The Secret To Achieving Massive Success In Record Time — How To Get 100x Results From Your Work

Does “overnight success,” really exist?

There seem to be people who make meteoric rises. One day they’re nobody. The next day they’re a household name.

It appears that way, but more often than not a lot of work went on behind the scenes.

Everyone wants to be successful, but few are willing to do what it takes to succeed. While it will take some time and effort to make major progress, it doesn’t have to take forever.

There are some ways to speed up the process and become successful quickly. You don’t have to toil away for 10,000 hours before you accomplish something significant. If you follow these strategies you’ll be well on your way to living a successful life in record time.

Success Is A Series Of Steps

“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time day by day. At the end of the day, if you live long enough, most people get what they deserve.” — Charlie Munger

Wait a minute — this article was supposed to be about how to achieve success quickly, what gives?

Taking things step by step will lead to massive success if you’re consistent. If you consciously spend each day trying to improve yourself and your craft you will take a massive leap at some point.

The problem most people have is inconsistency. If you aren’t consistent, you won’t build a solid foundation to be able to make giant leaps forward

Let’s say you want to be a writer. Many successful writers will tell you the key to being a great writer is building a consistent writing habit. But most people will attempt writing this way — they’ll try to “fit it in,” here and there. They’ll write non stop for a couple of days then take weeks off before they write again.

The same thought process can be used in any area. Inconsistency will kill your chances of being successful. Slow and steady and incessant wins the race.

Read 500 Books

“The key to reading lots of book begins with stop thinking of it as some activity that you do. Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you. It’s not something you do because you feel like it, but because it’s a reflex, a default.” — Ryan Holiday

Reading should be treated like a job, not a hobby. Gathering and applying knowledge speeds up the process of becoming successful.

You can read your way into becoming an expert at anything. There’s an eerily strong correlation between reading a lot and becoming successful. James Altucher says if you can’t read 500 books you should give up on becoming successful altogether.

What area are you seeking to become successful in? Read 250 books in that area to build a rock solid knowledge base. Read 250 books in areas unrelated to your subject so that you can form mental models to help you solve difficult problems.

This connection of ideas is known as the adjacent possible.

“The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore those boundaries. Each new combination ushers new combinations into the adjacent possible. Think of it as a house that magically expands with each door you open. Keep opening new doors and eventually you’ll have built a palace.” — Steven Johnson,Where Good Ideas Come From.

Reading tons of books expands your mind and continues to open more doors in the adjacent possible. Your knowledge base will grow until you explode with creativity and are able to make insightful connects between disparate ideas.

The speed of your success depends on the pace of your learning.

Research, Front Load Your Work, Iterate

Many make the mistake of falling in love with their idea and ignoring whether or not their product or service is something people actually want.

This is the type of person who comes up with a business idea and immediately buys business cards, throws up a website, and believes people will flock to it.

Rule number one for creating a successful business, getting your idea to spread, or building a following — nobody cares about you.

It’s great that you want to follow your passion, but you need to make sure what you’re offering fits a market need.

Yes, Steve Jobs had the magical ability to predict what consumer wanted before they knew it themselves. But you’re not Steve Jobs.

So where do you go to do research? Here are a few options:

  • Quora — Quora is a platform where people ask questions publicly and anyone can answer them. It’s a gold mine for researching the hopes, fears, and dreams of your target audience. If you’re looking to position yourself as an expert, Quora is a great avenue to practice by answering people’s questions.
  • Amazon — Go on amazon and look for books related to your subject or industry. Find the most popular books on that topic and read the reviews. Pay attention to the critical reviews — 3 stars or less. These will show you what people thought could be better about that book. You can use that knowledge to create something better to fill in the gaps left by others in your field.
  • Niche Forums — Search for forums related to your field and read the comments and replies. Like Quora, forums are another resource to tap into the minds of potential customers or audience members. You can even participate in the conversation yourself to build your expertise.

The next step is front loading the work. Front loading means you do a large amount of work in the beginning that pays major dividends later on.

What do most people do? They rush. They putout inferior work that could have been improved.

Instead of writing ten blog posts that take an hour a piece. Write one blog post that takes ten hours to write. People can tell the difference between a methodical masterpiece and a cobbled together piece of shit.

You want to be word class in everything you do. It’s the only way to stand out in a sea of noise, charlatans, and average people.

Whatever you’re trying to create, spend 10x the time in the initial phases in order to achieve 100x the results.

The final step is to iterate. You’ve done your research, you’ve front loaded the work, and now it’s time to unveil your product, service, or piece of work. The caveat to this process is that it may not be as well received as you imagined it to be. That’s okay. Take the feedback you receive and use it to make your product even better.

