Millionaire Habits: Here Are A Dozen Every Student Should Learn
Entrepreneur magazine recently took a stab at millionaire habits, aggregating the best of the best from a variety of men and women, who are crushing it financially.
While it’s easy to look past it if you’re in the middle of a class or preparing for a big exam, you really shouldn’t.
It turns out many of the things that make people rich are also very smart. Start employing these tactics today, and you will find yourself on the fast track to personal wealth — whether that’s money- or otherwise. Let’s get started!
Millionaire Habits No. 1. Add value every day of your life.
Value is the number one piece of education that you can learn and apply as you go through life. It can take many forms, and it’s easier said than done. But if you master the ways in which you can add it — employing some of the other millionaire habits mentioned below will be integral — then you’ll never become obsolete.
You will always have a bright future. You won’t be replaced. You will forge ahead in your career with confidence and enthusiasm. How do you go about recognizing ways that you can create value?
One of the best ways is to simply ask. If you find yourself in a job interview one day, a good question to always ask is, “How can I create more value beyond the position at hand?” In other words, what are some other opportunities or challenges you can take on to enhance the company’s future?
Many companies prefer cross-training, and while some have shied away from it because they fear training their replacement, you cannot allow yourself to adopt this scarcity mindset. Best to tackle it now while you’re still in school.
Your buddy acing a test doesn’t mean he’s taken your opportunity to do the same. There is enough room for everybody to grow, to learn, and to succeed. The individuals willing to insert themselves into the value equation are the first ones who will have those opportunities.
A separate Entrepreneur piece that you need to read if you’re wondering about the concept of creating value is this one by Perry Marshall. As Marshall writes, “For me, there’s a natural thrill to taking a single dollar bill and stretching seemingly impossible value from it. It’s one of the things that makes me a good marketer. When the president of a company tells me that it costs him $50,000 to acquire a new customer (happened a year ago), I get a buzz. Because I know I can probably slash that cost dramatically and bring him a whole bunch more customers at the same time.”
Where are the efficiencies you could be addressing — for your class, your professor, your study group, your school? Look for opportunities, and creating value will come really easy.
2. Wake up earlier!
It has been said that if you win the morning, you win the day! While that is not always true, I personally find myself more productive when I’m able to get going on my task list before the rest of the world is out of bed.
While you may disagree — God knows there is plenty of debate as to when the optimum time for first period in a school day should be — most of the challenge comes in simply committing to it.
If you make getting up earlier a habit, it will not feel as much like work.
It helps to establish active morning routines. One thing I do — because the gym is so far away and requires too much of a mental commitment, with too much opportunity to back out — is run in place the moment I get out of bed.
Being active should be a necessary part of any day, especially if you use your brain for a living or need it to study. By running in place the moment I step out of bed, I tear down most of the annoying obstacles that get in the way of me heading to the gym.
(You know, things like finding workout clothes, getting your blood pumping and your mind alert, putting on the socks and shoes, walking or driving to the facility.)
I’ve found this one simple act makes it easier for me to get to the other things if I so desire. It also wakes me up and allows me to “link” to the next necessary action. Essentially, I’ve lowered the barrier to entry for all the things I hope to accomplish in my day.
For even more help with your mornings, I recommend you check out Lisa Evans’ take here. Favorite quote: “If you wait until the afternoon or evening to do something meaningful for yourself such as exercising or reading, you’re likely to push it off the to-do list altogether.”
Don’t relegate the things that matter. Address them right away, and you’ll be well on your way to a productive and healthier you.
3. Get enough exercise.
People hear “exercise,” and they too often think “athlete.” You don’t have to be anywhere near athletic-level to derive huge benefits and live a long and happy life on the back of the E word.
What makes exercise so hard for so many is that they try to do too much. They think if they’re not sweating profusely and tearing muscle fibers, they’re not doing anything beneficial.
It is often low-impact exercise that does the most good because it is so sustainable. When you don’t make exercise intimidating, you do more of it. When you do more of it, you become capable of stepping up your game and improving your health exponentially. It all starts with a single step.
A friend of mine always burned out whenever he would “re-commit” to hitting the gym. He would do fine for a couple of weeks, but the moment he missed that first workout, he folded like an accordion. It was especially frustrating for him as his metabolism slowed and he got heavier and heavier.
