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17 Life Lessons We Can Learn From the Wealthy

17 Life Lessons We Can Learn From the Wealthy

People look at wealthy people with a variety of notions. They are seen as snobs, arrogant, that they believe they are better than everyone else, or even that they are trying to buy happiness. Of course, many of these notions have been long-standing ones and are held by people who have never known a wealthy person well enough to comment objectively.

Despite the gulf between you and the wealthy, one thing is certain. The wealthy have learned life lessons that have been gained from earning their wealth. These are life lessons that the rest of us have not experienced, but can learn from:

1. Wealthy people don’t start out pursuing wealth.

Rather, they pursue a passion. Henry Ford pursued his passion–a horseless carriage. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffett pursued their passions. The thing about passion is this: it drives people to move forward, to continue to push themselves, and to not surrender to failure or discouragement. The rest of us pursue income.

We take jobs that will provide paychecks that will allow us to live comfortably; we get raises and promotions, and our lifestyles improve. We spend more as we gain more income, and so we chase more income to spend more. The wealthy, on the other hand, began with a passion for something–investing, cars, computer technology–and they were willing to starve if it meant that they could pursue their passions.

2. Wealthy people enjoy being uncomfortable.

The rest of us want to be comfortable. Wealthy people are driven by uncertainty, and they are happy taking risks when they do not know the outcomes. Ordinary people tend not to take big risks and do not like it when they are out of their comfort zones. Self-made wealthy individuals, throughout our history, have been willing to take big risks.

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3. Wealthy people look toward the future with optimism about what lies ahead, even if it may be uncertain.

Regular people tend to see the “better” life as that which existed in the past. Life was simpler, the music was better, people didn’t live on their devices, and a real man went out and earned a good living for his family. These people look upon the future with some pessimism, often claiming that the world is just “falling apart.” When people don’t look toward a brighter future, they become stagnate and have no big dreams. Wealthy people tend to be more optimistic, and move forward to make a better future.

4. Wealthy people have a Big Plan.

Ordinary people have goals and plans that relate to where they want to go in life, what they want for their kids, and even how they want to spend their retirements. Wealthy people, however, have big plans that do not involve their personal lives. They have plans that will change something in a big way. They want to make the world a better place with their Big Plan.

5. Wealthy people stay confident.

They have developed this confidence in a number of ways, not the least of which is experiencing failure. They fail, they learn from it, and they forge ahead. They cultivate self-assurance because they know this attribute is a great part of the “battle” on the road to wealth.

Regular people lack self-confidence when they are out of their comfort zones, and failure can injure or destroy their self-assurance. As wealthy people succeed, their confidence grows. Regular people who succeed get better jobs and higher income, but those things don’t increase self-confidence. Taking risks and ultimately triumphing, even after many failures, builds their self-confidence. Ultimately, they develop an attitude that there is nothing they cannot accomplish. Henry Ford summed it up when he said, “Whether you think that you can or you can’t, you are usually right.”

6. Wealthy people are careful with friendships.

Once wealth is achieved, old acquaintances and remote relatives will begin to appear in the lives of the rich. Their goals are pretty transparent–to get a piece of the wealth that has been accumulated. When their requests for loans and/or money are denied, they become hateful. Ken Fisher, billionaire owner of Fisher Investments said, “You see an ugly side of our human existence, which is the world of false pretenses seeking your money.”

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7. Wealthy people know the older you get, the less value money has.

As the wealthy age, their desires are for a simpler life, for health, and for more quality time. They spend less on themselves and more on others. This is perhaps a life lesson that all people to ultimately learn. Even the average person who was never wealthy, values these things in their elder years.

8. Wealthy people secure everything.

If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. Those are words wealthy people swear by. While earlier generations of wealthy individuals secured everything in fire-proofed, locked files, today’s wealthy understand the value of having their important personal and financial information securely stored by a featured data storage company. Top notch protection and security for their valuable data is a high priority. They prefer to invest in security in advance, rather then going into huge debt when things unexpectedly go wrong.

9. Wealthy people know that wealth frees your brain.

Wealthy people can dream big; they can envision things that may or may not be possible, but they have these big ideas that they can pursue. Ordinary people, on the other hand, cannot free their brains for the big ideas. They are too mentally consumed with how to make a living, how to support themselves and their families, and when they will be able to afford a new car.

