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The One Habit of Self-Made Millionaires

Master the trait that separates the millionaires from the middle class.

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The more time Lewis Schiff spent speaking about the seven behaviors of highly successful entrepreneurs from his book Business Brilliant, the more he became struck with a startling revelation. It occurred to him one of the seven best practices was far more important that the rest. “It is the one habit I find over and over again that is present in every single successful self-made millionaire I study,” Schiff said at the Propelify Innovation Festival in Hoboken, N.J.

Related: 10 Money Habits That Will Help You Get Serious About Prosperity

It’s a habit that any one of us can do, and it’s completely available and accessible to everyone. Adopting this habit can help us make defining decisions about our careers. When applied with rigor, it can make the difference between achieving a high net worth and struggling to keep up with the middle class. And it’s the same trait Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both named when asked to write down a single word they would credit for their success. The word is focus.

Watch the full video of Lewis Schiff’s talk at Propelify:

Schiff, who has been analyzing and studying the world’s most successful business people for more than 15 years, shares the three questions that led him to identify this powerful habit and why so many of us fail to adopt it. The questions, asked in a survey to self-made entrepreneurs of varying net worth — ranging from less than a million to those with more than 30 million — provide illuminating insight into how the mindset of millionaires sets them apart from the middle class. Try asking yourself these questions to see which end of the spectrum you’re on. Are you focusing like the middle-class or like a millionaire?

1. Do you know what you are exceptionally good at that makes you money?

Just 55 percent of Schiff’s “middle-class” survey respondents — categorized as those with a net worth of less than 1 million — even had an answer for this question. Compare that to the 97 percent of the “ultra-high net worth” group — those with a net worth of more than 30 million — that were aware of their exceptional skills. Schiff calls this “learning your language,” and it’s an incredibly important first step in the quest for success. “You’re probably exceptional at something but you don’t know it, because it comes so easily to you, so you do not properly value this skill. You don’t think it’s a big deal,” he said. “In fact every great success story I’ve ever studied has identified that exceptional quality and turned it into their business.”

2. Write down areas where you’re exceptional. How many did you write down?

Again, a telling pattern emerged. “Unbelievably the lowest net worth people in our community had the greatest number of things that they thought they were excellent at. As levels of wealth go up, the number of things you think you’re exceptional at goes down.” The middle class survey respondents, those with the lowest net worth, wrote down an average of six things. The ultra-high net worth group? Two.

Related: 8 Tips To Become A Millionaire This Year

3. Do you work to get better at things you’re not exceptional at?

Schiff saw that as levels of wealth go up, this answer was increasingly “no.” Fifty-eight percent of the middle-class group said yes, they do work to get better at their weaknesses. By the time you get to the ultra-high net worth group, zero percent of survey respondents spend any time working on their weaknesses. Tied together, the survey questions paint a clear picture of the differing approach of the middle class and the self-made millionaires.

Here you have the middle class which has six behaviors that they think they’re exceptional at in the workplace, plus with all their free time, they’re working to get good at everything else. You can immediately see, compared to those with ultra-high net worth, who are good at only two things and spend no time trying to get good at everything, how that creates an opportunity to focus that can create success.  – Lewis Schiff

The challenge, Schiff argues, is not so much understanding that focus is the secret to success but understanding what prevents us from focusing. Why does the middle-class spend so much time diffusing their interests? Schiff attributes this to the conventional wisdom instilled in us from an early age by well-meaning parents, teachers and bosses. We’re encouraged to work on our weaknesses, be well-rounded, earn straight As in all our classes, and otherwise diffuse our focus from the day we are born. As the self-made millionaires figured out early on, bucking convention to singularly focus on what you do exceptionally may make the difference in achieving the success of your dreams.

How have you learned to focus? Tweet @lewisschiff and @letspropel, and let us know. For more from the Propelify Innovation Festival, visit the website.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com

Aaron Price is the founder and CEO of Propelify where idle ideas don't fly and innovators unite. The Propelify Innovation Festival unites thousands of innovators to celebrate what’s new and create what’s next with talks, exhibitors, drones, virtual reality, investors, music, and more. Aaron is also the founder of the award winning NJ Tech Meetup, the state's largest technology and entrepreneurial community with over 6000 members.

