“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Recognizing both the conscientious habits that are beneficial and the impeding subconscious habits we keep can become the catalyst for achieving success and building wealth. How we spend our day and the mindset with which we take it on often determines the goals we enable ourselves to accomplish. Establishing a set of positive and productive behaviors as your daily ritual trains your brain to think differently, changing perspective from viewing problems to seeing the possibilities.
When looking at the habits of the world’s wealthiest people, a common pattern is found among their daily routine and regimen for success. “Just imagine you could be given 10% of the future earnings of one person you know,” says icon for success, Warren Buffett, “You’re going to pick the person that has the right habits.”
Top Five Daily Habits of the Wealthy:
1. They are early risers. Nearly 45% wake up three or more hours before the work day begins. Many use this time to read, exercise, or simply to prepare their focus for the day. This is the time of day that yields the fewest distractions, allowing you sit uninterrupted with your thoughts.
“I get up at 4:30 every morning. I like the quiet time. It’s a time I can recharge my batteries a bit. I exercise and I clear my head and I catch up on the world. I read papers. I look at e-mail. I surf the Web. I watch a little TV, all at the same time. I call it my quiet time but I’m already multitasking. I love listening to music, so I’ll do that in the morning, too, when I’m exercising and watching the news,” says Disney CEO, Robert Iger.
2. They keep a daily to-do-list of people to call, tasks and ideas. Typically, these habit-keepers check off 70% of the day’s tasks. Creating a to-do-list gives you control over your day, and prioritizes tasks that will favor meeting both short-term and long-term goals. Above all else, to-do-lists are among the best deterrents for procrastination.
Yahoo President and CEO, Marissa Mayer, lends a glimpse at how she organizes her day and priorities, “To keep track of tasks, I have a little document called a task list. And in the same document there’s a list for each person I work with or interact with, of what they’re working on or what I expect from them. Using this, I can plan my day out the night before: “These are the five high-priority things to focus on.” Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, affirms, “Anyone who aspires to lead a company must develop a habit of taking notes. I carry a notebook everywhere I go.”
3. They exercise and eat healthily to reduce the amount sick days they’re susceptible to taking, to boost energy levels, and to improve their focus. On average, the wealthiest people in the world engage in some form of aerobic workout four days a week.
“The most important part of my day isn’t on the trading floor,” asserts, Bill Gross, founder and co-CIO of PIMCO, “Every day at 8:30 A.M., I get up from my desk and walk to a health club across the street. After about 45 minutes of riding the exercise bike and maybe 10 or 15 minutes of yoga, all of a sudden some significant light bulbs seem to turn on. I look at that hour and a half as the most valuable time of the day.”
4. They read, voraciously. From education material, industry blogs, to journals, the wealthy develop a thirst for knowledge and make learning a daily habit. In fact, 88% of the wealthy read a minimum of 30 minutes per day, typically consisting of two or more self-help related books a month, sharpening comprehension, thought process, and expanding their vocabulary.
Starbucks chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz notes, “I’m up between 5 and 5:30; I’ll take my coffee, read three newspapers — the Seattle Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. This has been my routine for 25 years.”
5. They network an average of no less than 5 hours per month, and rather than taking long leisurely lunches, they turn them into productive, working lunches. Your network is your net worth. Networking is about relationship building with people and developing a rapport that can be beneficially leveraged for a future opportunity.
“Try to get as much intelligence as you can from your network on both the entrepreneurial process and the specifics of the business that you’re thinking about,” advises LinkedIn Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Reid Hoffman, “The network is not just the people you know—it’s who your network knows. Iterate constantly.”
Wealth-building and success occur by design, rather than luck. “It’s important to understand what your main motivation is so that you can focus your efforts on reaching those goals,” says Branson, “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”