Chasing the Habits of Rich People Won’t Teach You Success.
You’ve probably seen articles detailing what Warren Buffett does every day, or what Elon Musk eats before noon, or that the rich have “one trait” that the poor don’t. It’s interesting, but when it comes to wealth and success, these habits teach you nothing about what it takes to do it. In fact, they are counterproductive in some way.
Here are a few things I’ve learned the rich do :
These are all great habits. However, to assume that they induce a person to find wealth is a huge stretch. Worse, most of these habits are reversed . When you are already rich, you have flexibility, so you can do things like get up early for a while.
It’s one thing to read about the habits of the rich and successful because they are interesting . Hell, we ourselves wrote about the daily habits of famous creative people . It’s fun! And these habits can be inspiring. However, the assumption that these habits will help you get rich is the opposite and ultimately not very helpful. Not only is there no established causal relationship between a habit and a lot of money, there is no correlation. Many poor people also call at birthdays.
Personal finance is personal
Ultimately, these profiles suggest that if you adopt the same habits as a wealthy business tycoon or Silicon Valley venture capitalist, you will become rich too. Of course, habits are important to money management. These are the rules. However, the point is that personal finance is not about copying other people’s habits or even following these rules . It’s about figuring out what works for you and then taking action .
By offering a simple plan for success and wealth, we take away what makes people truly successful: resourcefulness . I love the way Chris Guillebeau put it on an episode of the Smart Passive Income podcast :
There are always profiles of famous business leaders. And it’s like, “Hey, this is what Warren Buffett does every day. If you do the same, you will become like Warren Buffett “… and this is completely unrealistic. Because most people don’t have the resources that these people have. We don’t have tens of thousands of people telling us who we can lead. We don’t have the billions of dollars that Warren Buffett has. We can’t just ask, “What works for Warren Buffett? What works for Mark Zuckerberg? “… We have to say,” What works for us? “
This is not to say that you shouldn’t learn good habits. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a to- do list, call people on their birthday, or get up early like rich people do . You can even be happier or more productive. However, following these random habits will not make you rich and successful. If it were that easy, we would all be rich. Focusing on how to take control of your unique situation is what ultimately creates wealth.
Most “habit profiles” offer random, simplified advice
Perhaps the main problem with most habit profiles is that they are completely random.
For example, yes, Warren Buffett’s investment habits are worth learning as he is considered the greatest investor in the world. His financial habits are good too . That he reads 500 pages a week ? It’s great for him, but it has nothing to do with it. We all know reading is good, but reading is no secret to Buffett’s success. According to him, he built his fortune through passive investing . And it’s really helpful for those looking to get rich, like Buffett. The implication that you can develop one random habit for financial success is oversimplification of wealth advice.
Also, as Guillebeau points out, if you’re going to look at habits, it’s probably better to look at the habits of ordinary, everyday people like you who are making progress and improving their financial situation. And not only overall progress, but progress in the direction that matters to you, whether it is investing, spending more time during the day, or learning how to manage money. This is why personal finance blogs are so popular (and often a great source of information). They are written by real people with realistic lifestyles who document what really works.
In short, consider context, not just behavior. Consider the complete relationship between source, habit, and output.
None of this means these habits are useless. I read these profiles of habits and enjoy them.
They are simply useless when it comes to learning how to get rich and achieve something in your career. These habits may have helped them especially, but accumulating wealth takes a lot of hard work, effort, and action. It’s not as easy as getting up early, watching less TV, and keeping a journal.