Niel Patel, marketing expert and founder of four separate multi-million dollar companies, described the iterative process he used to launch one of his products, crazy egg.

He created a minimum viable product, also known as a beta version. He showed the product to a small group of business owners in his target market. They gave him feedback on what could be improved. He incorporated that feedback and created a new version. Again, they gave him more feedback. He went through several iterations until his product was top notch.

One of the major mistakes people make is failing to listen. They take things personally when their ideas aren’t well-received. They don’t learn from past mistakes to build a better future.

Paying attention to feedback and taking action to improve based on that feedback will make you succeed much quicker.

Find A Mentor or Hire A Coach

“Commit to an apprenticeship, in which you undergo years of humble observation, skill acquisition, and experimentation.” — Robert Greene, Mastery

Finding a mentor may be the best way to shorten your learning curve and make massive leaps in progress. If you learn from someone who has experience in your field you can avoid potential pitfalls you may have encountered had you not had a mentor guiding you.

The second option involves paying someone to teach you what they know. Many people scoff at the idea of paying for coaching, but those types of people aren’t high performers.

The best athletes in the world pay for top trainers and coaches during the off season. Your favorite singer has a vocal coach. Top leaders and CEOs of companies pay tens of thousands of dollars for consulting and coaching to take their businesses to the next level.

Ramit Sethi, personal finance, career, and behavioral change expert wrote an article about how he paid $25,000 for personal coaching. He said he would have paid 10x the price for the value he received.

Successful people invest in themselves and their future. Unsuccessful people are cynical and worried about getting “scammed,” even though the society they live in has been pulling the wool over their eyes for years.

You could spend hours on end searching for free information on the internet, but you’re actually spending something more valuable than money — your time. Smart people seek out even smarter people to help them.

The Truth About Becoming Successful Quickly

There is no “magic bullet,” solution to becoming successful. You can, however, become successful in a relatively short amount of time. When I use the word quickly I’m comparing a couple of years to a lifetime of mediocrity and lack of achievement.

3 to 5 years isn’t a long time. If you knew that your success was guaranteed if you put in 3 to 5 years of work would you follow through? I’m sure you would. It’s the uncertainty that holds you back.

The best solution to curing self-doubt and wondering “what if,” is to work. If you want to be successful twice as fast, work twice as hard and twice as smart.

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” — Earl Nightingale

You might be worried about wasting time, but ironically, if you’re not working towards something your time’s already being wasted.

You’ll start getting traction if you put your head down and work. I started writing a year ago with no experience whatsoever. I wrote more than 100 blog posts. I self-published a book that hit the #1 spot in multiple categories on Amazon and have had my work featured on large publications and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.

I still have my 2 to 4 years left, but by that time no one will be able to ignore me.

The same progress can happen for you if you would only get started.

Is today your day?

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The Secret To Achieving Massive Success In Record Time — How To Get 100x Results From Your Work

24 Daily Habits That Will Boost Your Intelligence

The inner workings of the human brain are still one of humanity’s great mysteries.

As neuroscience has advanced, we’ve learned that we can train our brains tothink more clearly, be more positive, and better express creativity.

In fact, Steve Jobs famously trained his brain using Zen mindfulness meditation to reduce stress, enhance clarity, and boost his creativity.

What if you could actually train your brain to be smarter?

A recent Quora thread posed the question: What are some of the easy things that people can do to keep improving their intelligence?

Over 100 professionals weighed in with their favorite tactics for making themselves smarter — easy to practice habits they work into their daily routine.Business Insider columnist Skye Gould then took those suggestions and created the infographic below.

You probably have “Things to Do” lists. I know I usually have one going on my desk. But have you ever made an “I Did” list, itemizing your daily accomplishments? It’s a different way of framing the tasks you achieve each day, and it can actually help make you smarter.

Writing down what you learn is another tactic that only takes a few minutes, but it can help you better retain information and reinforce what you’ve taken away from a meeting, conference, structured lesson, etc.

Some of the suggestions are more fun, like “Use a word-of-the-day app.” This is a noncommittal way of building your vocabulary, and becoming smarter, in just the few seconds it takes you to check the app.

Each of the ideas below is designed to enhance your intelligence. Although no one tactic will send your IQ through the roof, combined they can help you stay sharp and even become smarter, one day at a time. Check it out:

Image credit: Skye Gould/Business Insider

24 Daily Habits That Will Boost Your Intelligence

The Secret To Success, Happiness, and Productivity — 15 Subtle Yet Life Altering Changes In Mindset

Are you the bitch of your own brain?

You want to live a productive, happy, and successful life, but mental roadblocks keep getting in your way.

