5 Ways to Think Like a Millionaire and Get on the Right Track in 2019

Last Updated: June 1, 2019

From Silicon Valley to the music industry, the world of business is dotted with leaders and trendsetters who either failed or dropped out of high school to pursue their dreams. While their stories are very different, all of them have common tendencies. Read on to discover 5 ways you can adopt their ‘millionaire mindsets’.

    by Agent Staff
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One of the best illustrations of how to think like a millionaire, regardless of circumstances, and get on the right path is provided by the US songwriter Billy Joel. While Joel was attending high school in the 1960s, he was already working into the music business by playing late night piano bars. One morning in 1967, he overslept and missed an English exam, leaving him a credit short of his graduation requirement. His response? “I told them, ‘To hell with it. If I’m not going to Columbia University, I’m going to Columbia Records, and you don’t need a high school diploma over there’.” Joel went on to sell more than 150m records, won multiple Grammy Awards, and in 2010 his net worth was estimated at US$160m.

Such focus is a common characteristic of multi-millionaires. Indeed, there have been so many iconic high-achievers who either failed at or dropped out of school that it’s fun to play a ‘sliding doors / alternative reality’ game, and imagine a business world without Richard Branson; Hollywood without Robert De Niro; Silicon Valley without Jim Clark; hip-hop without Jay-Z; boxing without George Foreman; entertainment without Simon Cowell… our lives and times would have been very different if these characters had not had the drive and energy to succeed.

But naturally, there are more things required than energy and drive. It’s essential to develop a winning mindset.


1. Think Outside Yourself



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The purpose of all business—or whatever it is you do in life—is to fulfil a need in others. It is essential for you to have a purpose that is greater than personal material grain. In the classic 1942 movie Citizen Kane, an investigative reporter is quizzing Bernstein, adviser to the deceased millionaire Charles Foster Kane. During the interview, the reporter remarks with some approval that the late Kane’s wealthy banker guardian had “made a lot of money”.

Bernstein counters: “Well it’s no trick to make a lot of money… if all you want is to make a lot of money.” In the movie, Kane had died rich but alone, spiritually empty and an enemy of everyone.

The most successful millionaires understand the importance of connection, and of almost putting yourself at service to people. By focusing on helping others, you are actually growing yourself.

As Richard Branson said: “I may be a businessman, in that I set up and run companies for profit, but, when I try to plan ahead and dream up new products and new companies, I’m an idealist.”



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2. Heed Only the Best Advice



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Think of Lord Alan Sugar and his notably consistent and tight core of advisers throughout the lengthy run of the British iteration of hit TV show The Apprentice.

He has taken advice principally from four people: Nick Hewer (former PR consultant to Amstrad); Margaret Mountford (lawyer and businesswoman, also with connections to Amstrad); Karren Brady (who impressed Sugar by offering a job to the runner-up in the 2008 series); and Claude Littner (business executive, also previously at Amstrad).

Often, Sugar would heed their advice. Sometimes he would disregard it. But he always listened to it, because he trusted it. A television show may not be the most solid evidence, but it’s a demonstration of the tendency of multi-millionaires to listen to the opinions of only the best people.

So, seek out the experts in your field. Reach out to them. Listen to what they have to say.

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3. Get the Word Out



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“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Sales are essential to your survival, but they cannot be created in isolation. As our featured quote from Steve Jobs shows, you must network your brand and reputation.

For example, musicians in the download/streaming era regard live shows as a revenue stream. But there is no revenue from an empty concert venue.

All business is a little like that—it’s about getting to grips with your market, and who they are, and what they want; then finding a way to deliver it to them.

The marketing is the storytelling and image-building that helps to sell your product or service. The cleverest millionaires deftly take this to a fine art.

Steve Jobs for instance, on one hand stressed it was vital to “start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology”. But on the other, he prized excellent design and storytelling, famously telling Business Week in 1988, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

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4. Decide, Don’t Procrastinate



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“Rich people can’t buy more hours… And you can’t save time to spend it on another day.”

The US author and consultant Denis Waitley has an interesting take on time, which he describes as “an equal opportunity employer”.

“Each human being,” Waitley writes, “has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day.”

You must deal immediately with the most important things, and delegate, delay or abandon the things that drain your time, energy and capacity to act.

One pragmatic way of doing this is to block-book specific times in the day and week for scheduling specific tasks, including email and communications checking; returning telephone calls; organising meetings; social media administration; and so on.

In the 2002 movie About A Boy, the aptly named lead character Will Freeman [Hugh Grant] lives a lazy, luxurious lifestyle on royalties inherited from a Christmas song composed by his father. Will describes how he has to block his day—“island living”, he calls it—into units, and wonders how he would ever find the time to have a job. This conceit cleverly turns on its head the scheduling process we touched on above. But amid the laughter there’s a lesson to be learn about the effectiveness of an orderly schedule.

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“The important thing in island living is to be your own activities director. I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half-an-hour. Taking a bath—one unit; watching Countdown—one unit; web-based research—two units; exercising—three units; having my hair carefully disheveled—four units. It’s amazing how the day fills up, and I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I’d ever really have time for a job. How do people cram them in?”



5. Listen!



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Richard Branson in his book Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life And Business, writes: “Whenever I’m on a flight or a train or in a record store, I walk around and ask the people I meet for their ideas on how to improve the service. I write them down and when I get home, I look through what I’ve written. If there’s a good idea, I pick up the phone and implement it.”

There is nothing you do that cannot benefit from the perceptions of your market. Rooted in humility, this is an extension of the golden rule to create something that is bigger than yourself.

Hand-in-hand with this is the need to recognise that you do not have all the answers. Millionaires and other successful people read books and research rigorously. They take notes. They apply wisdom to their own situations, and implement accordingly. It’s another form of listening—heeding the wisdom of your forbears.

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This article is drawn from the insights of people who have made it into the millionaire bracket. The drive and energy exhibited by all of them has been phenomenal. However, passion is only the tip of the iceberg—the real key is to put yourself at the service of an idea or concept that is bigger than you and serves others.


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