Rich People Are Nonconformists and Outliers


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Rich people are not average. To become rich and successful you must do what average people are unwilling or afraid to do. This typically involves taking some financial or career risk and devoting most of your time to ensure that that risk pays off.

In society, we are conditioned into believing that the path to success lies in a college education. But my research says otherwise. It’s not enough to get a college degree. College degrees most definitely do help you find a job but they are now a pre-requisite or commodity, not something that makes you stand out. According to the Census Bureau, between 32%-36% of working adults have a college degree.

Getting a college degree does increase your chances for becoming rich – 39% of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study didn’t have a college degree. And, according to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 51% of all jobs in the U.S. do not even require a college degree.

The true, sure path towards unlimited success and riches can only be found in pursuing a dream or something you are passionate about that you can monetize and then committing yourself to this dream or passion for the rest of your working life. In other words, you stand a better chance getting rich if you start a business. That’s where the real world learning takes place. You learn by doing. Real world learning is far more valuable than classroom learning in a capitalist society. And America is a capitalist society.

Some of the wealthiest most successful people in the world were business owners who did not have a college degree: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie (US Steel), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Ellison (Oracle),  Like Ingvar (Ikea), Leonardo Del Vecchio (Luxottica eyewear), Michael Dell (Dell Computing) and Ferrero Rocher (Ferrero Chocolates) are just a few examples. I could fill up this entire page with millionaires and billionaires who started a business without the benefit of any higher learning.

How did they do it?

They took a risk on themselves and then spent every waking moment devoted to some business that added value to the lives of others. Through self-education, relentless practice and persistence they eventually became experts in their fields. And society rewarded them with enormous riches and success.

Calculated risk, devotion and commitment to their business eventually paid off. For most, the payoff took many, many years. For some, it took much less time. But the common denominator was taking a risk and starting a business.

Most people are conformists. They are unwilling to do what it takes to become rich – take a risk on themselves, start a business and spend the rest of their lives trying to make that business a success. Conformity is the norm and nonconformity makes you an outlier.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Love your blog Tom.
    I have already pre-ordered your book (and all your other books) and been reading everything you share. What is fascinating that I have seen in my region is that people want that fancy car and that dream vacation forever but they are not willing to put the time and effort to reach those goals.
    Keep up the great work.

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