You know what it takes to become successful, but it’s easier said than done. You are willing to do the work it takes to succeed, but your mind leaves you paralyzed and unable to act.

Here’s the good news — It doesn’t necessarily take a giant effort to increase positive results. Sometimes making some subtle changes in the way you think can skyrocket your chances of success.

These small shifts in mindset have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Turn Envy Into Curiosity

We all suffer from jealousy at one point or another. But envy can be useful when you harness its power the right way. Shifting your envious energy into curiosity causes you to take action instead of feeling sorry for yourself.

For example, I remember when I saw an acquaintance of mine get her blog post published on a high traffic website. I was jealous for a bit, but then I decided to figure out how she did it. I had my work published on the same platform days later. I’ve continued to use curiosity to accomplish what I’ve seen others do.

Each time you see someone do something you want to do:

  • Reverse engineer what they’ve done. Or
  • Seek them out and ask them how they did it.

The seemingly huge accomplishments others make aren’t as hard to achieve as you think. Taking the time to learn how other people do things changes everything. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel — just follow the path forged by those ahead of you.

Make Learning An Obligation Instead Of An Option

Increasing rationality and improving as much as you can no matter your age or experience is a moral duty. — Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

Failing to learn and improve yourself increases your chances of being a failure. Think of learning as your price to pay for being a human being. Treat acquiring new information like your occupation. Information has become more accessible than ever before. The playing field is level.

Billionaire businessman Elon Musk basically taught himself rocket science by reading every book on the subject and talking to experts in the field. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet is known to read for up to eight hours per day. Buffet says, “The more you learn, the more you can potentially earn.”

Don’t work your way to the top. Learn your way to the top.

Change “I am” to “I’m working on it.”

The labels you place on yourself shape your actions. Be careful what words you use after the phrase “I am.” The minute you label yourself as lazy, stupid, weak, or anything else negative, you act in accordance with that label. Instead of placing labels on yourself, try making statements indicating you’re in the process of improving.

  • Instead of “I’m lazy” — “I’m working on becoming a more productive person.”
  • Instead of “I’m broke” — “I’m learning how to manage my finances and how to develop the skills to earn more.”
  • Instead of “I’m dumb” — “I’m in the process of learning as much as I can and my knowledge base will grow.”

This subtle shift in the way you describe yourself will result in dramatic changes in behavior.

Change From Fixed Mindset To Growth Mindset

Best selling author and psychologist Carol Dweck dives deeply into this topic in her book, Mindset.

We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary. — Carol Dweck.

Take Michael Jordan for example. In many people’s eyes, Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. When he was in high school, however, he was not a highly coveted recruit. He showed flashes of greatness during his college career, but no one was expecting him to be the greatest player ever when he was drafted into the NBA. The key to Jordan’s success was not a superhuman level of talent, but a superhuman level of work ethic and willingness to improve.

Jordan put in his 10,000 hours of practice before he exploded onto the scene. Had he not worked so consistently, he may have never reached that level of success.

You can’t do anything you put your mind to — but if you find something you’re naturally talented in and work at it relentlessly you’re likely to to become successful.

Make Success Chase You, Not The Other Way Around

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.” — Victor E Frankyl

Success should not be sought after. Instead, focus on becoming the best version of yourself, and success will follow. Here are some examples of how to make success chase you and not the other way around.

The cream rises to the top. When you focus on doing great work, people will find out about you. Turn inward and think about how you can improve yourself a little more each day –the results will come later.

Find 300 Spartans Instead of Building A Giant Army

You might have dreams of being famous and significant. You want everyone to revel in your creation and love the work you do — but it’ll never happen. Your goal should be to find your tribe and build a following of dedicated people who support your higher vision.

In the movie 300, a small troop of Spartan soldiers were able to fend off a massive Persian army in a series of battles. The Persian army was comprised of slaves, prisoners of war, and cobbled together troops of civilians. The Spartans dedicated their entire existence to warfare. Their dedication and devotion to one another was their biggest asset.

Which would you rather have — the feigned support of the masses, or a group of die-hard and dedicated people who share the same cause as you? Successful people choose the latter.

Narrow Your Focus Instead of Focusing On Being Well — Rounded

“By the time a student gets to college, he’s spent a decade curating a bewilderingly diverse resume to prepare for a completely unknowable future. Come what may, he’s ready–for nothing in particular.”- Peter Thiel, Zero to One.

In the book Thiel also asks this contrarian question — “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

My answer — People shouldn’t be allowed to have tons options when it comes to their future. The world would be a better place if we focused on aptitude early on and steered people in the direction they’re destined for.

You’re naturally suited to do a hand full of things. Finding happiness, becoming productive, and staying motivated happens easily when you find something you’re wired to do.