Then one day he decided: I’m just going to do 10,000 steps per day, however I can get there. He walked at about 3 miles per hour for a while — not a great pace — but he would get there.
Slowly he became capable of getting there faster and faster. Then, he started jogging. In a year’s time — through daily commitment and incremental change — he lost over 30 pounds and could run over six miles per hour! By the time he upped his game, he barely noticed he was doing anything different than when he first started.
Why is this important for you, good student? Because your mind works better when your body is clicking. Don’t compartmentalize the two. They go hand-in-hand, and you avoid exercise at the risk of mental growth and success.
If you are having trouble figuring out where to start, simply start where you are. Get a pedometer and commit to 100 extra steps per day until you’ve built up to 10,000. Then start working in a jog or some other form of more intense cardio exercise. Only step it up when you’re ready. Commit to the act, not to keeping up with other people or your own skewed idea of what you should be!
4. Manage time like money.
Money is a precious thing. It helps us buy the things we need to survive, not to mention the toys that make life worthwhile. Furthermore, few of us today have enough of it to throw around that we can just waste it willy-nilly.
When it comes to time, you should look at it the same way. Time is the only commodity, in fact, that you are guaranteed to never get back. How you spend it is of the utmost importance.
You can always make more money. It may not be easy. It may entail working two or three jobs. It may mean working for less than you know you’re worth. But if you keep at it, you’ll always be able to make more as long as you’re alive and able-bodied.
With more and more tasks these days taking on technological and intellectual components, you may not even need to be able-bodied!
But no matter who you are — how much money you have, how much good (or bad) you have going on in your life — your time is finite. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. That makes it considerably more precious than money.
If you’re going to carefully consider what you do with your money, then why wouldn’t you do the same with something that is a lot more valuable?
One of the best things you can do for managing your time effectively is taking a page from Entrepreneur’s millionaire habits and carefully considering how you will spend it for the day and the week ahead.
A colleague always starts her day by “wasting” a little time on paper. That’s at least how she refers to it because she is not addressing her to-do list. She instead journals about the day ahead and spends extra time writing action steps for how she will actually address each item.
That time she “wastes” actually sets her up to maximize the time that she spends on each step. As an overwhelmed student, you need to get all your thoughts on paper. Use journaling time to build a “smarter” to-do list. Doing so, you will find yourself with more time on your hands to spend on the things that matter most!
5. Set goals every single day, no exceptions!
Goals are important when you start your day and week. I usually take a “long view” of my week on Sunday nights. I try to list out all my obligations and see where they might fit best within the week itself.
Once I have specific days assigned, I set it aside and forget about it. Then, on Monday morning, I take out my master plan and I build out action steps for that specific day. This has seemed to work for me because it helps my brain deep-dive on immediate goals while successfully managing the long view.
I essentially don’t have to worry about Tuesday through Friday because I’ve vetted the overview and determined, “These things will be fine if I wait until this day to address them.” It gives me the mental space to do the very best on the day at hand.
But what if plans change? Deadlines get pushed up? That sort of thing?
By mapping things out at the start of the week, it allows the flexibility to bump things up, push things back, or mentally prepare to work a little bit harder. It also guards against that sort of thing happening too often.
Usually when unexpected things occur — and they do — they do little to interfere with preplanned goals and objectives. So yes, you may have to “find time” to address, but you won’t feel knocked off track for the entire week.
And one final note on setting goals for each day: you won’t always hit every objective. But the simple act of writing them down forces you to acknowledge when you do fall short, and it holds you accountable for making up ground in the days ahead.
This is especially important when you have a huge test like the LSAT, PRAXIS, or MCAT to study for. They’re not tests you can cram for in a week or two. You need a plan, and a plan must come with accountability for sticking to your goals and objectives.
6. Learn how to better network.
It is easy to see how networking can be an essential component of millionaire habits. After all, busineses are built on relationships, and the more of them you have — healthy ones anyway — the more money and success tend to follow.
But how does that compute when it comes to student life? And aren’t you already a successful networker because of all those followers you have on Instagram and Facebook? (Not necessarily.)
