Over 85% of America’s millionaires are self-made, first-generation rich…

It always frustrates me to see media portrayals of rich people — and especially people who got rich through business and free enterprise — that basically say that in order to be rich, you have to be evil and unethical.  (How many Disney story lines feature a villain whose primary villainous trait is that they are greedy?)

Are there some people who got rich through corruption, and at others’ expense?  Abso-freaking-lutely.

But the reason corrupt rich people get all the press is because they’re the ones who get caught.  Sometimes by the law.  Sometimes their bad deeds just catch up to them in the press.

And either way, they end up getting publicly shamed.  And often lose their fortunes.

But the rich people you don’t hear about are those who build their fortunes ethically, as a byproduct of value creation.  Through willing two-way cooperation in a (mostly) capitalist, free-market economy.

They get rich because they put a high-value offer into the marketplace that’s valued by consumers.  The consumers are willing to pay more for what’s being offered than it costs to produce and fulfill it.  And this entrepreneur — this value-creator — pockets the difference.  And through time, and providing enough value to enough people, this makes them rich.

If you want to get rich, you must develop an accurate understanding of what will make you rich…

This has been a long-time fascination and study of mine.  If you want to get me to click on an article, a headline like Author who studies millionaires: Here’s how beliefs can make you rich—or poor is a good way to do so.

That’s what drew me to a recently-published article on CNBC, written by Tom Corley.

Corley is the author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.  That book is based on a three-year study where he interviewed 233 wealthy individuals as well as 128 poor individuals to try to understand the difference between their thinking and habits.

And in his article, Corley highlighted 24 core beliefs that are consistently found among those who become wealthy.

I’m going to share the beliefs in a moment, with my own insights and perspectives.

But here’s why this is important.  And why it jumped out to me.

What is a core belief?  Well, another way to look at it is a principle.  Which fits perfectly within my Architecture of a Skill model I referred to the other day.  Directing everything you do are your principles — your core beliefs.  Those principles lead you to choose specific strategies.  From those strategies, you apply certain techniques.  And then on a moment-by-moment basis, you practice habits with specific tactics.

If you consider building wealth as a skill (and it is), then the following core beliefs are the principles on which your wealth-building skill can be developed.

Corley’s core beliefs — based on his research — are in bold below.  My reactions, insights, and perspectives from knowing and studying many successful entrepreneurs who’ve become self-made “rich people” follow each.

Anyone can become rich.

There are countless examples.  Regardless of background.  If you’re willing to work for it and apply the principles, you can do it.  That doesn’t mean it will be easy.  And some come to it with HUGE disadvantages, based on race, gender, environmental factors, and more.  But in nearly every situation, there’s one or more examples of someone who made it and grew relative wealth.  Future-rich look to those as examples.  Forever-poor look to them as exceptions.  Only one mindset is helpful.

Daily self-improvement, or growth, will lead to success.

A million small steps in the right direction.  The power of compounding.  This is the surest path to riches.  And it’s what you have the most control over.

I am responsible for the circumstances of my life.

This doesn’t mean you created them — for example, you didn’t decide where you were born, and to what parents.  Warren Buffett often talks about how he “won the genetic lottery.”  Many other rich people count their good fortunes in background and opportunity.  However, that’s not the totality of what “responsible” means.  I like to think of it this way — I am able to decide my response to the circumstances in my life.  I’ve chosen thousands of responses in the past that have led me to today.  And I’ll choose thousands more responses in the future that will decide where I go.  Each moment, I can choose how to respond to life, and it will influence the path I walk for the rest of my life.

Money and wealth are good.

Money and wealth are the byproduct of ethical value creation.  They are a measurement in a game of doing good, of how much good you’ve done for others.  Perhaps “the love of money is the root of all evil,” meaning choosing money over people leads to evil behavior.  But the money itself is not evil.  Rather, it is a measurement of good.  Also, it is an opportunity to do good in the world.  It represents access to resources, that you can give to others who may have no other way of getting them without your help.

There is an abundance of money and wealth to go around.

The importance of this is that money and wealth transfer is NOT win-lose.  Rather, it’s win-win.  There’s a ton of money and wealth out there.  You getting it doesn’t mean you have to take it from someone else.  Rather, they give it to you of their own free will, because of value you provide.  And they give it to you knowing they will earn more into the future, because money is always flowing in great abundance.

I can solve any problem.

Life is full of problems and challenges.  This does not scare me.  It won’t be easy.  But I can — and will — face problems head-on, and work for a solution.

I can overcome any obstacle.

Life is full of obstacles.  It’s full of things that stand in my way.  Those are mere hiccups in the course of my life, because I’m always looking beyond them, and moving through them as best as I am able.

I create my own luck.

Luck does play a critical role in life.  There are so many instances where success would not be had, were it not for luck.  However, the only way I can get lucky is by showing up and playing the game.  A golf analogy.  A hole in one is a “lucky” occurrence.  However, you’re far more likely to have that luck — and much more consistently, too — if you shoot 36 holes of golf per day than if you go out once a summer and hit the ball around.

Opportunities are everywhere.

They may be there to be seized.  They may be there to be created.  But opportunities abound for those who know how to spot them, and importantly, for those who have the willingness to do the work to have them fulfill their potential.

Opportunity does not knock. I have to go out and find it and take action.