Here are some resources to help pinpoint your natural strengths and make it much easier to find a path to follow:

Strengths Finder 2.0

Meyers Briggs Test

Authentic Happiness Questionnaire

Ennegram Test

Self awareness leads to prosperity. Find out who you are to figure out what you want.

Focus On What Not To Do

A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid — Charlie Munger.

The key to success seems mysterious. But there are some obvious keys to failure. Instead of trying to unlock the secrets to motivation, success, and productivity, focus on what you shouldn’t be doing and avoid doing those things. Observe people who aren’t successful to learn what to avoid. You can learn from mistakes, but who say’s they have to be yours?

Focus On Sanity, Not Ambition

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do. Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you. Sanity means tying it to your own actions. — Marcus Aurelius.

Here’s the truth about success nobody wants to tell you. Sometimes you can do everything the right way and still fail. Luck does come into play and bad things can happen to good people. When you tie your happiness to specific outcomes, you’re putting yourself at risk to become depressed and unhappy when things don’t go your way.

When you tie your well being to your actions, you can look back at what you’ve done with pride. Oftentimes dedicated effort and persistence will lead to success, but if things don’t work out you can still be content to know you did everything in your power to succeed.

Point Your Fear In The Right Direction

Fear provides the motivation you need to succeed if you use it the right way. You can’t rid yourself of fear, but you can point it in a direction that either helps you or hinders you.

Most people fear:

  • Uncertainty
  • Failure
  • Mistakes

Successful people fear:

  • Regret
  • Failing to take action
  • Having to wonder “what if?”

Accept your fear. Embrace it. Use its energy properly.

Focus On Short Bursts Of Productivity Instead Of Being Productive 24/7

Our society puts productivity on a pedestal. We’re always looking for tips, tricks, and hacks, to become hyper productive and organized. You don’t need a meticulously organized Evernote file, you just need to set aside short blocks of time for focused and productive work.

Here are the keys to making the most out of your time blocks:

  • Don’t multi-task (It kills your brain).
  • Rid your environment of distractions — no phone, email, or social media.
  • Commit to a time frame you can follow through with — 30 minutes of concentrated work trumps 2 hours of distracted work. Be realistic. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Give yourself credit for following through with these short productive periods. Over time you’ll be able to stay focused for longer periods and you’ll develop into a more productive person as a whole.

Value Experience Over Credentials

Many of us suffer from impostor syndrome. You might not feel like you’re qualified enough or have the right credentials for the path you’re pursuing.

Expertise comes from knowledge and experience — not from a piece of paper. Being viewed as an expert comes from knowing what you’re talking about and earning people’s respect.

In Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he says people are influenced by the mere perception of authority, regardless of whether or not they’re “worthy,” of being one.

Think of someone dressed in a white lab coat with a stethoscope around their neck — their appearance alone would lead you to believe they’re competent, intelligent, and trustworthy, even if they weren’t an actual doctor.

When you develop necessary knowledge, you’ll build the confidence to position yourself as an authority and people will treat you like one.

Never Think Of Time As Being Wasted (Everything Matters)

You might be worried about making the wrong choices when it comes to your future. You don’t want to waste a bunch of time traveling down the wrong path. When you think of every moment of your life as important you realize that time can never be wasted.

Even if you path you follow doesn’t work out your way you still gain:

  • Experience — Even if you spend months or years in a career you weren’t suited for, you’ve gained useful skills a long the way.
  • Connection — Every person you encounter a long the way has something valuable to offer. If you’re observant you’ll learn something new from everyone you meet.
  • Feedback — When things don’t work out your way on your initial attempt, you’ll have a better idea what to do next time.

Everything matters. The mistakes you made in the past might lead to your success in the future. When you have a high awareness level you’re able to glean useful insight from every moment.

Treat Safety As A Negative

In the book Antifragile, Nassim Taleb reveals the problem with being lulled into a false sense of safety and security.

“Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race ‘looking out for its best interests,’ as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.”

A false sense of security leaves you fragile when exposed to what Taleb calls, “black swan events.” Think of the economic collapse of 08–09. Before the downturn, people believed in job security. That myth has now been shattered.

Stay on your toes. Seek to become antifragile by introducing volatility into your life. Structure your life in a way that benefits from uncertainty. The most adaptable species are the ones who survive — not necessarily the strongest.

Be Okay With Finishing Last (As Long As You’re In The Right Race)

Most people are in a race to the bottom or to the middle. I’m not against people receiving a fair minimum wage, but think of it this way — raising the minimum wage is only important to you if you plan on staying at the bottom.

When you’re on the race to the top, you’ll still be in great shape even if you finish last. The difference between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 is the way they think. You can roll your eyes at that or accept it as being true.

