Friday, April 4, 2014
Learning Lessons From The Rich
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Just a few years ago the news was filled with the protests against the rich with Occupy Wall Street. The topic of income inequality is still strongly debated in some news circles and with certain politicians catering to the Occupy Wall Street types. Are all our problems caused by the rich? Do the rich pay their fair share? A study in 2008 showed that the top 1% paid 38% of all the federal income tax. The top 50 % of wage earners paid 97% of the federal income tax while the bottom 50 % paid only 3% (http://blog.heritage.org/2011/10/04/in-pictures-how-much-the-top-earners-already-pay-in-taxes/ ). So is the answer just keep squeezing the top earners for more money or can we learn from them to better our own economic lives?
Learning from the rich is the basis for a book by Thomas Corley who is a CPA. His book is Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. His book is not a dry fact filled non-fiction work. He shares in the introduction that he had spent years studying the lives of successful wealthy individuals. His books shares common principles he found that helped these individuals take advantage of what he calls “opportunity luck”. That luck is described as the results that comes from keeping good habits that improves life rather than tears down life. I will go through the principles here. I encourage you to pick up a copy of the book as it is an engaging read as he shares fictional stories of characters who you can see are down on their luck and are open to change personal habits to improve their lives.
The first principle Thomas presents is that the Rich follow good daily habits every day. I had a Sociology Professor in Chicago who always started each lecture reminding us that man was a creature of habits. The issue is what kind of habits – good or bad? So the first point is to be aware and take some time to look at your habits and see if they are helping or hurting you?
The second principle is to be a goal setter. The author states that the rich commonly have a habit of following daily, monthly, yearly and long-range goals. I have mentioned this point many times in past blogs as to the importance of being goal oriented. Having long range plans for a big picture mind helps with your future. I of course temper this with the thoughts of Dr. Jim Bright with his thoughts on chaos theory. With our goal mindsets be flexible is the chaos of life as chaos can make changes in our long range goals.
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Moving on to principle three which is to be intentionally engaged in self-improvement. Thomas states, “Successful people read for self-improvement. They are perpetual students.” (page 45). Being a Bookhead this principle is my favorite. I was listening to Ravi Zacharias in a presentation he was doing in Sweden the other day. In the Q & A time he told one attendee to “read well”. “Read for the heart and for the mind.” Also in reading well Ravi said to read a breadth of information to develop the mind. Mr. Corey on reading emphasizes rightly the importance of reading up on journals and books that relate to your career of choice. Many say there is no time to read? He suggests just read 30 minutes a day -- journals and books that will help with your success. That short time does not seem like a lot. But if you read just 30 minutes a day that would be over 182 hours a year. Imagine the knowledge increase that would add to your career life.
His principle number four is that the successful rich devote their habits to caring for their health. Exercise and healthy eating is important in their daily regimens. This gives them more energy to be at their best every day.
The fifth principle of successful people is making it a habit to build strong relationships. An important issue in career building today is networking. The successful know the importance of networking. They are not about using people instead of how can they help others. An important question is how can they keep improving relationships?
The sixth principle is that the successful live in a balanced state of moderation. They do not live in excess. This may be a surprise as many think of the rich living lives of wild excess. Of course some do but that is why the author keeps the focus on the truly successful.
The seventh principle is a mindset habit of doing things now instead of putting things off to later. This goes back to the goal orientation they carry with them.
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His eighth principle is that the successful engage in what he calls rich thinking. By that he means positive thinking and making use of positive visualization. They carry with their thinking a thankful attitude about their lives.
The ninth rich principle is the habit of being a saver. He mentions that the successful pay themselves first. I would differ in this from a Christian viewpoint, I believe the concept of the tithe in giving back to my church and charities that help the poor. That always comes first to my mind. Yet at the same time I agree with him that to be successful there needs to be a saving and investment mindset.
His final tenth principle is the habit of controlling thoughts and emotions. Thomas states, “They use the following technique when faced with a difficult situation that presents itself: ‘Think , Evaluate, and React’”.(65). Too many run into trouble by having that backwards – react, evaluate and by then it is too late to think as the damage is already done.
Will Thomas Corley’s book make you rich? Maybe yes maybe no. I do believe by following the guiding principles he has researched, you will be definitely moving more towards a Living More Than OK life. In the book he adds tips and ideas that go along with each of the principles. The book shows that it is more helpful to learn from the rich their habits instead of hating them out of jealousy.
Reflection: Which of the 10 habit principles are you strongest in? Which of the habit principles do you need to work on to improve?