I Spent 5 Years Studying Rich and Poor People, and Here’s the Most Important Things I Learned About Succeeding

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When I began my study of the rich and the poor I wanted to know the answer to one question: why are some people rich and other people poor? Five years later and over 350 interviews later, I finished my research. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I had grouped 144 questions into 20 categories, and asked over 350 millionaires and poor people these questions. It took me five years because this wasn’t just a survey I mailed out. Surveys have very limited value. I either met with these people or spoke with them over the phone. As a result, I was able to gather far more data. If you do the math, I asked 51,984 questions of the rich and the poor. That’s a lot of questions!

But it was worth it. I learned an enormous amount about dealing with mistakes and disappointment. I gained insight into what it takes to overcome the hurdles, obstacles, rejections and the emotional downs everyone who pursues success experiences. More importantly, I learned a lot about success and failure. I learned, in particular, why some never quit on their dream and why some do.

Those Who Never Quit

  1. They Have Passion Energy – Those who never quit are the ones who have found their main purpose in life. When you find your main purpose in life you are infused with something I like to call Passion Energy. This energy is a hundred times more potent than willpower energy. It allows you to work 14 hour days, day after day. It enables you to work long stretches during those days, with intense focus and without getting tired. You don’t get tired because you love what you are doing and want to keep doing it. When you have passion energy you just don’t feel like you are working at all.
  2. They Have Unforced Focus – Those who never quit have stumbled upon something I call unforced focus. You probably never heard about unforced focus before. This is a type of focus that relies on the passion energy I mentioned previously. Some call this being in the flow. In any event, it is a type of focus that allows you to put your full attention and concentration to a task for five, six and even seven hours without a break. It’s sister, forced focus, relies on willpower energy, which is usually limited to two or three hours. You use forced focus while working at a job you do not like or have no passion for. If you find yourself struggling with focus while pursuing your dream, you have not found your main purpose in life and you will not succeed in realizing your dream.
  3. They Are Able to Compartmentalize – Many of the self-made millionaires in my study were holding down full-time jobs or running businesses full-time while they were pursuing their dream. The trick is to compartmentalize. You need to isolate time for your bread and butter and make sure you are still doing average to good work on your bread and butter stuff. Average to good keeps you employed or keeps your business afloat until your dream begins to pay dividends. It will take many years before your dream begins paying off financially. Your in it for the long haul, so you need to keep your bread and butter going. If you want to better understand this concept read the book The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.
  4. They Are Patient – Eighty percent of the rich in my study did not become rich until age 50. Fifty-two percent did not become rich until age 56. It takes a long time to create wealth. Those who never quit are patient.
  5. They Take Calculated Risks – Those who never quit are masters at managing risk. They take risks that are well thought out. They don’t wing it or rely on chance. Because they fully understand the risks they are taking and have thought everything through, they are able to weather the ups and downs associated with pursuing success.
  6. They Control Their Thoughts and Emotions – Eighty-one percent of the rich made a habit of controlling their thoughts and emotions. Not every thought needs to come out of your mouth and not every emotion needs to be expressed. Doing so damages relationships; relationships that could otherwise open important doors for you and members of your family. Those who never quit are able to build strong, powerful relationships with other success-minded individuals because they are careful about what they say and they are in control of their emotions.
  7. They Do Their Homework – Those who never quit do their homework. They read and learn every day. They perfect their knowledge and skills every day. They just keep improving and growing through daily learning.
  8. They Form a Team – Those who never quit usually have a team around them that keeps everyone motivated. They find apostles for their cause – individuals devoted to them and who share their vision and purpose. You need the cooperation of others to help you succeed in life. Those who never quit are good at forming teams of people who cooperate together, focused on pursuing a singular dream or purpose. No one does it on their own.
  9. They Learn From Their Mistakes – Mistakes are the byproduct of taking calculated risks. Those who never quit view mistakes as nothing other than learning experiences. Mistakes teach you what not to do.
  10. They Are Open-Minded – You can’t learn anything if you are closed minded. Being open to new ideas, new ways of doing things and the opinions of others is critical to growth. Success requires growth. You must grow into the person you need to be in order for success to visit you. You must be open and tolerant to the opinions of others. Those who never quit are open to all opinions and all ideas.
  11. They Never Quit on Their Dream – Those who never quit will stick to something until they succeed, go bankrupt or die. No matter how down in the dumps you are, you must do at least five things every day to move you forward on your goals. There will be days when everything goes wrong, when you receive nothing but rejection, when everyone ignores you and days when it feels like your back is up against the wall and your dream feels like it’s collapsing under the weight of all of your failures and mistakes.
  12. They Stay Healthy – “You can’t make money from a hospital bed.” That’s what one of the non-quitters told me during my research. Those who never quit exercise every day, they moderate their consumption of junk food, they drink alcohol in moderation, they avoid fast food restaurants, they floss every day and most don’t smoke cigarettes.
  13. They Don’t Give into Fear – Those who never quit have made a habit of overcoming their fears. They are not superstitious and believe they can overcome any obstacle that is put in their way.
  14. They Are Persistent – Julie Crone was the first woman inducted into the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame with 3,704 victories under her reins. Her motto was to keep showing up; to keep trying her best every day. Those who never quit on their dream go at it every day. They try to do five or more things every day that helps move them forward in achieving their goals. When things go wrong, and they do all the time when you pursue a dream, they manage to brush it off, learn from what went wrong, and try again. They persist because they are passionate about what they are doing. They are passionate about what they are doing because they know they found their main purpose in life. When you find your main purpose in life it infuses you with passion energy and passion energy enables you to persist.

Those Who Quit

  1. They Run Out of Money – They quit because they run out of money. This should never be a reason for quitting. There is always money to be found. Especially with the growth of crowdsourcing. The real reason for not being able to find money is a failure to build relationships with individuals who have money or an inability to promote your dream adequately to those who have money.
  2. They Have Family Issues – The time you must devote to your dream deprives family members of your presence. The word divorce starts to rear its ugly head. Or your kids, absent one mentor, begin behaving badly or making poor choices. Think failing out of school or drugs here.
  3. They Lose Their Team – Some quit because critical members of their team quit. When you are pursuing a dream, your resources are usually very limited. Everyone on your team counts. Some more than others. To combat this, you must develop relationships with individuals who possess skills that you need. If you don’t, when you lose a key team player, it could mean the end of your dream.
  4. They Don’t Have Passion – Some quit because they lose their passion. In this case their WHY was not big enough or they were not pursuing their main purpose in life. If your WHY is big enough you will never quit. When you find your main purpose in life will never quit.
  5. They Have Health Issues – Some quit because of health reasons. This is why I mentioned above the importance in maintaining your health. Pursuing success is a long process. It will take many years. If you neglect you health during those years it could derail you.
  6. They’re Afraid – Many who quit give into their fears: fear of losing money, fear of bankruptcy, fear of taking on debt, fear of their marriage unraveling, fear of embarrassment, fear of inadequacy, etc.
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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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