18 May


When people talk about being successful loosely, they rarely realise that it would require determination, discipline and change. When you attempt to learn a new skill – you engage your brain into the process.  Depending on what the skills are, it may be tasking but as you do it more often, all your actions will be transformed into habits and moved into the deeper region of the brain. It is stated that it takes 21 – 90 days to learn a new habit and same time to un-learn a negative habit.

In a study conducted at Duke University back in 2006, researchers Neal, Wood, and Quinn found out that more than 45% of what we do each day is represented by habits; we are on autopilot half of our conscious lives; little active thinking is involved.

So, both good habits and bad habits find their way into the depths of your mind as they are created and reinforced for several times.

Tom Corley from RichHabits and the author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals has conducted a 5 years research on 233 wealthy people and 128 poor people. It took an entire year to analyze the data and write the book on his findings.

Tom was interviewed by Dave Ramsey (a NY Times best selling author) and in this interview Tom points out 20 of the major differences in habits of wealthy and poor people.

Now, I would like to think of a wealthy person as that of being mentally wealthy, spiritually wealthy, physically wealthy (healthy) and financial wealthy. I personally don’t like rich and famous individuals that  show-off their possessions at any opportunity.

To me, a wealthy person is someone who likes to give back to the society and who are humble in their appearances – the late Abiola was one person who was quite philantropic – there are not many like him in this country, but quite a few around the world who have made an impact with their wealth.

Take a look at Warren Buffet for example. He’s one of the richest persons alive and he’s living in a small house in Omaha and he drives an average car. He’s the kind of example I like to promote – not the wasteful lifestyle of some ‘wealthy’ people

Now I will like us to look at the habits of extraodinary people:

Health and Productivity

  1. 70% of the wealthy eat less than 300 kcals (calories) from junk food, while 97% of the poor eat more than 300 kcals. 23% of the wealthy people gamble, while 52% of the poor gamble. 
  2. 76% of the wealthy engage in aerobic exercises 4days/week, while 23% of the poor do it.
  3. 44% of the wealthy wake up 3 hours before work starts, compared to the 3% of the poor people who do it. 
  4. 67% of the wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV/day, compared to the 23% of the poor people who do that (they watch more TV). 
  5. 6% of the wealthy watch reality TV, while 78% of the poor people do it. 

It is said that good habits reinforce each other. If, for example, you exercise everyday, then you will most likely engage in eating healthier as well.  You will most probably have better sleeping routine. Yes?  At least when I follow that routine, it works for me – but I also have to work at keeping that routine. 🙂

Successful people are not time wasters. They appreciate and cherish time and they know that it is far more important than money. The spiritual mentor Dalai Lamar am sure doesn’t sit in front of the TV all day watching sports, news, or soap operas – that is even if TV’s are even in the monastary.

Long-term Orientation and Goals

  1. 80% of the wealthy are extremely focused on one thing at a time, compared to the 12% of the poor people. 
  2. 81% of the wealthy people maintain a to-do listwhile only 19% of the poor people do that. 
  3. 67% of the wealthy people write down their goals, compared to the 17% of the poor people who do it. 

So what does this imply:

Tony Robbins (the motivational speaker) says that the first and most important principle to success in life is concentration of power, the ability to focus on a single thing at a time.  This will drive all your mental and physical energy toward accomplishing that single goal.

Other success coaches such as Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar as well as Leo Babauta, the author of “The Power of Less” agree on the concentration of power principle.

For years I have practiced using to-do lists, in which i write my daily goals and next day I review all.  I have a monthly and yearly schedule list also in which I write all my goals for that period. I can say that this has helped me in maintaining my goals and gives for clarity and focus.

I personally think that people who do not have to-do lists or goals, go with the flow. They flow wherever their wandering mind takes them and most times don’t attain their goals and get frustrated. That is another facet of the law of minimal effort (living your life by inputting the minimum that is necessary to survive).

Commitment to the 3Ls (Life-Long Learning)

  1. 63% of the wealthy people listen to audio books during commute to work, compared to the 5% of the poor people who do it. 
  2. 88% of the wealthy read 30 minutes or more every day for education or career reasons, while only 2% of the poor people do that. 
  3. 86% of the wealthy believe in life-long educational self-improvement, while 5% of the poor people believe in that. 
  4. 86% of the wealthy people love to read, compared to the 26% of the poor people who love to read. 

