1. Luck – Win the lottery or inherit money from your family. Easy, but rare.
2. Get a good job. – Most lucrative employment requires a college degree. Most degrees are expensive. Many college students are disengaged, going only because they were told it’s the right path, wasting a lot of time figuring out what they want to study. Few graduates use their degrees, except to show a potential employer that they’ve completed something worthwhile. If you earn a degree, secure a job that utilizes your degree, make a good living working that job, and then ultimately derive meaning from that job, you’ve had another stroke of luck. Some people get a high-paying job without a degree at all. These are usually people who either (a) don’t see the job as a job and are driven by love for what they do, (b) have a natural knack for their profession, (c) know the right people, or (d) all of the above.
3. Develop a skill that people pay you to use. – Also called freelancing. You get good at doing something valuable—something people actually buy—connect with the right people, be pleasant to work with, and deliver more than you promised. Shorter: help other people make more money. As a freelancer, you drum up all the new business, you pay all the taxes, and you make sure projects get completed. But you also set your own schedule, potentially work on cool stuff, and multiply the earning capacity you would have at a job. Few people think they are cut out for freelancing, yet the most successful people think of themselves as self-employed even if they are working for someone else. Freelancers don’t have a boss, but they have a lot of short-term bosses. The key difference is they see themselves as the main agent, whereas employees usually defer to their boss. There’s no reason why you couldn’t view a 9-5 job as one of your long-term freelance projects. Your employer might as well be your client.
4. Create a product people buy. – Very few people can do this, but those that do it well make a lot of money. When you’re a freelancer, you trade your time for money, so there’s a built-in limit to what you can sell. When you create a product, you can scale it to immense proportions by building production systems and removing yourself from the process. You can make lemonade, tootsie rolls, pop-sockets, or soda. You can make Teslas, Airstreams, or Bentleys. You can make digital information products that require no production cost at all, which is one way the internet has changed the world.
5. Spend less. – If your ideal life only costs $75,000 a year, you would never need a million in annual income. If it only costs $50,000/year and you make $75,000/year, you’re rich. You’re able to do everything you want with an ever-increasing balance. Stop that habit which is one of the deepest and worst in middle-class America: buying things you don’t need.
6. Focus on meaning more than riches. – Because when ask how we can be rich, what we’re really asking is how we can be happier, and happiness doesn’t come through money alone. It comes through living with a sense of purpose and importance. No one is happy sitting on the beach all day every day with more money than they could ever spend. How has an idea like that become so widespread among people who have probably never had a single vacation that’s longer than 2 weeks? We spend all our time fantasizing about a life we’ve never even tested. I’ve had 5-day vacations that I was happy to see end so I could get back to routine and responsibility and reasonable expectations. We were made to do important stuff, things that help others, activities with a focus outside of ourselves. We should spend 10 times the effort considering what we’re doing with our time as we do wondering what being rich feels like.
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