10 Ways Rich People Think Differently- A Thomas Corley Research

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If you ask Thomas Corley, being rich has very little to do with luck and everything to do with habits.

Corley, who spent five years monitoring and analyzing the daily activities and habits of people both wealthy and living in poverty (233 wealthy and 128 poor, specifically), isolated what he calls "rich habits" – and many of them are simply patterns of thought.

10 Ways Rich People Think Differently"I found in my research that wealthy people are by and large optimists," he says. "They practice gratitude and look at happiness like a habit."

Corley, who presents and explains many of his findings in his book "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals" and on his website, defines "rich people" as those with an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more, and "poor people" as those with an annual income or $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less.

Here are 10 ways Corley found that rich people think differently, based on statements with which they identify.

1. Rich people believe their habits have a major impact on their lives.
"Daily habits are critical to financial success in life."

  • Rich people who agree: 52%
  • Poor people who agree: 3%

Wealthy people think that bad habits create detrimental luck and that good habits create "opportunity luck," meaning they create the opportunities for people to make their own luck. "When I looked at luck," Corley remembers, "a lot of rich people said they were lucky and a lot of poor people said they were unlucky."

2. Rich people believe in the American dream.
"The American dream is no longer possible."

  • Rich people who agree: 2%
  • Poor people who agree: 87%

"The American Dream is the idea of unlimited potential, that you can make it on your own," says Corley. In his study, the vast majority of rich people believed that wealth is a big part of the American dream (94%), and that the dream is still possible.

3. Rich people value relationships for professional and personal growth.
"Relationships are critical to financial success."

  • Rich people who agree: 88%
  • Poor people who agree: 17%

Not only do rich people feel that their relationships are critical to their success, but they put a lot of effort into maintaining them, making a habit of calling up contacts to congratulate them on life events, wish them a happy birthday, or reaching out just to say hello. "When I applied the hello calls and the life event calls to my own life," recalls Corley, "I ended up making another $60,000 as a result."

4. Rich people love meeting new people.
"I love meeting new people."

  • Rich people who agree: 68%
  • Poor people who agree: 11%

Hand in hand with valuing relationships comes making new ones. Rich people both love meeting new people and believe that being liked is important to financial success (in fact, it's a whopping 95% that believe in the power of likability, compared to 9% of poor people).

5. Rich people think that saving is hugely important.
"Saving money is critical to financial success."

  • Rich people who agree: 88%
  • Poor people who agree: 52%

"Being wealthy is not just making a lot of money," explains Corley. "It's saving a lot, and accumulating wealth. Many of the people I studied aren't wealthy because they made a lot, but because they saved a lot." He's trying to instill what he calls the 80/20 rule in his own children: Save 20% of your income while living on 80%.

6. Rich people feel that they determine their path in life.
"I believe in fate."

  • Rich people who agree: 10%
  • Poor people who agree: 90%

Poor people are significantly more likely to believe that genetics are important to becoming wealthy, and significantly less likely to believe that they're the cause of their own financial status in life. "Most of the wealthy people I talked to were businesspeople who weren't always wealthy," Corley explains, "but they had this attitude that they could do anything."

7. Rich people value creativity over intelligence.
"Creativity is critical to financial success."

  • Rich people who agree: 75%
  • Poor people who agree: 11%

While rich people are more likely to believe that creativity influences success, poor people are more likely to think that being "intellectually gifted" is critical. They're also more likely to believe that wealth is usually accidental. "If you look at my stats, you'll find that a lot of wealthy people were C students," says Corley. "There's more to wealth than just being smart."

8. Rich people enjoy their jobs.
"I like (or liked) what I do for a living."

  • Rich people who agree: 85%
  • Poor people who agree: 2%

"Many of the wealthy in my study loved their job – it's not an accident," says Corley. In fact, 86% of the wealthy worked an average of 50 hours or more per week (compared to 43% of the poor), and 81% say they do more than their job requires (versus 17%). Corley says it's related to the idea of creativity being important to financial success: "These people found a creative pursuit that could turn into monetary value. When you engage in a creative pursuit that can make money, the rewards are often obscene."

9. Rich people believe that their health influences their success.
"Good health is critical to financial success."

  • Rich people who agree: 85%
  • Poor people who agree: 13%

"One of the individuals in my study told me 'I can't make money in a hospital bed,'" Corley remembers. "Wealthy people think that being healthy means fewer sick days, which translates into more productivity and more money."

10. Rich people are willing to take risks.
"I've taken a risk in search of wealth."

  • Rich people who agree: 63%
  • Poor people who agree: 6%

"A lot of the wealthy people in the study were business owners who started their own businesses," Corley explains. "They became successes because they were master self-educators who learned from the school of hard knocks." In fact, 27% of the wealthy people in Corley's study admit they've failed at least once in life or in business, compared with 2% of the poor. "Failure is like scar tissue on the brain," Corley says. "The lessons last forever."


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