How the rich think differently: A summary of the 50 ways

  1. - Reject the idea that you were ‘assigned’ your place in life.
  2. - The discovery of ignorance is the beginning of all progress. Don’t accept, ‘I am poor.’ Ask, ‘What am I missing here?’
  3. - Don’t fall for the misquoted and corrupted aphorism that money is the root of all evil.
  4. - Reject the idea that money is a valid source of guilt. Your prosperity absolutely does not impoverish others.
  5. - Money is infinite. Work and innovation create it in abundance. The more you make and produce, the more new wealth you generate.
  6. - Learn to use the world to your advantage. Represent yourself in all things, including contracts and negotiations, and teach your children to do so too.
  7. - Lose your awe of money. Is neither sacred nor precious. Gaining and losing it is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Wielding it with ease as a useful tool enables you to grow more of it.
  8. - Aspiration is normal, natural and necessary. As a species, we are wired to derive deep satisfaction from meaningful work, which moves us forwards. We are not wired for meaningless work or stagnation.
  9. - You are not unsuccessful if you face problems. But you should be concerned if you are still facing the same problems a year later. Wealth creation is a series of graduations to new problems. If you are still struggling with a previous problem, you may be preventing yourself from moving up.
  10. - Relying on government will make you poor, especially in Africa, where they are identified as the number one destroyer of the wealth of their populations. Divorce your wealth creation from the state. Take total responsibility for charting your own course.
  11. - Thinking like the people around you will keep you at that level. Learn to think like the people above you. They have answers that you need, and studying these answers is a lifetime pursuit.
  12. - When your own community, on balance, does more to hold you back than to lift you up, you may have to leave it to progress.
  13. - Qualifications help, but they usually only gain you entrance into the game. Qualities, such as leadership, sales, communication and persuasion skills help much, much more. Driver personalities tend to become wealthier than those who do not push.
  14. - You can follow your passions and become wealthy, but you have to think of your passion as a business and engage in one or more ways of monetising it.
  15. - You can turn a cause into a career, but again, you will need to think of it as a business and choose a specific model by which to make it profitable.
  16. - Image is important, but there are right and wrong ways of portraying success. The best brag is genuine productivity; the worst is conspicuous consumption.
  17. - You do require a minimum level of financial literacy. Understanding some of the most important terms, like assets and liabilities, arms you with greater amounts of wealth levers.
  18. - Don’t focus on work. Focus on money-generating behaviour, which relies on sales.
  19. - Work towards becoming your own boss. There are different ways of doing so, and different scales at which you can apply this idea, but ultimately, if you aspire to real wealth, you will need to be in charge of your own business.
  20. - Do not be crippled by caution. Inaction will never lead to wealth. Drivers tend to far outperform non-drivers in wealth creation. You may need to pivot a number of times before your ideas succeed. But unless you get to, and past, your pivot points, you are not on a wealth-creation journey.
  21. - Do not wait for permission. Do the unrequired, the unsupervised and the unguaranteed, regardless of negative public opinion.
  22. - Focus on the top line (how much you generate), and not only on the bottom line (how much you save). Saving matters. But if you are saving too little, you will still starve.
  23. - Speak to the people who can say yes to your ideas, sales pitches and proposals, not the ones who only have the power to say no. Find the people who own the problem and wield the authority.
  24. - Say yes to opportunity, then find a way.
  25. - Selling is a good thing, but owning the selling is even better.
  26. - Become the person who owns and sells. This is always where the wealth lies.
  27. - You can also prosper by servicing needs, but you still have to own the sales.
  28. - You need to divorce your time from the income-generating capacity of your business, but you still need to remain sufficiently close to the business to be its strategic leadership.
  29. - Find wealth ideas in your own frustrations and those of the people around you.
  30. - In your sales, marketing and public narrative, never emphasise your own need. Instead, emphasise the value you can offer to the market. People only buy your value. They never pay for your need.
  31. - Determine what makes your business highly valuable and profitable. This is not always what we think it is. We may believe that our quality makes us valuable, while our market might value the convenience we offer.
  32. - Barriers to entry seem daunting, but because they seem daunting to everyone, they are a wealth secret to those who do tackle and overcome them. The greater your exclusivity, the greater your wealth potential.
  33. - The ability to create a natural monopoly, known as market dominance, sets you on the path to significant wealth. There are legal and ethical ways of becoming the dominant name.
  34. - There are times when it’s worth building an industry, instead of aiming to become the dominant force. When your business gains from the total credibility of the industry, uplifting your competitors works in everyone’s favour.
  35. - Your value is perceived in relation to presentation and packaging. An ‘it’ll do’ approach to presentation will result in an ‘it’ll do’ income.
  36. - Your value is also perceived in relation to the narrative you present to the world. Avoid presenting the image of a mom-and-pop operation. Go to great lengths to portray a premium, professional image.
  37. - Your value is also perceived in relation to your pricing. Being too cheap can damage your business. Over time, it’s worthwhile to fire your low-paying, high-input clients and graduate to a more favourable clientele.
  38. - While charging a healthy fee, ensure that you are, in every way, worth it.
  39. - Manage your price integrity. Discounts and freebies can harm your business and cheapen perceptions of your industry as a whole.
  40. - Cash flow is one of the most critical concerns of the wealth generator. Take charge and be an advocate of your own cash flow. Do not leave payment dates and receipt of funds to chance or the whims of others.
  41. - Buy low, add value and sell high. The more cheaply you can acquire something, the more value you can add to it in various ways, and the more expensively you can sell it, the wealthier you will become. There are many ways of adding value to objects and services.
  42. - Use numbers to transcend fallible emotional judgement. Knowing, and keeping track of, your own numbers helps you to see both weaknesses and opportunities. Not knowing your own numbers means operating blindly.
  43. - Beyond merely owning your own business, titans of wealth do deals. One handshake can exceed a year’s salary.
  44. - It is entirely possible to use other people’s money to fund your own growth. Study how-to shows like Dragon’s Den for an invaluable education.
  45. - The greatest threat to your wealth is tax. You can’t evade tax, but you certainly can avoid overpaying it.
  46. - There are some uniquely African threats to wealth, including competitive funerals. You may need to defend your wealth potential against the potentially ruinous expectations of others.
  47. - It’s working! Now, be wise with your money. Do not create certain future debts on the strength of uncertain future income. A few good months do not equate to predictable wealth.
  48. - The one mindset that no amount of money can solve is a propensity for spending more than you earn. Living beyond your means is a bad idea when your income is small, but an utterly disastrous one as your income grows. More money simply amplifies the problem.
  49. - Living a failures-as-feedback system will ensure that you are continually growing and that your upward trajectory remains on course, regardless of changes around you. When you are willing to learn, you become the type of person who will inevitably prosper.
  50. - Try this simple spiritual principle: give and you will receive. Grow others, and more will be added to you, o faithful servant.

A final motivational thought

The wealth you desire is not separated from you by a number of years. It is separated from you by a number of actions. How many years will it take you to carry out these actions?

It’s all in your hands. It’s all in your mind. So, act.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Don’t think poor.


Douglas Kruger is a business author and professional speaker. See him in action, or read his articles, at Douglas’s books, including ‘Is Your Thinking Keeping You Poor? 50 Ways the Rich Think Differently,’ are available at Exclusive Books, Estoril, CNA, and as ebooks from



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