Intelligence, talent and charm are great, but more often than not these aren’t what separate the wealthiest among us from the poorest.
Instead, the differences are in our daily habits.
Do you realize that these subconscious, second-nature activities make up 40 percent of our waking hours?
That means that two out of every five minutes, all day and every day, we operate on autopilot.
It’s true: Habits are neural pathways stored in the basal ganglia, a golf ball-size mass of tissue right in the center of our brains, in the limbic system.
Here are the most important Rich Habits you can take up to reach and maintain your wealth potential:
1. Control your emotions
Not every thought needs to come out of your mouth.
Not every emotion needs to be expressed.
When you say whatever is on your mind, you risk hurting others.
Loose lips are a habit for 69 percent of those who struggle financially.
Conversely, 94 percent of wealthy people filter their emotions.
They understand that letting emotions control them can destroy relationships at work and at home.
Wait to say what’s on your mind until you’re calm and have had time to look at the situation objectively.
Fear is perhaps the most important negative emotion to control.
Any change, even positive changes such as marriage or a promotion, can prompt feelings of fear.
Wealthy people have conditioned their minds to overcome these thoughts, while those who struggle financially give in to fear and allow it to hold them back.
Whether you fear change, making mistakes, taking risks or simply failure, conquering these emotions is about leaning in just a little until you build up confidence.
It’s amazing how much confidence helps.
2. Network and volunteer regularly
You’ll build valuable relationships that can result in more customers or clients, or help you land a better job if you spend time pressing the flesh and giving back in your community.
Almost three-quarters of wealthy people network and volunteer a minimum of five hours a month.
Among those struggling financially, only one in 10 does this.
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One perk of volunteering is the company you’ll keep.
Very often the boards and committees of nonprofits are made up of wealthy, successful people.
Developing personal relationships with these folks will often result in future business relationships.
3. Go above and beyond in work and business
Unsuccessful people have “it’s not in my job description” syndrome.
Consequently, they are never given more responsibility, and their wages grow very little from year to year—if they keep their jobs at all.
Wealthy individuals, on the other hand, make themselves invaluable to their employers or customers, writing articles related to their industry, speaking at industry events and networking.
Successful people work hard to achieve the mutual goals of their employers or their businesses.
4. Set goals, not wishes
You cannot control the outcome of a wish, but you can control the outcome of a goal.
Every year, 70 percent of the wealthy pursue at least one major goal.
Only 3 percent of those struggling to make ends meet do this2.
5. Avoid procrastination
Successful people understand that procrastination impairs quality; creates dissatisfied employers, customers or clients; and damages other non-business relationships.
Here are five strategies that will help you avoid procrastination:
- Create daily “to-do” lists. These are your daily goals. You want to complete 70 percent or more of your “to-do” items every day.
- Have a “daily five.” These activities represent the crucial things that will help you get closer to realizing some major purpose or goal.
- Set and communicate artificial deadlines. There’s nothing wrong with finishing early.
- Have accountability partners. These are people you team with to pursue a big goal. Communicate with them at least every week, and make sure they hold your feet to the fire.
- Say a “do it now” affirmation. This is a self-nagging technique. Repeat the words “do it now” over and over again until you begin a task or project.
6. Talk less and listen more
A 5-to-1 ratio is about right: You should listen to others five minutes for every one minute that you speak.
Wealthy people are good communicators because they are good listeners.
They understand that you can learn and educate yourself only by listening to what other people have to say.
The more you learn about your relationships, the more you can help them.