after the phenomenal success of Catch-22). Heller is responsible for one of my favorite quotes from the book, “I gave up writing once and started watching television with my wife. Television drove me back to Catch-22. I couldn’t imagine what Americans did at night when they weren’t writing novels.”

Many, particularly when they were young, starving artists, would work either before or after their full-time job that paid the bills until their work caught on.

Currey’s book is replete with authors that followed this routine until their late ’80s or ’90s, living a long life of productivity despite participating in nasty vices like cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and chronically abusing stimulants that helped them overcome the Inner Inertia.

Daily Rituals convinces me that I’m on the right track. Granted, I wake up much earlier than most authors (although Honore de Balzac’s regular waking hour of 1 a.m. makes me feel like a slacker). But it wasn’t always that way. For years I thought 7 a.m. was more than early enough, but as my business partner Matt Smith and I agree (as do a few of my CEO coaching clients), there is something magical about the four o’clock hour. Novelist Nicholson Baker said, “The mind is newly cleansed, but it’s also befuddled… I found that I wrote differently then.”

I start my mornings with a Big Idea Brainstorming and Gratitude session, inspired by the habits of Dan Sullivan, Vishen Lakiani, and James Altucher.

This can take up to thirty minutes for me to cleanse my mind of all the big ideas that built up overnight and provides the necessary lubrication for my writing gears before I can begin writing articles like this one.

But then I’m ready. Cold water by my side, I put my headphones on without music, serving to create an extra boundary of silence between myself and the outer world. I’m in my own little world. Just me and the screen — and you the reader. Our discussion begins. This is how I work.

I’ve found that the best ideas come to me at the oddest hours. There are rarely flashes of inspiration during the 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday routine. Instead, they come on Saturday mornings at 7 a.m., or during the week at 4 a.m. That’s why I have built my day around these odd hours. Let the masses have their 7:30 a.m. sleep-ins, for they will pay in a lack of creativity and production over the rest of the day.

All of this is made possible through my daily routine, one that starts the night before with proper preparation and keeping to the bedtime deadline, of course.

It is liberating to complete a day’s work before most people punch the clock at a regular 9-to-5 job. And I can assure you that there is something far superior and much easier about working for yourself early in the morning than working for someone else when you’d rather be in bed.

I do not miss the late nights. I’ve never been a night owl.

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The daily routine has served me well, and is my secret weapon. But it is mine, and mine alone. As Bruce Lee said, “I can show you 10,000 of my ways, but they are my way. You must find yours.”

You must identify your magic time. You must foster it and ruthlessly protect from the enemies that seek to steal it — and your creativity — from you. You will likely fight this good fight on your own, cut off from the world. But it will be worth every minute.

Build a system that helps you overcome the Inner Inertia, persist past procrastination, and avoid the siren’s call of life’s distractions.

This is the only way that you can build up enough momentum to power out of life’s ruts, to accomplish progress in your drive to big breakthroughs every day, and to finally achieve the big dreams that lie deep in your heart.

Pay the price demanded by success. You’ll find it a much more worthwhile investment than in the price of regret. Start today. Plan your day. Attack each morning, and soon, my friend, victory shall be yours. I’ll even spare you a little creative energy during these magic hours. Anything for a comrade-in-arms seeking their best day ever.

9 Wealth-Building Lessons From Billionaires

9 Wealth-Building Lessons From Billionaires
By Mark Ford
There is no shortage of billionaires today. In 1985, there were fewer than 20 of them. Today, there are more than 1,800. As many as 536 of them are American. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Nor is their collective net worth of around $2.5 trillion.

At the moment, the U.S. has the world’s largest and most-profitable economy. But, India and China are catching up. Their economies are growing fast. And they are not wasting trillions of dollars on foreign wars.

One of the best ways you can create and maintain wealth is by following the lead of people who’ve already done so.

About 33% of the very rich got their money through inheritance. Take the Waltons (founders of Wal-Mart), for instance. The rest — two out of three — created their wealth through business. About half of those mega-entrepreneurs started with family money, and the other half started from scratch.

These are the people — like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page — who earned the wealth they have. These are the people I’d listen to if I wanted advice on how to succeed today.

I don’t know any of these billionaire entrepreneurs (BEs) personally, but I do know lots of multimillionaires —  entrepreneurs, authors, professionals, and even a few successful artists. And in my experience, they share the following traits with billionaires:

9 Wealth-Building Lessons From Billionaires
By Mark Ford
There is no shortage of billionaires today. In 1985, there were fewer than 20 of them. Today, there are more than 1,800. As many as 536 of them are American. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Nor is their collective net worth of around $2.5 trillion.

At the moment, the U.S. has the world’s largest and most-profitable economy. But, India and China are catching up. Their economies are growing fast. And they are not wasting trillions of dollars on foreign wars.

One of the best ways you can create and maintain wealth is by following the lead of people who’ve already done so.

