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10 Secrets to Great Wealth

10 Secrets to Great Wealth
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If you Google “millionaire” and “secrets,” you get more than 10 million results. With so many articles on the subject, you might conclude there’s a big audience for that sort of thing, and you’d be right. And since you clicked on this headline, that probably includes you.

Looks like I’ve reached the right audience and you’ve come to the right place. Perfect.

Here’s the thing. With millions of writers and millions of readers, you might also conclude that none of that content is actually secret. Again, you’d be right. And get this. With rare exception, it’s all BS. This is not, and I’ll tell you why.

I’m a veteran of the technology industry who spent decades working with countless executives and business leaders. We’re talking hundreds, if not thousands – all of whom did well for themselves. Very well. And since you won’t hear this advice from anyone but an insider like me, I guess we can legitimately call them “secrets.”

Quit reading dumb articles like this one.

Think I’m kidding? This is so not funny. None of those hundreds or thousands of successful people I’ve known wasted their time on nonsense like “secrets of millionaires.” Quit searching for miracle solutions and silver bullets; there aren’t any.

Related: Stop Dreaming and Start Doing

Reach beyond your grasp.

Perhaps the most brilliant advice in history is Robert Browning’s famous quote, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” A woman’s, too. If you want to be successful, you have to consistently strive to tackle tough problems and do great work. There are no wealthy slackers. None.

Make good choices.

Becoming successful is all about making good choices, and that includes staying in school, staying out of trouble, and not starting a family until it makes fiscal sense. When it comes to career and business, listen to smart, accomplished people, but, in the end, trust your gut.

Always pay down your debt.

Better still, stay out of debt. There are exceptions. It’s OK to have a mortgage, but pay it down as soon as you can. And everyone needs a car, but get this: the average age of the three vehicles in the Tobak family is 12 years. I can’t remember the last time we took out a car loan.

Work in a high-demand, low-supply field.

It’s sort of funny how the most basic economic principle, the law of supply and demand, eludes most people. It’s so simple. Demand is proportional to price. Supply is inversely proportional to price. It’s as true of workers and compensation as it is of products and prices. More competition means less income and wealth. Simple. 

Learn to do one thing better than anyone.

It doesn’t matter whether you learn it in school or on the job; strive to be better than anyone else at just one thing. You do that by accomplishing one thing at a time. It helps a lot if that one thing is something you love to do. That way, you won’t have a problem with the next secret.

Related: Success Is Not a Goal. It's a Way of Life.

Be a raging workaholic.

Look, I’m not saying you can’t have family and fun. I do. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t work smart. I do. But every wealthy person is also a hard worker with a strong work ethic. In other words, they get the job done, meet their commitments, and set a fine example for others.

Prioritize, focus, be disciplined.

Forget all the books and blogs about personal productivity and self-improvement. All you have to do is always know your priorities, focus on what matters, and be disciplined about it. That’s it. No kidding. 

Get equity.

Salary pays the bills, but saving money is challenging and it’s always tempting to dip into the cookie jar. Equity from stock, options, or business ownership solves that problem because it’s not liquid. In other words, you can’t spend it. Just don’t squander it when you can. Instead of cashing out, diversify your investments.

Don’t do what everyone else is doing.

The key message of my new book, Real Leaders Don’t Follow, is that nobody ever got ahead by doing what everyone else is doing. Nobody. Unfortunately, social media promotes cultural conformity, herd mentality, and dopey fads like nobody’s business.

Think for yourself. Be your own person. Carve your own path. And always remember: Leaders lead. Followers follow. You can’t do both.

Related: Easy Startup = Hard Success