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Personal Finance

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life

There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see it every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.

Tony Robbins

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Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfilment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?

For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.

Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives. If you make these decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like the majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.

Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on

At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.

Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.

Related: 10 YouTube Channels Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

Which area do you tend to focus on more: What you have or what’s missing from your life?

I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.

Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional wellbeing and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to feel deeply grateful for your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfilment can be found.

Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?

If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.

When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision: 

Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?

Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.

Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.

When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?

If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?

Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?

Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.

I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85% to 90% of those assembled raise their hands.

How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It’s true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side-effect.

But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won’t find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like ‘life is not worth living,’ that’s an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.

Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.

When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit to what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone’s biochemistry in minutes.

So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.

Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:

Related: 13 Habits Of Self-Made Millionaires You Could Adopt Today

Decision 3: What will you do?

The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you’re in. If you’re angry, you’re going to behave quite differently than if you’re feeling playful or outrageous.

If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.

Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.

Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.

Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behaviour on those they respect, enjoy and love.

The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.

Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by. It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad, or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.

Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.

It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.

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Personal Finance

7 Steps To Achieve Financial Freedom

Achieving financial freedom doesn’t necessarily mean becoming filthy rich – not that that hurts.

Brian Tracy

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In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy explains the seven steps you need to take to achieve financial freedom. Now, financial freedom doesn’t mean becoming filthy rich – lottery winners go bankrupt all the time. Instead, financial freedom is about becoming disciplined and using your money in a way that ensures you can live the sort of life you want both now and in the future.

Related: 5 Qualities Of Successful Entrepreneurs

That’s why the first step isn’t about getting a lot of money. Instead, it’s about teaching yourself to think positively about money. That way, you’ll be in the right mindset to move forward.

Click play to learn more.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Personal Finance

4 Ways To Become A Millionaire Even When You Start With Little

It costs nothing to take advantage of the limitless opportunities online.

Timothy Sykes

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The hardest part of becoming successful is getting started to begin with. But despite the challenges ahead of you, there’s a way to become a millionaire when starting with little. I’m going to show you four reasons why you can become a millionaire with just a small investment.

1First focus on learning, not big gain

Education is your greatest weapon. Focus on learning in the beginning. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on making huge gains in the beginning. Learn everything you can because this is how you build the foundations for long-term gains.

They say that if a millionaire goes bankrupt they’ll nearly always be able to get it back. And that’s because they might have lost their money, but they have the knowledge of how to get back to where they need to be.

Related: 21 Choices Millionaires Make That You Aren’t Making But Should Be

2You can learn loads about any topic online

online-learning

I’m grateful for the internet. It’s the single biggest library in the world. You’re reading this article right now and you’re acquiring knowledge you wouldn’t have been able to acquire 40 years ago. Use the internet to its fullest extent, whether that’s through reading books, browsing articles or watching video tutorials.

Set some time aside every day to learn something online. It could be a video series or a favorite blog. When you get into the habit of learning regularly you’ll find that you advance much faster.

3Focus on the niche you love

These days you can learn about anything and target the niche you’re passionate about. This is what I was able to do with penny stocks. I found a gap in the market and provided knowledge to people who wouldn’t have otherwise being able to access this sort of information.

You can do that with absolutely any niche. When you find a niche you’re passionate about and you use the reach of the Internet you start to make huge gains.

4Prove your expertise by creating free content

Your reputation as an authority is the new business card. There’s a reason I created a penny stock guide and made it free for all. You may have already seen ads for it on social media. The way to succeed with little is to create a reputation through your content.

It’s the gateway to success because through free content you start to build relationships with others who value your work. And from there everyone gets richer.

Related: How To Become A Millionaire, Explained In 1 Minute

You can do lots with a little

The days when you needed a huge investment to become successful are long gone. These days you can do so much with just a little. Find what you love, advance your knowledge in that area, and create a product that fulfills a need. Finally, work on building up relationships through portraying yourself as an authority on your subject.

Combine everything together and you can accomplish anything.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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