Let’s take the first question. Networking is an essential part of mastering the education game because it expands your box of “resources” that you have to plug holes and fill gaps in your knowledge and preparedness.
Let’s say an important test is coming up, and you — serial procrastinator that you are — don’t realize you’ve lost your study guide until the night before. If you’ve built the right kinds of relationships with your fellow students, you’ll be able to reach out to a friend or classmate for a replacement copy on a moment’s notice.
That’s an admittedly elementary example, but it illustrates how knowing people can help you meet your goals and overcome obstacles — both expected and unexpected.
Now for the other question. Social networking and real networking are not the same thing. A social network may show that you’re friends with lots of people. When I was on Facebook, I had around 1,000 friends. I was barely past the acquaintance stage with 5% of them.
That was not effective networking, so when I pulled the plug, it did little to impact my life.
Networking is not just about saying, “Oh yeah, I know that person” or “He’s my friend on Facebook.” It’s about what you’re actually doing with the relationship. Consequently, the more committed you are to adding value, the more meaningful networking relationships you will be able to establish.
That’s true for school. That’s true for life. In what ways will you work to add value to a contact’s life? Consider that question as you build up your following and reach out to others.
7. Eat a healthy diet.
Eating a healthy diet isn’t as complicated as it seems. In the U.S., you have all the tools you need at your disposal.
You have research tools. You have restaurants. You have supermarkets. You have calorie counters and open source databases that will tell you with a simple search what nutritional content a specific food has in it.
Weight is a major factor when it comes to eating a so-called “healthy” diet. If you’re overweight, you are more susceptible to related diseases and conditions. So get that under control first.
Losing weight for the vast majority of people is as simple as burning more calories in a day than you consume. Even with a net negative of just 100 calories per day, you’ll lose a pound a year. 200 in a day? Two pounds. 300? Three pounds.
Knowing your baseline calories is important. From there, you need to know how many calories you’re burning and how many you’re consuming.
Say your baseline is 1,800 per day. That’s what you need, without exercise, to maintain your current weight. You burn 400 calories per day through light exercise. You eat 1,950. You’re walking around with a 250-calorie deficit. In a year’s time, you’ll lose 2.5 pounds by eating more calories than your baseline rate!
(Now you see why exercise is so important!)
Once your weight is under control, you can start zeroing in on other things like fiber, protein, fat grams, sugar intake, etc.
As with exercise, start where you are. Address the area where you’re at the greatest risk, and then focus on the other elements.
Some people swear by the Paleo diet or the Vegan or the Atkins. None of that matters. Barring any allergies or specific conditions, you can eat whatever you want as long as you’re not taking in more than you burn.
Also, focusing in on a single task until mastery allows you to sustain momentum and not take on too much too quickly, which too often leads to burnout.
8. Exercise your mind.
Exercise should not be a word limited to your body. You should also give your brain a workout. That comes through a number of activities such as reading and the company you keep, the conversations you have.
It is real easy to surround yourself with the kind of news or reading material that only subscribes to your viewpoint. Everyone is loud these days about what they believe, but nobody wants to listen. That attitude will make you a stupid person.
“Words are violence.” “I’m offended, so I don’t believe you should have the right to say it.” “The First Amendment does not protect hate speech!” All are rightly considered the ramblings of an idiot by anyone with the ability to think for themselves.
Unfortunately, threats to free speech are alive and well on college campuses, and it has to stop or civilization has an incredibly short amount of time left.
The best mind exercise you can ever do: ask yourself what you fundamentally disagree with. Then, go find the most intelligent counterpoints that you can find to what it is you believe, and learn them. One of two things will happen as a result.
You will either walk away convinced about the counterpoint and therefore change a flawed belief; or you will walk away reinforced by your initial belief with a greater capability of arguing your position effectively.
By the same token, if you’re a liberal with no conservative friends or a conservative with no liberal friends, then you suck at life. You need to open up your mind and give people a “safe space” in which they can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.
Feel free to “give it back to them” — i.e. stand up and speak out about why you disagree — but do it from a place of respect and a willingness to hear the other person out.
9. Learn empathy and mindfulness.
Piggybacking on that last one, empathy and mindfulness will go a long way in making you the type of person you should want to be — the type of person a functional society deserves.
