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13 Top Billionaires’ Tips on Positive Thinking—and Why It Matters

13 Top Billionaires’ Tips on Positive Thinking—and Why It Matters

In popular culture, people know that they are supposed to “think positive.” We all sort of know that we should scotch-tape affirmations to our bathroom mirrors and say “I love you” to ourselves, and keep our chins up (presumably while reading those mirror-stuck affirmations)

But why?

Well, on the surface of it, if you think positive, you’re not thinking negative, and therefore, you’re not grumpy and depressed. That’s a pretty good reason on its own. After all, who else but a poet or an emo musician wants to be grumpy and depressed?

But research shows that there are very real and measurable benefits to consciously cultivating and maintaining a positive, optimistic view on life.

The Mayo Clinic has proved conclusively that optimists have lower levels of cardiovascular disease and longer life-spans. Furthermore, they found that pessimists’ health deteriorated more speedily as they aged.

Researchers at Yale and the University of Colorado discovered that pessimism is correlated with a diminished immune response to tumors and infection.

Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, has done landmark work that shows that positive, optimistic people have deeper and broader social networks, are more effective communicators, and are more resilient, seeing failure as a learning experience rather than as a confirmation of their ineptness, and therefore they believe they can do better in the future.

Moreso, in a broad study of insurance salespeople, he found that the optimistic ones sold 37% more policies than pessimists, who were twice as likely to abandon their career during their first 12 months of employment.

Seligman gives guidelines on how to cultivate optimism for those of us who have developed negative habits in his book, Learned Optimism.

But you don’t have to only look at the research to see that a positive outlook on life and optimism breeds success. When you look at the lives of billionaire innovators, you see that a positive mindset keeps the minds of the highly successful focused on what is possible rather than on what blocks them; on alternatives rather than on roadblocks; on creative solutions rather than on blame.

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1. Imagine you’re on the threshold of success.

Andrew Carnegie, though often viewed as a shrewd and tight-fisted Scotsman, was actually a veritable starburst of sunny optimism.

“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

Carnegie, who famously hired Napoleon Hill to gather up the wisdom of the rich and powerful in a project that produced the book Think and Grow Rich, grounded his optimism in utter 100% responsibility in his own internal resources.

“Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs.”

Positivity gives the mega-successful the internal fuel to power through downturns and what others would call failure.

2. Keep moving forward.

Mark Zuckerberg veritably defined our fast-paced innovation culture with his most famous quote:

“Fail fast and break things.”

3. Think like a queen.

Or in Oprah’s words:

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

4. Failure isn’t the end; it is the beginning.

Failure among billionaires is understood to be part of the creative whirlwind that is the very life of business. Success in not an endpoint. It’s merely a link in the continuing spiral.

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“Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

– Henry Ford

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas Edison

5. Abundant chance is all around you.

Sheldon Adelson, the toilet-kit salesman come multi-billionaire mastermind of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation expresses the optimistic mindset that failure is not only necessary, but that opportunity is unlimited.

“For me, businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you don’t like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take another. Don’t like that one? They’ll just keep coming. There’s no end to buses or businesses.”

6. Find the courage to continue.

Optimism may come easy to some. For others, it’s the cultivated result of another quality, which Churchill identified as courage:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

7. Own your mistakes—

Optimism and positive thinking feed our courage. Courage need not be heroic. Rather it may merely be the cool-headed outgrowth of a positive belief in yourself.

When Howard Schultz discovered that one of his most costly innovations had utterly flopped and cost the company nearly $100 million, he walked into his boardroom, looked his board in the eye and said, “Tactical mistake. Next.” No hand-wringing. No self-loathing. In fact, his entire ethos is summarized in the title of his memoir, “Onward.”

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8. —and then move on.

Similarly, Steve Jobs:

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Jobs elaborated on his philosophy by applying his belief in innovation not only to his work, but to himself as well.

“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”

An optimist is open to the adventure of self-growth, and doesn’t cling to the past or present as a pessimist might, believing things can only get worse.

9. Trust your hard work.

Optimism is akin to faith, not merely in yourself but in something greater than yourself. Jobs, a noted mystic, put it this way:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

10. Seek to help others.

Billionaires optimistically believe in a better world and see their efforts as contributing to it. As Peter Diamantis observed:

“The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people.”

Sergei Brin, Co-Founder of Google, when asked what really drove him, and what spurred his company to its stratospheric growth, replied:

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“I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that’s what this organization does”

11. When in doubt, don’t be evil.

In fact, Google’s well-known slogan “Don’t be evil” stemmed from nothing other than a profoundly positive intent:

“We have tried to define precisely what it means to be a force for good—always do the right, ethical thing. Ultimately, “Don’t be evil” seems the easiest way to summarize it”

12. Have high expectations of yourself.

Billionaires often seek to create something great. Some are driven by the desire to have a great impact. Others just expect that greatness is before them. As Sam Walton says:

“High expectations are the key to everything.”

13. Be relentless.

However, this doesn’t mean that billionaires go about their businesses like starry-eyed Pollyannas. Kazuo Inamori, a Japanese entrepreneur who founded two multi-billion dollar companies claims that while developing a new product or strategy, you begin optimistically.

However, once the planning stage begins, he says you must “become a pessimist” in order to spot every obstacle in the way. Then, he says, he returns to optimism for the execution phase.

In the end, billionaires teach us that optimism is not a gift. It is a strategy.

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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