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10 Traits That Young Millionaires Have in Common

10 Traits That Young Millionaires Have in Common

The world’s idea of who and what a millionaire is has changed. When we conjure up an image of a very wealthy person, we are imagining less and less a stodgy old man sipping branding in a wing back armchair, and instead, more and more what we envision is a young, energetic entrepreneur.  The internet has paved the way for anyone with a good idea and the ambition to see it through to become rich and it is increasingly common for the successful people among us to be young and driven. So what do the young millionaires we are getting so used to seeing have in common? They all share the following 10 traits.

1. They Act Fast

A sense of urgency lies at the heart of any young millionaire. It isn’t enough to have a great idea, you need to have the will to act on it before anyone else has a chance. If Mark Zuckerberg had decided to sit on Facebook and develop it slowly over a few years instead of a few months, he would have been left in the dust. Instead he put his idea into action almost as soon as he formed it and the result has been massive success.

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2. They Build Strong Teams

Even the people who seem to have built their empires on their own have had the help of a good team. It is usually the case that they built that team themselves. When Steve Jobs founded Apple he wasn’t alone, his partners gave him insight into the things he didn’t understand and allowed him to grow the business in all directions at once.

3. They Leverage Their Success

Success breeds success and young millionaires aren’t afraid to keep the ball rolling. When they see a good idea, they jump on it. It is no coincidence that Google now owns Youtube and countless other web applications that we can’t imagine the world without. The leaders of forward-thinking companies aren’t afraid to go beyond their own comfort zone and use the money they have to generate more money.

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4. They Are Independent Thinkers

Founder and CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma, held a meeting when he decided to start his company. He invited nearly two dozen friends to his home and asked them what they thought of his idea. All but one told him not to quit his day job. He chose to ignore them and pursue it anyway. He is now a billionaire. Not being afraid to stand alone is a common trait among the young and self-made wealthy.

5. They Think Big

Young millionaires dare to dream big. They see the possibilities that lie behind great ideas and aren’t overwhelmed by the scale of what they are chasing. The truly successful individuals take things one step at a time and work at what they can handle, but their eye is always on the larger goal.

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6. They Follow Their Passion

Most people who achieve success early in life do it by following a path they care about and are interested in. Just because an idea is good, doesn’t mean it is inspiring. When Steve Jobs was trying to convince John Sculley to leave his comfortable job at Pepsi to come take over the business side of Apple, his sales pitch was “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water, or do you want to come with me to change the world?” That is passion incarnate.

7. They Are Focused

When asked what makes Mark Zuckerberg such a great leader, Facebook employees time and time again reference his focus. Mark Zuckerberg’s goal is to connect the world in ways no one else has ever dared to imagine, and every decision he makes is unflinchingly taking him closer to that goal. Having a clear vision is a key to success for any young leader.

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8. They Love Learning

Just because they are rich doesn’t mean they think they have all the answers. Young millionaires in every field share a lifelong love of learning. They hold open meetings where they can get advice from people at every level of the organization because they understand that you never know where the next great idea will come from.

9. They Love Teaching

The best way to get better at what you do is to teach the tricks of the trade to someone else. Successful young people share their vision and teach their team members what they need to do to succeed. It not only makes everyone smarter, it builds camaraderie and gets everyone on the same page.

10. They Aren’t Afraid to Fail

Finally, and most importantly, young millionaires aren’t afraid to fail. Bill Gates once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Keeping an open mind and being willing to learn from your mistakes is the only way to keep moving forward.

Featured photo credit: Robert Scoble via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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