Simply believing in doing the improbable catapults you into the top five percent of the population.

If you spend your entire life learning what it takes to be successful and you never give up you’ll do just fine. Level up your game.

Don’t look at experts and influencers in a state of awe — vow to take their spot.

They aren’t special.

They’re just normal human beings who had the audacity to believe there’s more to life than living a mediocre existence.

Remove the word “aspiring,” from your vocabulary. It’s time to turn pro and play with the big boys and girls. Believe in your capacity to achieve. Resolve to do whatever it takes to make it to the top.

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The Secret To Success, Happiness, and Productivity — 15 Subtle Yet Life Altering Changes In Mindset

The Art of Reading, Remembering, and Retaining More Books

By Kevan Lee

“I just sit in my office and read all day.”

This is how Warren Buffett, one of the most successful people in the business world, describes his day. Sitting. Reading.

He advises everyone to read more, and that’s certainly a goal we can all get behind. Our personal improvements at Buffer regularly come back to the books we read — how we aim to read more and make reading a habit. I imagine you’re in the same boat as well. Reading more is one of our most common ambitions.

So how do we do it? And what are we to do with all that information once we have it?

Reading more and remembering it all is a discussion with a lot of different layers and a lot of interesting possibilities. I’m happy to lay out a few possibilities here on how to read more and remember it all, and I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

But first, let’s set some baselines …

How fast do you read?

One of the obvious shortcuts to reading more is to read faster. That’s likely the first place a lot of us would look for a quick win in our reading routine.

So how fast do you read?

Staples (yes, the office supply chain) collected speed reading data as part of an advertising campaign for selling e-readers. The campaign also included a speed reading tool that is still available to try. Go ahead and take the test to see how fast you read.

(My score was 337 words per minute. Yours?)

The Staples speed reading test includes data on how other demographics stack up in words per minute. According to Staples, the average adult reads 300 words per minute.

  • Third-grade students = 150 words per minute
  • Eight grade students = 250
  • Average college student = 450
  • Average “high level exec” = 575
  • Average college professor = 675
  • Speed readers = 1,500
  • World speed reading champion = 4,700

Is reading faster always the right solution to the goal of reading more?Not always. Comprehension still matters, and some reports say that speed reading or skimming leads to forgotten details and poor retention. Still, if you can bump up your words per minute marginally while still maintaining your reading comprehension, it can certainly pay dividends in your quest to read more.

There’s another way to look at the question of “reading more,” too.

How much do you read?

There’s reading fast, and then there’s reading lots. A combination of the two is going to be the best way to supercharge your reading routine, but each is valuable on its own. In fact, for many people, it’s not about the time trial of going beginning-to-end with a book or a story but rather more about the story itself. Speed reading doesn’t really help when you’re reading for pleasure.

In this sense, a desire to read more might simply mean having more time to read, and reading more content — books, magazines, articles, blog posts — in whole.

Let’s start off with a reading baseline. How many books do you read a year?

A 2012 study by the Pew Research Center found that adults read an average of 17 books each year.

The key word here is “average.” There are huge extremes at either end, both those who read way more than 17 books per year and those who read way less — like zero. The same Pew Research study found 19 percent of Americans don’t read any books. A Huffington Post/YouGov poll from 2013showed that number might be even higher: 28 percent of Americans haven’t read a book in the past year.

Wanting to read more puts you in pretty elite company.

5 ways to read more books, blogs, and articles

1. Read for speed: Tim Ferriss’ guide to reading 300% faster

Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek and a handful of other bestsellers, is one of the leading voices in lifehacks, experiments, and getting things done. So it’s no wonder that he has a speed-reading method to boost your reading speed threefold.

His plan contains two techniques:

  1. Using a pen as a tracker and pacer, like how some people move their finger back and forth across a line as they read
  2. Begin reading each new line at least three words in from the first word of the line and end at least three words in from the last word

The first technique, the tracker/pacer, is mostly a tool to use for mastering the second technique. Ferriss calls this second technique Perceptual Expansion. With practice, you train your peripheral vision to be more effective by picking up the words that you don’t track directly with your eye. According to Ferriss:

Untrained readers use up to ½ of their peripheral field on margins by moving from 1st word to last, spending 25–50% of their time “reading” margins with no content.

The below image from shows how this concept of perceptual expansion might look in terms of reading:

You’ll find similar ideas in a lot of speed reading tips and classes (some going so far as to suggest you read line by line in a snake fashion). Rapid eye movements called saccades occur constantly as we read and as our eyes jump from margins to words. Minimizing these is a key way to boost your reading times.

