Millionaires have more in common with each other than just their bank accounts—for some millionaires, striking it rich took courage, salesmanship, vision, and passion. Find out which traits are most common among the seven-figure bank account set and what you can do to build some of these skills yourself.
6 Millionaire Traits That You Can Adopt
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1. Independent Thinking
Millionaires think differently. Not just about money, about everything. The time and energy everybody else spends attempting to conform, millionaires spend creating their own path.
Since thoughts impact actions, people who want to be wealthy should think in a way that will get them to that goal. Independent thinking doesn't mean doing the opposite of what the rest of the world is doing; it means having the courage to follow what is important to you. So, the lesson here is to forge your own way. Let your success drive you to financial spoils rather than doing it the other way around and trying to chase the money.
For example, David Geffen is a self-made millionaire with $9.9 billion to his name in 2021, according to Forbes. This American record executive and film producer was a college dropout, but Geffen made millions by founding record agencies, including DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., and signed some of the most prominent musicians of the '70s and '80s. Although he didn't take what many assume to be the usual path to success, his tireless work ethic and sense of personal conviction about artists' potential allowed him to rack up a sizable fortune.
Millionaires are creative visionaries with a positive attitude. In other words, wealthy people have big dreams, and they believe they will come true. As such, wealth seekers should set lofty goals and not be afraid of uncharted territory.
Bill Gates, the world's second-richest person in 2021 with a net worth of $124 billion, according to Forbes, did just that. The co-founder of Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) brought personal computers to the masses. Gates jumped into the personal computers business in 1975 and held on tight, creating Microsoft Windows in 1985. When consumers began to bring computers into their homes, Gates was ready to profit from this new age.
In mid-March 2020, Gates stepped down as a board member of Microsoft. He co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private charitable foundation to which the couple has donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock. Gates is also now a staunch spokesperson and scholar on the subject of climate change.
Writers Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill interviewed successful people to determine the traits they had in common for their book, Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice (1992). The authors found that successful people focus on their area of excellence. Millionaires also tend to partner with others to supplement their weaker skills. If you don't know what you are good at, poll friends and family. Use training and mentors to refine your strong skills.
Billionaire investing guru Warren Buffett says, "Money is a by-product of something I like to do very much." Enjoying your work allows you to have the discipline to work hard at it every day. People who interact with money for a living, bankers, for example, often love creating new deals and persuading others to complete a transaction.
But finding your dream job may take time, and becoming a millionaire takes time. According to Entrepreneur, even the wealthiest millionaires took an average of eight years to earn their first million. Not only that, but many experience significant failure along the way. Pavle Marinkovic, writing for Medium.com, shows that Warren Buffett, Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO, and Rupert Murdoch of the Fox media empire, all made huge mistakes before they were successful.
So, if you want to be rich, stop doing things you don't enjoy, and do what you love. If you don't know what you love, try a few things and keep trying until you hit on the right thing.
Millionaires are willing to sacrifice time and money to achieve their goals. They are willing to take a risk now for the opportunity of achieving something greater in the future. Investing may include securities or starting a business—either way, it is a step toward achieving great financial rewards. Start investing now.
Millionaires are constantly presenting their ideas and persuading others to buy into them. Good salesmen are oblivious to critics and naysayers. In other words, they don't take no for an answer. Millionaires also have good social skills. In fact, when writer T. Harv Eker analyzed the results of a survey of 753 millionaires for his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (2005), he found social skills were more important than IQ.
The ability to communicate with people is essential to selling your idea. Contrary to the traditional view of salesmen, millionaires cite honesty as an important factor in their success. If you want to be a millionaire, be an honest salesman, and polish your social skills.
The Bottom Line
Becoming a millionaire is not a goal that can be achieved overnight for most people. In fact, many of the world's richest people built their wealth over many years (sometimes even generations) by making smart but often bold decisions, putting their skills to the best use possible, and doggedly pursuing their vision. If you can learn anything about millionaires, it's that for many of them, their riches are not necessarily what most sets them apart from the rest of the world—it's what they did to earn those millions that really stands out.