When you attempt to empathize with others and see their side of things in the way they see it, you will become a stronger person mentally. That always leads to greater success, whether in the professional or academic fields.
Asking yourself why a person believes or acts or feels the way they do, and then trying to understand why that view makes sense will lead to a greater understanding of your world and your school.
Look up any list of millionaire habits, and you’ll find that most have their own specific mindfulness practice, be it prayer or transcendental meditation or simply collecting their thoughts on paper in a quiet room.
When you are in those moments, try to put a specific face to an idea with which you disagree. Once you “go there,” roleplay. Write a page or two in the first person, as that person, and see if you can “justify” why they believe what they do.
You’ll come out of it with a better understanding of how to function, not only in your interactions with them, but also in your interactions with a wide array of other people of differing views.
If that’s not enough explainer for you, John Rampton has great insight on ways that you can use mindfulness to excel at work. Keep in mind as you read through each of the six that school is your work. Make the comparison. Translate. Ask yourself how you can apply each specific point in the classroom.
As Rampton states, “mindfulness is a very active process — in ones head — which means that mindfulness can be done anywhere, like at your desk or on the subway platform, and at any time.”
10. Always save something!
We don’t usually think about savings accounts and retirement plans while still in college, but that needs to change. By learning financial literacy young, you establish good habits that can keep you out of the many fiscal jams we get into later in life that keep us from saving.
I used to feel it “wasn’t really worth it” to have any of my paycheck held out for a closed retirement account if it couldn’t be the full amount. You can only save 1% of your check? Screw that noise!
I should have fought the urge to say it “doesn’t really matter.” Saving just $500 per year from the time that I graduated college would have, by now, resulted in an extra $8,500 of principal. An average performing mutual fund can usually yield 10% returns per year over the long term.
That’s compounded. Translation: my $8,500 investment would now be worth about $22,300 without me doing one thing differently than saving what I could.
This principle also has benefits inside of the classroom. By committing to what you do have control over, you can isolate the obstacles that may be holding you back and address them accordingly.
Since most wealth is accumulated gradually over time, this is one of the most important millionaire habits you’ll ever come across. It emphasizes discipline above all else, and that’s something you will find in every successful student at some point in their educational journey.
11. Contribute to others’ success.
As with saving money, the benefits of this one may not be readily apparent at the classroom level, but it’s certainly one of those millionaire habits that will set you up for success later in life.
When you contribute to others’ success, you make it easier to network. When you network smarter, you have more resources at your fingertips and more people in your corner hoping for you to succeed.
It requires a give-first mentality, and you may not always be repaid what you put into something individually; but you will find yourself in a place over the long haul where you are successful.
As R.L. Adams writes in the piece that started this thought experiment, “Contribution is born from an abundant mindset. When you are sated and have enough for yourself, look to contribute. You can trick your mind into an abundant mindset by simply contributing your time to others. You don’t have to give money. Only time. It’s a subconscious mind trick that moves you away from scarcity to attract more money and opportunities into your life.”
12. Find your mentor.
You can learn a lot from books and from hard knocks experience. But nothing is going to prepare you for the future quite like a mentor, who knows what he or she is doing. Someone who has experienced the agony and the ecstasy of where you are and where you’re going.
Great mentors can shield you from missteps. They can help you manage successes. They can help you slow down and ask important questions like, “What don’t I know that I should know about this subject?” or “What commonly held belief do I have that is all wrong?”
A mentor does not necessarily have to be in your field of interest. One of my greatest mentors in life was an algebra teacher in spite of the fact that I majored in English and journalism in college.
There was something about the way that man thought and the outlook he had on life that led to me making better decisions — not only with my educational journey, but with my professional and personal journies as well.
Who is someone in your life with that impact? Visualize them, but don’t think you have to copy everything they do. They may be an accountant. That doesn’t mean you should be an accountant. And it doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong mentor if you feel compelled to do something differently from them in life.
So there you have it, friends. These are millionaire habits you need to learn, internalize, and start implementing in your own life. Even if your goal isn’t to have millions of dollars, their rules for life will help you be better at what you do whether what you do is in a vocation or classroom.
How many of these habits do you already possess, and which ones give you the most difficulty? We definitely want to hear from each and every one of you, so please sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by YoungPinoyMillionaire]