The takeaway here: If you can advance your peripheral vision, you may be able to read faster — maybe not 300 percent faster, but every little bit counts.

2. Try a brand new way of reading

Is there still room for innovation in reading? A couple of new reading tools say yes.

Spritz and Blinkist take unique approaches to helping you read more — one helps you read faster and the other helps you digest books quicker.

First, Spritz. As mentioned above in the speed reading section, there is a lot of wasted movement when reading side-to-side and top-to-bottom.

Spritz cuts all the movement out entirely.

Spritz shows one word of an article or book at a time inside a box. Each word is centered in the box according to the Optimal Recognition Point — Spritz’s term for the place in a word that the eye naturally seeks — and this center letter is colored red.

Spritz has yet to launch anything related to its technology, but there is a bookmarklet called OpenSpritz, created by, that lets you use the Spritz reading method on any text you find online.

Here is what OpenSpritz looks like at 600 words per minute:

The Spritz website has a demo on the homepage that you can try for yourself and speed up or slow down the speeds as you need.

Along with Spritz is the new app Blinkist. Rather than a reimagining of the way we read, Blinkist is a reimagining of the way we consume books. Based on the belief that the wisdom of books should be more accessible to us all, Blinkist takes popular works of non-fiction and breaks the chapters down into bite-sized parts.

These so-called “blinks” contain key insights from the books, and they are meant to be read in two minutes or less. Yes, it’s a lot like Cliff Notes. Though the way the information is delivered — designed to look great and be eminently usable on mobile devices so you can learn wherever you are — makes it one-of-a-kind.

Here is an example of the Blinkist table of contents from Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things:

I’m sure we can agree that it’s a lot easier to read more when a book is distlled into 10 chapters, two minutes each.

3. Read more by making the time

Shane Parrish of the Farnam Street blog read 14 books in March, and he tackles huge totals like this month-in and month-out. How does he do it?

He makes it a priority, and he cuts out time from other activities.

What gets in the way of reading?

I don’t spend a lot of time watching TV. (The lone exception to this is during football season where I watch one game a week.)

I watch very few movies.

I don’t spend a lot of time commuting.

I don’t spend a lot of time shopping.

If you look at it in terms of raw numbers, the average person watches 35 hours of TV each week, the average commute time is one hour per day round-trip, and you can spend at least another hour per week for grocery shopping.

All in all, that’s a total of 43 hours per week, and at least some of that could be spent reading books.

4. Buy an e-reader

In the same Pew research study that showed Americans’ reading habits, Pew also noted that the average reader of e-books reads 24 books in a year, compared to a person without an e-reader who reads an average of 15.

Could you really read nine more books a year just by purchasing an e-reader?

Certainly the technology is intended to be easy-to-use, portable, and convenient. Those factors alone could make it easier to spend more time reading when you have a spare minute. Those spare minutes might not add up to nine books a year, but it’ll still be time well spent.

5. Read more by not reading at all

This is quite counterintuitive advice, and it comes from a rather counterintuitive book.

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, written by University of Paris literature professor Pierre Bayard, suggests that we view the act of reading on a spectrum and that we consider more categories for books besides simply “have or haven’t read.” Specifically, Bayard suggests the following:

  • books we’ve read
  • books we’ve skimmed
  • books we’ve heard about
  • books we’ve forgotten
  • books we’ve never opened.

He even has his own classification system for keeping track of how he’s interacted with a book in the past.

UB book unknown to me

SB book I have skimmed

HB book I have heard about

FB book I have forgotten

++ extremely positive opinion

+ positive opinion

negative opinion

extremely negative opinion

Perhaps the key to reading more books is simply to look at the act of reading from a different perspective? In Bayard’s system, he essentially is counting books he’s skimmed, heard about, or forgotten as books that he’s read. How might these new definitions alter your reading total for the year?

3 ways to remember what you read

Train your brain with impression, association, and repetition

A great place to start with book retention is with understanding some key ways our brain stores information. Here are three specific elements to consider:

  1. Impression
  2. Association
  3. Repetition

Let’s say you read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of our favorites here at Buffer. You loved the information and want to remember as much as possible. Here’s how:

Impression — Be impressed with the text. Stop and picture a scene in your mind, even adding elements like greatness, shock, or a cameo from yourself to make the impression stronger. If Dale Carnegie is explaining his distaste for criticism, picture yourself receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace and then spiking the Nobel Prize onto the dais.

(Another trick with impression is to read an important passage out loud. For some of us, our sensitivity to information can be greater with sounds rather than visuals.)

Association — Link the text to something you already know. This technique is used to great effect with memorization and the construction of memory palaces. In the case of Carnegie’s book, if there is a particular principle you wish to retain, think back to a time when you were part of a specific example involving the principle. Prior knowledge is a great way to build association.