About 33% of the very rich got their money through inheritance. Take the Waltons (founders of Wal-Mart), for instance. The rest — two out of three — created their wealth through business. About half of those mega-entrepreneurs started with family money, and the other half started from scratch.

These are the people — like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page — who earned the wealth they have. These are the people I’d listen to if I wanted advice on how to succeed today.

I don’t know any of these billionaire entrepreneurs (BEs) personally, but I do know lots of multimillionaires —  entrepreneurs, authors, professionals, and even a few successful artists. And in my experience, they share the following traits with billionaires:

1. Most, but not all, have college degrees.

The great majority of BEs — about 90% — have college degrees. But it’s not necessary for success. Among the world’s super-rich today, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, Fred DeLuca, David Geffen, and Andrey Melnichenko didn’t graduate from college. And David Murdock (Dole Foods) and Richard Desmond (British publishing magnate) never finished high school. That same percentage (90%) feels roughly true in terms of the most successful people I know. Those who lacked college educations were plenty smart and had the most important skills: thinking, writing, and speaking.

2. BEs work harder and longer than the people who work for them. 

Most say they work 50-55 hours per week. Canadian communication mogul Ted Rogers worked 12 hours per day. And some, like Bill Gates (when he worked at Microsoft) and Jeff Skoll (dot-com legend and eBay’s first president) took no vacations for years while their businesses were growing. These days, I probably work about 60 hours per week, but when I was in my “growth” phase, I was working 80-plus hours and not taking vacations.

Every successful person I know works long and works hard. But, I do know a few people who seem to be able to have some balance in their lives. Bill Bonner, for example, has always kept his weekends free for building stone walls or repairing roofs on his various global mansions. But he works 16 hours per day Monday through Friday.

3. BEs are constantly looking for profit opportunities. 

When they hear about an economic or business development, they don’t hear it as some bit of abstract news about someone else. Instead, they think, “How could I profit from that?”

In this respect, you’d have to say BEs are self-centered. Like all super-successful people, they are constantly relating the facts of their lives back to their personal careers. I can’t get through a magazine, any magazine — even one about architecture or science — without having these sorts of personal profit questions pop into my mind.

4. BEs don’t dwell on mistakes. 

They view problems as learning opportunities. “I don’t remember any mistakes,” late pharmaceutical billionaire James Sorenson told Forbes, “only opportunities to overcome problems.” I know some successful people who DO dwell on mistakes — mistakes made by other people. Usually, people who work for them. But, these same people are quick to forgive themselves.

I used to beat myself up over mistakes, but I eventually got over them. I realized it’s not about having a perfect batting average… it’s about how many times you get up to the plate.

5. BEs think neither completely positively nor negatively, but strategically. 

Instead of thinking, “That’s impossible,” or “I can do anything,” they think, “Is that possible?” and “If it is, how could I do it?” This is a big point. Most people, when they hear a new idea, think immediately about all the problems it might cause, or how difficult it might be to implement, or what obstacles one might have to overcome. When I see smart businesspeople doing this, I think to myself, “These people will never get beyond a certain point. They are limited by these instinctively negative mindsets.”

When someone suggests an idea to me, I try to shut down the critical part of my mind and listen to the potential of the idea. If my positive mind likes the potential, then I allow the critical part of my brain to raise questions and concerns. I then use both sides of my brain to come up with answers and solutions.

6. BEs don’t believe in luck.

In a recent Forbes poll of the 400 richest people in the world, none said they had become wealthy entirely by luck. Some said they considered luck to be a minor factor. Most, like Oprah Winfrey, consider luck an outsider’s way of describing someone who works hard and seizes opportunity. “Luck,” Winfrey says, “is preparation meeting a moment of opportunity.”

7. BEs are not driven primarily by money.

“Studies show the desire for financial success is no stronger among entrepreneurs than among those not starting a company,” says entrepreneur expert Kelly Shaver. Wharton School management professor Raphael Amit agrees: “No one is saying they don’t like their wealth. What matters more is the innovation, the intense commitment they have to an idea, and the difference it can make. Money is a byproduct.” I find this to be 100% true.

BEs are motivated primarily by challenge. They want to prove something — all kinds of things. They want to prove they are smart and their ideas are good and their critics are wrong. They want to show the world there is a place for better products and better services and things done the way they believe they should be done. These are their primary motivators.But, don’t fool yourself. The BE wants to get paid. He wants every dollar he’s entitled to. If you try to deny him that money, you will lose him.

8. BEs make friends. Business is never about money. 

Business is about people. It’s about who you know and who you trust. Billionaires work within their circles to get things done.

9. BEs know they can’t do anything alone. 

Instead, they create important partnerships, and work with these partners to collaborate on great projects. Most importantly, they remember to give credit where it’s due. If you want to survive and prosper in the 21st century, emulate the habits of the world’s richest people.

Educate yourself about money. Make conservative investments. And seize opportunities to start and/or invest in entrepreneurial businesses.