Rich Habits, Poor Habits

There is an idea that the things that you do every day, and the thoughts that you have in your head, all have a direct impact on the level of your success. One person who has explored this, and indeed tested it, is writer Thomas Corley. In his book "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals," he examined the thoughts and habits of 361 people for a period of five years. A little more than half were defined as rich, and a little less than half were poor.

During the course of his exploration he came to identify what he referred to as “poverty habits” and “rich habits,” but the division of the two types of behaviour between the two groups was not clear-cut. In practice, both members of these groups exhibited some of the habits of their counterparts.

Corley came to the conclusion that to significantly improve their chances of success, it was important for people to make sure that more than half of their habits were of the “rich” kind. He feels that while there is no magic trick to becoming rich and successful, there is a benefit to accumulating good habits over time, which can build to the point where they are eventually significant enough to make success more likely to happen for you.

Physical Exercise

One of the must-have habits of wealthy people is regular physical exercise. Corley found that 76% of rich people devote 30 minutes a day to walking, biking, jogging, and the like. Exercising on a regular basis is what bodies were built to do, and the benefits can be clearly felt. It clears the head, improves motivation and is a great stress reliever too.

A vigorous bout on the squash court at lunchtime is a great way to combat the mid-afternoon slump. Exercise improves blood flow, releases endorphins, and contributes to improved sleep too. Let’s not forget the health benefits as well: lower blood pressure, a stronger heart, and improved bone density (through resistance exercise). They all add up to a more effective and happier business person, or just person.

Build Relationships

We are social animals, and relationships are important for our general well-being. Wealthy people are typically good at cultivating relationships, seeing networking as a way to build useful social contacts. Investing time in other people and nurturing relationships is not just good for establishing a large number of useful contacts though, it’s also good for building the community identity of a person. Identity is important for good mental health, which in turn is important for success. Wealthy people prioritize relationship-building and you should too.

Take Time to Set Your goals

Rich people are good at setting and pursuing goals which help them to achieve an overall aim. The key to doing this is making sure that the goals are specific, measurable, and achievable within a declared time. This is probably the easy part, and the difficult part is making sure that you attack them each day without fail. This is definitely a ‘rich’ habit, and one which everyone can benefit from.

Read. Lots!

Author and speaker Grant Cardone has said that many of the top CEOs read something like 60 books a year. In contrast, the average American worker gets through just 1 book in that time and pockets around 319 times less money

60 books is quite a lot of reading, but Corley notes that most rich people watch little or no TV, and they listen to audiobooks during their downtime and on the way to work too. But the quantity isn’t as important as the quality here. Those 60 books are all self-improvement, leadership, marketing and management titles, so even the leisure time of the dedicated rich is filled with learning. Even 10 self-improvement books a year would put you ahead of most readers, so why not give it a try?

Practice Self-Affirming Statements

Daily affirmations can feel a little odd, as you say pleasant things to yourself in the mirror, but as long as they’re grounded in reality and concerned with realistic and achievable goals, they can help you to realize your aims by making you feel more positive and reminding yourself that you are dedicated to the journey. Try specific ones like, “I will achieve 5 extra sales every week,” rather than vague ones like, “I will become a billionaire.”


Corley discovered that 72 percent of his wealthy sample said they devote at least 5 hours a week as volunteers, compared to just 12 percent of the poor sample. Whichever group you are in, you can gain a lot from giving your time to good causes. You might also find that you open up new networking opportunities too.

Use a Mentor

Mentors are great because they’ve been where you are now and so are better placed to advise you about the challenges you face than anyone else. That’s why Mark Zuckerberg relied on Steve Jobs as a mentor, and Bill Gates counted Warren Buffett amongst his most trusted advisors


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