The famous motivational speaker, author and sales pundit with the absolute best name in quotable history — Zig Ziglar — once said: “It’s not where you start or even what happens to you along the way that’s important. What is important is that you persevere and never give up on yourself”. And one of the most profound applications of Mr. Ziglar’s advice has to do with building wealth.
Here’s the thing: the vast majority of wealthy people didn’t win the lottery. They cultivated shrewd wealth-building habits over time — and you can, too. Here are seven life hacks that you can adopt right now to increase the chances that you’ll become part of the 1% (or maybe even the 1% of the 1%, like Chinese mogul Li Jinyuan who took 6,400 of his employees on a vacation to France).
- Build relationships with successful people. The law of proximity is powerful. Hang around four successful people, and you’ll be the fifth. Hang around four unsuccessful people who never learn from their mistakes and constantly blame others, and you’ll join their ranks sooner or later.
- Spend your time wisely. This doesn’t mean that everything you do should be in the pursuit of wealth, because life is about balance. But it does mean that if you’re currently doing things that aren’t worthwhile on any level — emotionally, physically, psychologically, financially or spiritually — then stop doing them at your earliest possible opportunity, and start doing something more valuable and vital.
- Always over-deliver and give more than you get. This may sound like spacey new-age rhetoric, but it’s something that all wealthy people understand and adopt.
- Starting today — not tomorrow, not next week, not the start of next year, but today and ideally the moment you finish reading this article — figure out how you can start saving more money. If that’s not an option at the moment because you’re in debt, then figure out how you can speed up repayment.
- Speaking of debt: it’s not a four-letter word that should fill you with dread. There is good debt and bad debt. Good debt is when you use someone else’s money to do something that you need (not just want) to do, like pay for your education to boost your long-term earning potential, or borrow against your home equity to pay for required foundation repair, etc. Bad debt is basically borrowing money to waste on something that might bring short-term pleasure, but causes long-term financial pain. Simply put, it’s a bad deal.
- Continuously invest (both time and money) in your earning ability by, for example, learning a new skill or language. Look at this this way: you might save $500 a year by shrewdly shopping around for car and home insurance, which is great. But if you upgrade your skills and leverage your knowledge capital to get a promotion, you could make $10,000 more a year — which is amazing.
- Make smart bets. Contrary to popular belief, wealthy people typically risk adverse and say “no” to far more deals and opportunities than they say “yes” to. However, when they do say yes, it is based on reliable information and not anecdotal assumptions.
The Bottom Line
The road to wealth has many paths — and plenty of twists and turns. There is no magic wand or crystal ball. And yes, timing and luck are a big part of the story. However, one thing is universally true: wealthy people don’t happen by accident (if they do, then it’s not long before they are back to where they started — if not often worse off). They’re disciplined, focused, driven, and have very strong impulse control that keeps them from making reckless and regrettable decisions. Use the life hacks above to journey forward on your road to wealth. And when you get there, remember to pay it forward.