There are only 1,426 people on the latest Forbes Billionaires list published Monday, with 210 new members joining this prestigious group of the world's wealthiest people. For most people, the word "billionaire" is hard to imagine, as is the word "millionaire." Despite this, acquiring wealth is easier than most people realize, and in fact, now is one of the best times to strike it rich. It's not about how smart you are or the amount of formal education you've had, but rather it begins with your thinking.
The differences in thinking about money between the middle class and the wealthy are not only numerous; they're extreme. The good news: anyone can adopt the thoughts and beliefs of the rich and overcome years of negative programming. While you might not ever land on the Forbes Billionaires list, you can substantially increase your wealth.
A few of the most drastic differences between the wealthy and the middle class:
Middle class believes hard work creates wealth while the wealthy believes leverage creates wealth
If hard work was the secret to financial success, every construction worker and cocktail waitress would be rich. The wealthy strategically focus their efforts on the most profitable areas of their business while leveraging their contacts, credibility and resources to maximize the results of every action they take.
The rich work hard, but not in the traditional sense. Hard work to the wealthy means outthinking their competitors and leveraging the collective brainpower of their advisors. The middle class sees hard work as a badge of honor. The wealthy see success as a more important badge of honor. While one group is mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day, the other is fresh and excited about thinking of a new solution and ideas that will keep the first group employed.
Middle class thinks about money in linear terms while the wealthy thinks about money in non-linear terms
The masses trade time for money. This creates the belief that making money is a linear process directly connected to time. The average person believes the only way to earn more money is to work more hours, with the exception of raises and bonuses.
The wealthy know big money requires thinking about it in non-linear terms. The great ones are masters at generating money through ideas that solve problems. They realize since there is no limit to ideas, there is no limit to how much money they can earn. So while the middle class is scrambling to survive and frightened for their financial future, the wealthy are capitalizing on their elevated level of awareness. The masses waste a substantial percentage of their mental energy worrying about money, while the rich are fearlessly directing their focus to becoming wealthier every day.
Fortunes can be created almost overnight with the right idea at the right time, but only if the performer understands this non-linear phenomena. Since most people think of money in a linear fashion, they never invest the necessary effort to create high-impact solutions. The truth is, people who educate themselves in this philosophy have the potential to become as wealthy as they wish. And while this has been proven again and again, the average person's refusal to believe this holds them back from ever getting started. This is another reason on the long list of why the rich get richer, and the poor, poorer.
The middle class waits for their ship to come in while the wealthy build their own ship
The average person subconsciously believes he's going to be discovered, saved or made rich by an outside force in the future. It's equivalent to the overweight person slowing killing herself through obesity, who patiently waits for the next pill or potion to make her thin and healthy. They are convinced their hero on the white horse is right around the corner ready to save them from themselves.
The wealthy know no is coming to the rescue, and if their life is going to be uncommon in any way, it's going to be through their own efforts. The foundational principle they live by is self-reliance and personal responsibility. They don't wait for things to happen; they make things happen.
Middle class believes money is their enemy while the wealth believes money is their friend
The masses have a dysfunctional, adversarial relationship with money. We are taught that money is scarce, hard to earn and harder to keep. People of influence in childhood instructed them to work hard and hoard as much money as possible. Teachers, coaches, parents, clergy and other authority figures, most of whom had little money, conditioned us to see money as a necessary evil.
The wealthy had the same childhood experiences, but along the way they had exposure to a higher thought level that changed the way they think about wealth. They learn that money is not their enemy, but one of their great allies. It is a friend that has the power to end sleepless nights of worry; physical pain and can even save their life. They learn that money is not materialistic; people are materialistic. Money is just a medium of exchange without attachment to anything good or bad. The wealthy continue to cultivate and nurture their relationship with money by thinking about how to earn more, invest wiser and leverage as much as possible.
If you're rich keep thinking the way you're thinking. If not, maybe it's time you changed the way you think about money. How many more people can we add to the Forbes Billionaires list next year?