You can’t sit around waiting for opportunity.  Hollywood stars are not found in their basements playing video games.  They’re spotted at audition after audition, in B-movie after B-movie, until finally they land a role that puts them front and center.  Every industry is like this.  Contrary to the “overnight success, discovered from nothing” narrative that we all love, most success is only achieved after far more hard work than most are willing to admit.

Failure is just another way to learn.

Oh my goodness.  This is so critical.  Your brain literally weighs failure as 2X as important than success.  With that, lessons learned in failure are far more salient.  Learning how to succeed is more a matter of learning to not repeat what doesn’t work, and getting lucky finding things that do.

No one succeeds on their own. I can only succeed if I surround myself with other success-minded people.

Every success-oriented person you surround yourself with is a multiplier.  They will push you forward and toward you goals.  They will be a resource for how to succeed.  While each of us has our own responsibility to create our success, it’s far easier to do it alongside of and through the cooperation of others.

I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

Maybe not on my own.  But I can create the vision and assemble the team and make it happen.  There’s no obstacle too large for me to at least try.  And even if I try and fail, I’ll do so in a way where I fail forward and thus achieve success anyway.

Time is the most valuable resource. I must make efficient use of my time. Wasting it is a crime.

I hate myself for every hour wasted in idle activities that do not bring me closer to my goal.  This is my own personal form of self-torture.  Others see me as far more productive and efficient with my time than I see myself — but that’s what drives me to get better.  Related: I despise when others waste my time, and that alone is enough for me to distance myself from them.

Birds of a feather flock together. I will avoid toxic people and surround myself with success-minded people.

My mental and emotional state is absolutely critical for the achievement of my goals.  And I get that based on who I’m around every day.  I reject people who lower my “vibration” and am attracted to people who raise it.

Dreams and goals are the rungs on the ladder of success.

I’m the one who is climbing.  And I climb it through my daily habits.  But I know that if I don’t decide where I’m going, I won’t go anywhere.  So I set one goal after another and climb them as I ascend to my desired success.

If I help others succeed, I will succeed.

“You can get whatever you want in life by helping others get what they want.”  That Zig Ziglar quote (or paraphrase) rings true.  When I help other people succeed, it comes back to me.  Maybe it’s Karma.  Maybe something more concrete.  But the universe seems to have a force that rewards those who help others.

If I improve the lives of others, I will improve my life.

By bringing value to others, by making their days better, by treating them with kindness and love and respect, I get the same in return.  It’s not necessarily measured in money, but as a way of life it’s rewarding on its own, and it tends to put me in spots where I can gain wealth as well.

Always exceed the expectations of others.

The opposite of this is to always fail the expectations of others, which leads to a horrible place.  On that alone, I work to outperform others’ expectations for me.

I am in control of my thoughts and emotions.

Not every moment.  But I try to be.  I try to exercise control, and manage those situations where I let my thoughts, emotions, words, or actions get away from me.  I’m cultivating right thought and right action, and through that I achieve what I set out to achieve.

Never quit on a dream.

Sure, you may pivot.  Or find another way to get there.  But being irrationally determined to achieve a goal is often the only way to get through all the problems and obstacles that will come up on the way to it.  So you don’t quit.

Success takes time.

Remember when everyone was going to become a Bitcoin billionaire?  LOL.  Yeah.  People who get rich often have an early lesson in making a small fortune, fast, only to see it disappear.  There’s nothing wrong with getting rich quick.  But when it happens, it often means you don’t have the financial intelligence to keep it.  So it goes about as quick as it comes.  Enduring success tends to snowball through time — and the longer you spend building it, the more likely you are to keep it and keep it growing.

I must save more than I earn and invest my savings in my dreams and goals.

There’s two ways to put aside more money.  Earning more, and saving a bigger percentage of what you earn.  Earning more is practically unlimited, if you develop the skills of entrepreneurship.  Saving a bigger percentage is very limited, especially if you don’t develop financially-valuable skills.  The fastest wealth-builders do both.  They earn more, and save more, on a regular basis.  And before long, they also figure out how to make their money make money (as opposed to making money through work), which is the ultimate wealth-building skill.

I am amazing and unstoppable.

Irrational self-confidence.  Not necessarily in any particular skill.  For example, if the future rich person says, “I am an amazing and unstoppable copywriter,” they may quickly get beaten down in marketing tests.  But if they say, “I am amazing and unstoppable in my ability to solve problems, break through obstacles, and overcome failure,” they can use that form of confidence to build valuable skills and achieve their goals.

From Roy: How many of these have you internalized?

I don’t necessarily use every one of these core beliefs to drive my thoughts, actions, and decisions every day.  But as I’ve internalized more and more of them — to the point where my behavior comes from these principles — I find myself enjoying more success, monetarily and in life in general.

And here’s one more I’ll add to the list, that the truly happy successful people I’ve known have embraced:

Happiness and wealth are two separate and unrelated things.  And I’ll take both!

Okay, so that last bit is a little tongue-in-cheek.  But it’s true.  You can be happy and broke, or rich and miserable.  But having money can solve a lot of the problems in life that come from not having money, and so it’s nice to both live a happy life, and one where your comfort and security are protected through resources you’ve earned by giving value to others.

Here’s the link to Rich Habits on Amazon.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr