Don’t Follow the Habits of Billionaires
  • Reading time:7 mins read

These so-called billionaire routines require one to get up at 4 AM to read, exercise and meditate.

Neither reading, exercising, nor meditating generates any money at all.

Unless you are a fitness model, no one will pay you to go to the gym. All these things will cost you time or money and sometimes both.

To follow in the paths of successful people, we often try to replicate their habits.

Instead, we need to take a deeper look to understand their personality traits that led to these habits.

Rather than looking at their external behavior, we should dig deeper to understand their way of thinking and how it applies to our lives.

Scraping one level below the surface will provide much more insight into the psyche of successful individuals.

Let’s take a few examples and focus on their personality traits that led to the external habits and ultimately their success.

After all, if all it took were reading a book a week and waking up at 4 AM, there would be far more billionaires than there are today.

Trying to shortcut the system by taking a surface level view will make our journey to success longer, not shorter.

“A shortcut is the longest distance between two points.”

Charles Issawi

Eating like them won’t make you a billionaire

Eating habits of billionaires

Steve Jobs famously experimented with extreme diets. So extreme that sometimes he would only eat apples for over a week.

I don’t need to tell you that eating only apples will not lead you to invent the next must-have tech toy.

If you try to copy him, instead of ending up on Time magazine’s cover, you are more likely to end up in the doctors waiting room reading outdated Time magazines.

When Ashton Kutcher, who played him in the movie, attempted to replicate the extreme diet, he ended up in the hospital, doubled over in pain.

Rather than putting off this behaviour to just another eccentricity, perhaps there is something we can learn from him.

This odd behaviour shows us that he was curious about ideas that may not be proven, and he liked to experiment with everything, including himself.

He had a personality trait that psychologists call “openness to experience”.

Someone that is  open to experience is adventurous, has unusual ideas, is highly imaginative, and enjoys a variety of experiences.

They tend to hold unconventional beliefs. This doesn’t necessarily mean religious beliefs, but in general, about how the world works. They see things differently.

Openness to experience, like most other traits, are a combination of your genes and your surroundings. While you may not change your genes so easily, you can change the environment and your behavior.

Trying different foods and spending time outside in nature can help make you more open to new ideas. Read things you wouldn’t usually read and listen to opinions that differ from yours.

Experimenting with new ideas and being curious about how things work may lead you to create something unique.

Eating only apples for a week, won’t.

Neither will waking up before the sun rises

Waking up early billionaire habit

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, is at the office by 6 AM. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson rises with the sun. Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder, wakes up at 5:30 AM.

Waking up at the same time every day is s sign of a personality trait called conscientiousness. Conscientiousness people are diligent, self-disciplined and hard-working.

We all know those people that try to take short cuts, whether they work in a corporate environment or as a plumber.

We won’t ever recommend these people even if we are nice to their faces.

Instead, being diligent by taking care of what you put out there in the world will get your customers to recommend you and your boss to promote you.

Another advantage of waking up early is that it offers you time to do deep work.

Cal Newport describes deep work as “Activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limits.”

We live in a hyper-connected world and most of the day is spent responding to beeps, buzzes and pings from people. It’s become so easy to be distracted.

Getting up an hour or two before anyone else allows you this distraction-free time to focus on your big task.

You don’t have to wake up at 4 AM to be successful, but you need to be diligent and find time to focus on your big goals without distractions.

For many people, the best time to do this is early in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. If instead, you can do it at 1 AM or even 1 PM, that’s fine too.

Just find that hour or two to diligently work on your biggest goal without any distractions.

Nor will reading a book a week

Reading Habits of billionaires

It’s not about reading a book a week or any specific amount.

The characteristics that make people who read a book a week successful is one of life-long learning.

Different people absorb information better in different ways.

One person may prefer to do research on the internet while others will visit the local library.

If your topic or subject is obscure, the internet is probably your only option.

Others may prefer to watch videos – You can now find an expert on YouTube for almost any topic you can think of.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young

Henry Ford

Some people learn best from others, and their goal should be to find mentors or other ways to observe the best in their industry.

Some may find that if they purchase an expensive course, it will commit them to focus and value the process more.

Others may feel that an MBA where there are lots of group structures keeps them accountable to learning.

Books, though, are special. They can so easily take us on a journey and draw all of our focus into them.

Books allow you to escape and concentrate on a single task for several hours or several minutes. You can easily measure and track your progress from day to day by counting how many pages or books you read.

Books, after all, are still just a means an end.

The end goal is to build up knowledge you can apply in your life and your business.

You don’t have to read a book a week if you want to be successful, but you have to be a life-long learner.

Choose the learning tool that suits your lifestyle, not the lifestyle of a billionaire you read about on the internet. 

So what should you do?

What habits will make you succesful

Being open to experiences, disciplined in your life, and a continuous learner will enable you to reach your full potential.

Remember to choose habits that suit your ability and your lifestyle.

Blindly copying what other successful people did is not a short cut to success.

In fact, you may spend more time and energy on the things that are not helpful to your life.

We are all different. Some people can work efficiently through the night, while some have exceptional athletic ability.

You have to create the habits that will make you successful, not what made someone else successful.