Repetition — The more you repeat, the more you remember. This can occur by literally re-reading a certain passage or in highlighting it or writing it down then returning to it again later.

Practicing these three elements of remembering will help you get better and better. The more you work at it, the more you’ll remember.

Focus on the four levels of reading

Mortimer Adler’s book, How to Read a Book, identifies four levels of reading:

  1. Elementary
  2. Inspectional
  3. Analytical
  4. Syntopical

Each step builds upon the previous step. Elementary reading is what you are taught in school. Inspectional reading can take two forms: 1) a quick, leisurely read or 2) skimming the book’s preface, table of contents, index, and inside jacket.

Where the real work (and the real retention begins) is with analytical reading and syntopical reading.

With analytical reading, you read a book thoroughly. More so than that even, you read a book according to four rules, which should help you with the context and understanding of the book.

  1. Classify the book according to subject matter.
  2. State what the whole book is about. Be as brief as possible.
  3. List the major parts in order and relation. Outline these parts as you have outlined the whole.
  4. Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.

The final level of reading is syntopical, which requires that you read books on the same subject and challenge yourself to compare and contrast as you go.

As you advance through these levels, you will find yourself incorporating the brain techniques of impression, association, and repetition along the way. Getting into detail with a book (as in the analytical and syntopical level) will help cement impressions of the book in your mind, develop associations to other books you’ve read and ideas you’ve learned, and enforce repetition in the thoughtful, studied nature of the different reading levels.

Keep the book close (or at least your notes on the book)

One of the most common threads in my research into remembering more of the books you read is this: Take good notes.

Scribble in the margins as you go.

Bookmark your favorite passages.

Write a review when you’ve finished.

Use your Kindle Highlights extensively.

And when you’ve done these things, return to your notes periodically to review and refresh.

Shane Parrish of Farnam Street is a serial note taker, and he finds himself constantly returning to the books he reads.

After I finish a book, I let it age for a week or two and then pick it up again. I look at my notes and the sections I’ve marked as important. I write them down. Or let it age for another week or two.

Even Professor Pierre Bayard, the author of How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, identifies the importance of note-taking and review:

Once forgetfulness has set in, he can use these notes to rediscover his opinion of the author and his work at the time of his original reading. We can assume that another function of the notes is to assure him that he has indeed read the works in which they were inscribed, like blazes on a trail that are intended to show the way during future periods of amnesia.

I’ve tried this method for myself, and it has completely changed the way I perceive the books I read. I look at books as investments in a future of learning rather than a fleeting moment of insight, soon to be forgotten.I store all the reviews and notes from my books on my personal blog so I can search through them when I need to remember something I’ve read.

(Kindle has a rather helpful feature online, too, where it shows you a daily, random highlight from your archive of highlights. It’s a great way to relive what you’ve read in the past.)

It’s not important which method you have for note-taking and review so long as you have one. Let it be as simple as possible to complete so that you can make sure you follow through.

Over to you

How many books do you read each year? What will be your goal for this year? What’s your best tip for reading more and remembering more? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

P.S. If you liked this post, you might also like The Two Brain Systems that Control Our Attention: The Science of Gaining Focus and 5 Unconventional Ways to Become a Better Writer (Hint: It’s About Being a Better Reader).

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The Art of Reading, Remembering, and Retaining More Books

Reverse-Engineering Your Business Plan: Success Starts With the End

In his book Start at the End, Dave Lavinsky details how to reverse-engineer a business plan by first identifying your goals and then methodically determining the assets and financial metrics that you’ll need to achieve them. This edited excerpt focuses on developing your vision, from both a customer and a business perspective.

You know you must create a vision of your successful business. Without one, you won’t know where you’re headed. Once you have one, you can use it to reverse engineer a business plan to attain it.

The first step is to write down where you want to go. We call this your vision or mission. There are actually two visions you need to develop: one from a customer perspective and one from a business perspective.

Your vision from a customer perspective explains what you are trying to do for your customers. One restaurant‘s customer vision might be to, “serve the best Italian food in this town.” Your vision from a business perspective explains what your organization is trying to achieve financially and your long-term vision. For example, do you want to sell your organization to another company or to your employees? Give it to your children? Take it public? Continue to run it and reap ongoing profits?

Your customer-focused vision should explain what you are trying to do for your customers. Ask yourself what is the one thing that are you trying to do better than anyone else in serving your customers? A good customer-focused vision statement could be “to provide the most environmentally-friendly cleaning products” or “to provide the highest-quality automotive service” to customers. It’s also critical to add a number of customers and an end date to your customer-focused vision statement.

