The 10 Thinking Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
— Thomas Edisonmind set rich money lesson think motivational learn teach money

One of the things that stood out from my Rich Habits Study was how important thinking was to self-made millionaires.

I tracked ten different types of thinking habits these millionaires engaged in frequently, if not daily.

From my research, it was so evident that thinking was fundamental to their success that I decided it needed to become one of the ten Keystone Rich Habits.

When self-millionaires think, they do so in isolation, closed off from the world.

Most engaged in their daily thinking habits in the morning, some during their commute in their car, others in the shower, and still others at night.clock money alarm panic time watch age wealth coin

Morning seemed to be the most dominant time frame, however.

Typically, immediately upon waking, these self-made millionaires would find a quite space and think.

How long?

It ranged from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes.

What did they think about?

Well, they thought about a lot of things and when they thought, they thought in a way that most would refer to as brainstorming.

They spent time every day brainstorming with themselves about numerous things.

I was able to boil down those brainstorming sessions into ten core Rich Thinking Habit categories

Here they are:

1. Career – Some of the questions they asked themselves included:

What can I do to make more money? 

How can I increase my value to my clients, customers or my employer?

What do I need to do in order to gain more expertise?

What additional skills do I need?

What things should I be reading more about?

Do I like what I do?

What do I love to do?

Can I make money doing what I love to do?

Should I change careers?

Should I work more hours?

Should I work less hours?

Do I work hard enough?

Am I lazy?

What am I really good at?

What am I really bad at?

Does my job make me happy?

2. Finances – Do I spend too much money?

Am I saving enough money?

Will I have enough to retire on?

How much do I need to retire on?money coin

Do I have enough set aside for college for my kids?

How much do I actually spend each month?

Should I create a budget?

Should I revise my budget?

Am I doing a good job investing our money?

Is my spouse doing a good job investing our money?

Am I paying too much in taxes?

Do I have enough life insurance?

Should I set up a trust for my kids?

3. Family

Do I spend enough time with my family?

Can I work less and spend more time with my family?

Are we spoiling our kids?

Are we too hard on our kids?

Can I get away for a vacation this year?

Are we doing enough to help our kids succeed?

How can I improve my relationship with my spouse, my kids?

4. Friends

Do I have as many friends as I should?

Do I spend enough time with the friends I have?smart phone

Why don’t I have many friends?

How can I make more friends?

Is my work interfering too much with my social life?

Do I call my friends enough?

How often should I stay in touch with my friends?

Who haven’t I spoken with in a while?

Do I have good friends?

How can I end my friendship with so and so?

Should I help my friends financially?

5. Business Relationships

What can I do to improve my business relationships?puzzle team

Am I staying in touch enough with my key customers, clients?

How can I develop a business relationship with so and so?

Which business relationships should I spend more time on and which ones should I pull away from?

Do my customers, clients like me?

Do they think I do a good job?

6. Health

Am I exercising enough? Food Fight

Should I lose more weight?

Do I eat too much?

Am I eating healthy?

Should I get a physical?

Should I take vitamins/supplements?

I need to get a colonoscopy.clock alarm organised sleep health motivation psychology

Are my arteries clogged?

Do I get enough sleep?

Do I drink too much?

I have to stop smoking.

I have to cut back on junk food.

I need to eat more vegetables.

7. Dream-Setting and Goal-Setting

Most of the brainstorming involved their personal, financial, family and career dreams and goals.

Dreams of retiring on a beach, buying a boat, expanding their business, buying vacation homes etc.

8. Problems

Here they brainstormed primarily about finding solutions to those problems that were causing them the most stress at the moment.

Most were immediate problems related to their jobs and their family.

Some were longer term and related to preempting future potential problems they were anticipating down the road most often related to their careers.

9. Charity

What other charities can I get involved in?team work help puzzle group peer team

Am I doing enough for my church, business group, synagogue, etc.?

What can I do to help my grammar school, high school, college, etc?

Should I start a scholarship?

How can I best help my community?

Should I contribute more money to my school, church etc?

Who can I help?

10. Happiness

Am I happy?

What is causing me to be unhappy?happy happiness positive

How can I eliminate those things that are making me unhappy?

Is my spouse happy?

Are my kids happy?

Are my employees or staff happy?

How can I make myself happier?

What is happiness?

Will I ever be happy?

What’s making me so happy?

That’s a lot of thinking, I know.

There are a lot of days in the year, however, to brainstorm with yourself.

You just need to make it a daily habit.Confused mind think thought

Eventually, over time you will come up with solutions to your most pressing problems.

You will gain insight into what makes you tick.

Daily thinking will help you find some meaning to your life.

Making a daily habit of thinking is what self-made millionaires do.

It’s an important piece of the success puzzle.

Understanding why they do it is less important than understanding that they do do it.

Every day.


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Tom Corley


Tom is a CPA, CFP and heads one of the top financial firms in New Jersey. For 5 years, Tom observed and documented the daily activities of wealthy people and people living in poverty and his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots” which culminated in his #1 bestselling book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Visit the website:

'The 10 Thinking Habits of Self-Made Millionaires' have 2 comments


    September 13, 2019 Heather Hobbs

    Doesn’t everyone spend time thinking about these things – not just very rich people? I suspect that these thoughts are among the most common ideas in most peoples’ stream of consciousness.


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