So my interpretation is that:

Why do you think that wealthy people have so little to 0 time for watching TV?  Well the hard truth,Yeah, it’s because they read and develop themselves.   A motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said that:

“Wealthy people have huge libraries, while poor people have large TVs.” 

Audiobooks are great tools for learning. Brian Tracy likes to call the action of listening to audio books while driving as the University on Wheels because it has been said that the average person drives or commutes to work and back home for more than 100 hours each an every year.

There are people who do it for several hundreds of hours every year. This is equal to the time spent on earning a University degree. Amazing when you think about that!

So, if you listen to audio books on the subjects that you are most interested in, you’re like earning a degree each an every year. You become an expert in a certain field.

Think about it:

Why not listen to audio books on your most loved subjects while driving or commuting, instead of inefficiently spending that time listening to music or not listening to anything at all? Your brain is set to ‘dream’ mode!


Social Success

  1. 80% of the wealthy people make “happy birthday” calls, while only 11% of the poor people do it. 
  2. 6% of the wealthy say what’s on their mind, while 69% of the poor do it. 
  3. 79% of the wealthy people network 5 hours or more every month, while 16% of the poor people do it. 

My interpretation is that:

Doing personal happy birthday calls to people shows them that you really care about them. This will most likely create a positive attitude from them towards you.

The statistic says that very few wealthy people say what’s on their mind. I’d like to interpret it as these wealthy people do not act when their impulsive thinking kicks in, but rather they think and judge first and only then, if appropriate, they speak their mind;

I think that “less fortunate” people act impulsively, which will, most of the time, bring “bad luck” to them.

Also, wealthy and successful people know the importance of peering and creating a circle of positively reinforcing people. They know that success never comes individually but as a group.

Could Bill Gates have built Microsoft all by himself? Though he obviously is a smart guy, I doubt if he could have done it alone.

Could Zuckerberg grow Facebook to what it is today all by himself? I guess you know the answer.

Leaving a Legacy

  1. 63% of the wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month, compared to the 3% of the poor parents who do it. 
  2. 70% of the wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more/month, compared to the 3% of the poor parents who do it. 
  3. 74% of the wealthy parents teach good daily success habits to their children, compared to the 1% of the poor parents who do it.

I know that many poor people (financially speaking) are focused on making it to the next day. They are so preoccupied and they often forget to teach their children the right stuff. The situation can be somehow understandable, but think of it this way:

Should these parents want their children to end up like them? I think there is no excuse for parents to not offer the best for their children.

If they cannot provide the material possessions their children dwell upon, they should at least guide their children to life-long education, teach them good values, and try to make them adopt positive habits. It is very possible but sometimes limiting beliefs stop the parents from seeking more for their children.  You hear, ‘it is not possible because we have no money.’

It’s all about Mind Control

  1. 84% of the wealthy people believe good habits create opportunity luck, while only 4% of the poor people believe so.
  2. 76% of the wealthy people believe bad habits create detrimental luck, while only 9% of the poor people believe so.

Do you think that if you ask a person who almost ruined his life by gambling, he’ll tell you that he has created detrimental luck for him when gambling all of his money? Read Dale Carnegie and you’ll find out.


I believe that it’s becoming more and more clear that success is not encountered by chance; that really successful people have not been blessed by opportunity with the riches of life. Throughout history, many brave men and women have created their own success by adopting positive, self-reinforcing habits by being persistent and by NEVER GIVING UP!

The blind is only the one who does not want to see. It’s always in your power to make a change. One change for the good, even the smallest, if it is persistent will become powerful and will drive other changes. Try it!

Stop complaining and start acting like a successful person. There is a dormant potential in each and every one of us. We have achieved and we will achieve the astonishing. It only depends on the time you want to devote for the astonishing to happen.

Now tell me what’s that negative habit that you want to change? Speak your mind (but think first) in an email to me and I’ll try to help you the best way that I can.

Laila St. Matthew-Daniel

Resources you can get for self development:

  1. Tom Corley – Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.
  2. Neal, D. T., Wood, W., & Quinn, J. M. (2006). Habits – A Repeat Performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 15, Nr. 4.
  3. Leo Babauta – The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
  4. Brian Tracy – The Power of Self-Confidence
  5. Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in Business and Life
  6. Trafton, A. (2013). Breaking Habits before they start. MIT News.
  7.  Most of the content credited to Cristi Vlad


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