10. Wealthy people know accumulating wealth requires self-discipline.

This is especially true during the accumulation phase. They live below their means, wear inexpensive clothing, and do not own new cars and the best home that their income may allow. They know that to become wealthy they must save and invest while they follow their passions. Regular people want to buy things as soon as their income permits, because they have a desire or need to impress others with what they can afford to purchase. They do not save and invest, and rely instead on their retirement funds and social security to keep them comfortable in their old age.

11. Wealthy people do not fear failure.

They know they may fail, and they know they could lose all of their money on a failed venture. They also know that the next venture is around the corner, and it could be the very one that satisfies their passion and makes them wealthy, too! Ordinary people have a fear of striking out. They fear not having enough money; they fear losing their steady income from their job. People who live is such fear will never accumulate wealth. Most of all, however, they fear failure, because it will bring about all of the other things they fear.

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12. Wealth helps you find more freedom.

Wealthy people are not tied to jobs and debt. If they get ill, they can afford the best doctors. If they have legal troubles, they can afford the best lawyers. If they want to “winter” on the Riviera, they can do it. The average individual is controlled by his boss, by his government, by his debt, and by his need for security. Once you stop caring about all the possible restrictions, change your mindset and start looking and creating possibilities for yourself, rather then just going with the flow. You are able to achieve the same freedom and some extra money along the way. Change your perspective. Stop thinking about how miserable and unfortunate you are and start thinking of ways you can change. For instance, if your student debt is high, consider teaching English in South Korea or Taiwan. The money you’ll earn will let you pay off your deb by the end on the year, plus generate some extra savings to blow up traveling or starting your own business.

13. Wealthy people tend to make friends with even more wealthy and successful people

Why? Because these are the people with whom they not only have common interests, but as well can learn. While they are often criticized for this, in fact, they are just like every other human in this regard. People who like to hunt and fish hang out with others who like to hunt and fish; people who love sports will hang with others who do. Somehow, it is normal and acceptable for average people to do this, but not for the wealthy. It makes them “snobbish” and “arrogant.” When, really, they are just seeking out people with whom they share something in common.

The one simple, yet often overlooked key to success and wealth is to meet and make friends with people who inspire you and whom you’d like to take after. Become friends with the wealthy, smart and successful if you’d like to become one too!

14. Wealthy people understand the difference between assets and income.

It is the goal of someone seeking wealth to accumulate assets, not income. And once those assets are substantial, the wealthy live off of the income from those assets. Regular people strive to accumulate higher income, not assets. Thus they work until they retire, dependent upon that income. For the wealthy, assets, once accumulated, do the work of bringing in income.

15. The desire for wealth is finite.

As a poor person, you probably think – no way! Yet the wealthy reach a point at which they realize that there really is nothing more to buy to make them happier. How many cars, how many vacation homes, and how many airplanes does one need? At this point, time becomes the most valuable possession. Steve Jobs summed it up like this, “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Never forget that no matter how many dollars you have on your bank account.

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16. Family are not people who love you unconditionally.

Relatives of the wealthy family member often feel that they share the wealth with family members, especially when they are experiencing some financial difficulties. If the wealthy individual does share, it will never be enough. In all of their asking for money, moreover, none of these relatives will ask for investment or asset-building advice. Once you accumulate certain wealth, you quickly realize that not all of your family loves and keeps in touch with you because you are a great person. Some do it just for possible financial gain. Wealthy people know that family does not have to be just about those related by blood or marriage. Family can be those that are there for you, not for your money.

17. Wealthy parents teach their children about finances early

Children of the very wealthy, at least those who are self-made, have spent their early lives not being wealthy. They have thus had the early values training that came before the wealth did. Grandchildren are quite another matter. They have been born into wealth and can easily develop a sense of entitlement and superiority. However, those that became wealthy can be more vigilant in teaching their children how to save, invest, and appreciate hard work.

Featured photo credit: Fashion Male With Vest, Cigar And Smartphone/Ed Gregory via flickr.com

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Elena Prokopets

Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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