T. Harv Eker: How Rich People Think

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How do rich people think? What role does your money mindset (how you think and what you believe about money) play in the state of your finances?

According to T. Harv Eker, the author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, rich people, who didn’t come from a rich background and who made their wealth themselves, have vastly different beliefs about money compared to most people. They have what he calls the “rich mindset.”

In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways Eker says that rich people think and act in relation to money, and explore some practical techniques for practicing a rich attitude and increasing your income.

Rich People Have a Positive Attitude Towards Money

Eker claims that rich people know that positive thoughts lead to positive actions. These positive actions lead to success and wealth. Consequently, they always focus on finding and creating solutions so that they can meet their financial goals. To get a glimpse into how rich people think, you must:

Eker proposes two ways to develop discipline and take responsibility for your finances: 

  1. Stop yourself from thinking or speaking about money in a negative way. 
  2. Make a daily habit of reflecting on one thing that went well and one thing that didn’t. Think about what part you played in creating each of the situations and how you can improve your attitude and behavior. For example, if you had an argument about money with your partner, instead of casting blame, try to think about your role—what did you say or do to fuel the disagreement, and what can you learn from this?
Motivate Yourself to Think Positively

Like Eker, Tony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within) argues that you have to make the conscious decision to make your current thought patterns and behaviors more positive to change your life. He claims that each of your decisions (about how you think and behave) set into motion a series of actions that ultimately shape your life—each time you reflect on how your decisions have led you to create positive and negative experiences, you can learn from them and choose to make more beneficial decisions.

Robbins suggests that you can motivate yourself to take control of your mindset and increase its positivity by answering the following question: What are the financial and emotional costs of not changing your mindset? In other words, what are you missing out on? Next, Robbins recommends that you reinforce the pleasure you expect to gain from improving your mindset by answering the following questions:

How will you feel about yourself if you make this change?
How will this change increase your happiness?
How will this change impact your loved ones?

When you identify the consequences of repeating the same negative thoughts and ineffective behaviors and weigh this against the benefits you’ll receive if you accept your role and change them, you’ll feel motivated to take control of your thoughts and behaviors to improve your financial situation.

Rich People Associate With Other Wealthy People

According to Eker, rich people feel inspired by the success of others—they take every opportunity to learn and take advice from people who are more successful than they are. Eker suggests three ways to develop this mindset: 

1) Feel appreciation whenever you see signs of success, such as a beautiful car or an expensive home.

2) Make a point of celebrating your good fortune when you receive money, gifts, or compliments, and make a list of ten things you’re grateful for every day.

(Shortform note: How does feeling appreciation and gratitude bring more wealth into your life? Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) argues that focusing on things that are going well in your life not only makes you happier, but it also makes you less envious of others. The more grateful you feel about your life, the more inclined you are to appreciate what’s going well in the lives of others. This gratitude and appreciation ultimately helps you to transcend everyday negativity and makes you more resilient to any setbacks you face as you move toward your financial goals.)

3) Avoid identifying with negative people or watching useless television programs that perpetuate negativity. Instead, find ways to associate with rich people so that you can observe how they behave and habituate yourself to the feeling of wealth. You can do this by joining a high-end club or visiting expensive restaurants.

(Shortform note: Law of Attraction practitioners agree with Eker’s suggestion that you should avoid identifying with what you don’t want and instead act “as if” you already have what you do want. While Eker’s suggestion that you join a high-end club might be impractical for most, it’s worth considering how you can surround yourself with people that inspire you to learn more about how to become wealthy and successful. A practical way to approach this is to first consider whether the activities you engage in, or the people you hang around with, support your financial goals or prevent you from achieving them. Next, make a list of the successful people you already know, and try to learn more about how they accomplished their goals.)

Rich People Focus on the End Result

Eker argues that rich people take measurable steps towards what they want. They always focus on the end result of what they want to achieve, and they expect to succeed despite their doubts and fears. They plan ahead and create strategies to overcome their fears or potential problems—their confidence grows with each step they take to move forward. Eker suggests two ways to develop this positive mindset: 

  1. Think about your greatest worries or concerns regarding money and plan the specific actions you’d take to overcome or limit their impact if they came true.
  2. Seek ways to move past your fears. For example, if there’s a project you want to start or a business field you want to get involved in, just start working for or with someone in that field and learn whatever skills you need to move forward. 
Use Your Worst-Case Scenario to Empower Yourself

Like Eker, Tim Ferriss suggests that you should define your greatest worries and concerns as a tool to empower yourself. He argues that you’re more likely to hold back from taking action when you think of your fears as just vague possibilities that could happen. On the other hand, when you think about what you want to achieve and define the actual worst-case scenario, you give your mind something specific and productive to work on.
If there’s a specific project you want to start or a business you want to get involved in, Ferriss suggests that you:

Envision your worst-case scenario in detail

Plan how you would get back in control of the situation

Ask yourself how you could benefit from this situation

Your answers to these questions will provide clues about what you can do to better prepare yourself and ultimately move past your fears—feeling prepared for anything will empower you to move forward toward your financial goals.

Rich People Aim High

According to Eker, rich people set a clear intention to create massive wealth—they align their thoughts and behaviors with this intention and their commitment leads them to take actions that create wealth. This clarity of intention allows them to focus wholeheartedly on what they want and they willingly make any necessary sacrifices to achieve their goal. Their motivation to create wealth overrides their doubts and fears and makes them more resilient to setbacks. 

(Shortform note: Research supports Eker’s claim that setting intentions increases your likelihood of achieving your financial goals. This is because intentions force you to focus on who you want to be, and they increase your self-discipline when you’re faced with conflicting choices about how to spend your time or your money. For example, if you set a clear intention to invest a specific amount of money into a savings account, you’ll know the right way to act when faced with a decision between saving and wasting your money on something frivolous.)

Eker proposes two ways to clarify your intention to create wealth: 

1) Write down the specific benefits you’ll receive from creating more wealth in your life. 

(Shortform note: Many self-improvement practitioners agree that you need to feel emotionally invested in your goals in order to achieve them—in other words, the more benefits you anticipate from achieving your financial goal, the more inspired and motivated you’ll feel to achieve it. Therefore, when you write your list of benefits, try to make it as exciting as possible.)

2) Write down an ambitious financial goal that reflects the rich life you want and place it somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. Aim high but make sure this goal is achievable within a realistic time frame.

(Shortform note: Eker suggests that you challenge yourself when setting your financial goal. Similarly, Grant Cardone (The 10X Rule) argues that the only way to achieve success is to set extreme goals and take extreme action to meet them. Even if you fail to achieve the specific goal you set for yourself, your extreme actions will impact your finances in a positive way and leave you in a better financial position than if you aim low and take “small” actions.)

T. Harv Eker: How Rich People Think

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Here's what you'll find in our full Secrets of the Millionaire Mind summary :

  • The difference between the way rich people and poor people think and feel about money
  • How to improve your finances by taking conscious control of your thoughts
  • Why you may be holding yourself back from becoming wealthy

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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