The billionaire mindset myth

by Admin
Updated: June 27, 2018

The billionaire mindset myth exposed as a set of attitudes you probably already have

There is a popular idea that you can become rich by changing the way you think: If you can find out how people who are already rich think and then start thinking like they do, you’ll become rich too. This is a popular idea because it sounds reasonable and it’s easy. The truth is that, apart from those who inherited their wealth or won a lottery, rich people became rich by doing something and their thought processes played a secondary role.

A billion is a thousand million: 1,000,000,000. It’s a big number! Billions are of orders of magnitude 109-1011, 10-12 digit numbers. Beyond that we have trillions.

What is a billionaire?

Since exchange rates vary, we generally use US dollars as the standard and define a billionaire as someone who’s net worth is equal to or greater than $1,000,000,000.

How to become a billionaire

Mainly you own things that become highly valued. Typically these are shares in one or more companies. If you own 10,000 shares of a company valued at $100 per share, you are a millionaire. Adjust the calculation up 1,000 times and you are a billionaire. It doesn’t reflect how much cash you may or may not have and if you start selling your shares in any quantity their value will drop.

The billionaire mindset problem

As far as I can tell, most of the people who promote the billionaire mindset are not billionaires themselves and have never even met a billionaire. To write with any authority, it would be necessary to know a representative sample. Few people are in such a position. At the time of writing, it is estimated that there are around 2,000 billionaires in the world (a quarter+ of them in the USA) which is less than 0.00003% of the population.

The multi-millionaire mindset

I’m fairly sure that I don’t know any billionaires so the best I can do here is give you some insight into the multi-millionaire mindset. Nevertheless, since it’s not uncommon to go through the stage of being a multi-millionaire first, this might still be valid:

  • No choice: The starting point is dictated circumstances and opportunities more than any kind of grand vision.
  • No plan: Begin with a good understanding of how to make a profit and do that for a while. Strategies & plans follow.
  • Simply work: Work consistently at the tasks that turn a profit. Don’t try to do too many things at once and keep what you’re trying to do as simple as possible - work simple.
  • Gearing: Have the know-how & ability to increase production effectively and efficiently.
  • Persistence: Commitment, from the conviction that you are right. Stick with your idea until it catches-on or stay in business long enough to implement a better idea...
  • Pay attention, learn, modify: Observe and listen, “get your hands dirty” and make improvements.
  • Be lucky: While lucky breaks in the obvious sense seem to be significant, this mostly seems to mean finding the right people as the business grows.
  • Short temper: Apparently, being nice in the face of incompetence is seriously counter-productive.
  • Not positive or negative: Often interpreted by others as always positive, it seems to be more the case that emotions & philosophies get pushed aside by practicalities.
  • Never fail: It’s not that failure doesn’t happen (it does), it’s that it has no emotional attachment. It never feels like failure.
  • Balanced life: Not at all.
  • Health: Sometimes work takes priority over health.
  • Lost faith in humanity: People will disappoint you in strangest ways.

The myth exposed

How does your mindset compare to the attitudes listed above? You’re probably not far off, even if you aren’t a multi-millionaire at the moment. Multi-millionaires are just normal people who have a high net worth. The difference is not so much how you think but what you do.

Caveats: Pick your battles and your businesses with care - some are easier to win than others. Also, there is more potential for bad luck than you can ever account for. You can do everything right and still fail.

Some truth in the myth

There is one aspect of the multi-millionaire mindset that does seem to be important and that is the attitude to failure as something external. Most people find this difficult.

More info

inc.com and lifehack.org have better-than-average lists of traits.

Paul C Brunson’s, “20 Habits for Success I Learned Working for Two Billionaires” (Part 1 & Part 2) has some good observations based on direct personal experience.

“A Millionaire Mindset Never Made Anyone Rich” by Barry Ritholtz at bloomberg.com reinforces the point that a mindset alone is not enough.

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