Related: What to Do Before Firing a Problem Client

Judge your statement against these questions:

  • Will it inspire you, your employees, your customers or potential investors or partners?
  • Does it clearly state what your company does?
  • Is it realistic and believable?
  • Is it in line with your and your company’s values and culture?

But a business can’t achieve its customer-focused vision if it goes out of business. Your business-focused vision statement must show the endgame you’d like to achieve, and the financial metrics and business assets you need to realize it.

There will come a time when an owner will leave the business, so define the endgame you’d prefer: selling the business, taking it public, giving it to your children or selling it to employees. Think about your potential date of exit and the amount for which you’d like to sell your company.

Write down the endgame you’d like to achieve: the date of your exit, how you will exit and the dollar amount of your exit. For example, “on Dec. 31, 2018, I will sell my business for $40 million.” Now you need to identify and achieve the requirements for success. For example, let’s say that you would like to sell your business for $40 million. How much revenue must you be generating at the time of sale? How many customers must you be serving? How many employees will you have?

To determine what your business needs to look like to earn your chosen payday, you need to consider financial metrics and business assets. Financial metrics are the actual numbers that gauge your performance. Common measurements include dollar revenues, dollar EBITDA (that’s shorthand for earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation, depletion and amortization), percentage of market share, and numbers of customers.

Business assets are the elements you’ve created that give you future economic benefits. They allow you to achieve your financial metrics. They include products and services; technology and intellectual property; strategic partnerships; brand and reputation, and plants and operating equipment.

Understanding financial metrics and business assets forces most entrepreneurs to stop focusing solely on growing revenues and profits, and figure out what assets they must build to achieve those financial metrics. Here’s a fictional example:

I have a small company that sells organic sunscreen, and my endgame is to sell it for $40 million on Dec. 31, 2018. Working backward, I know that businesses in my sector sell on average for two times revenues.

To realize my $40 million sale, I need to generate $20 million in annual sales. I would like to generate 25 percent earnings before EBITDA because that would appeal to both an acquirer and myself. So, my EBITDA goal is $5 million.

I must sell 2.85 million bottles per year, at a wholesale price of $7 per unit, to generate $20 million in sales. My average customer will buy four bottles a year, so I will need to serve 712,500 customers.

Related: How to Figure Out Exactly What Your Customers Want

To achieve these financial metrics, I will need to build significant business assets and hire marketing, public relations and social media experts and teams. I will also need to build a customer service team and hire a chief financial officer to raise money and manage finances.

I must increase the size of my U.S. plant, contract an overseas manufacturing facility, and hire a manager to manage operations.

I will need to be in 1,200 retail locations that can sell, on average, 1,000 units per year and 6,600 retail locations that can sell, on average, 250 units per year. So I need to secure six distributors and get direct accounts with select retailers.

Finally, I need to standardize hiring and training, product manufacturing, quality control and distribution and new-product development.

Now envision your company at its exit. What financial metrics do you need to achieve to realize your endgame or exit vision? What business assets do you need to build?

Reverse-Engineering Your Business Plan: Success Starts With the End

13 steps anyone can take to get rich, according to a journalist who spent his career studying millionaires

Prompted by legendary businessman Andrew Carnegie, who turned a few nickels and dimes into a fortune, journalist Napoleon Hill researched more than 500 self-made millionaires over 20 years before releasing his 1937 best-seller “Think and Grow Rich.”

“It was Mr. Carnegie’s idea that the magic formula, which gave him a stupendous fortune, ought to be placed within reach of people who do not have time to investigate how men make money,” Hill wrote in the preface.

The 13-step “magic formula” — which involves no mention of “money” or “wealth,” but focuses instead on breaking down the psychological barriers that hold us back from attaining our own fortunes — is just as relevant today, 78 years later.

Here are Hill’s 13 steps, in his words and ours:

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1. Desire: You have to want it

All of the super wealthy started with a certain amount of dreaming, hoping, planning, and desiring before they became rich. They imagined riches before they saw them in their bank accounts, Hill explains:

Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches.

This is not so different from the modern-day concept of visualizing a savings goal with a specific price tag.

Flickr/José Manuel Ríos Valiente

2. Faith: Believe that you can achieve your goal

Growing rich starts with your mindset — with the belief that you can accumulate wealth. Hill writes:

Riches begin in the form of thought! The amount is limited only by the person in whose mind the thought is put into motion. Faith removes limitations!

As self-made millionaire and author Steve Siebold writes, “Being rich isn’t a privilege. Being rich is a right. If you create massive value for others, you have the right to be as rich as you want.”

Francisco Osorio/Flickr

3. Auto-suggestion: Use affirmations to reach your goal

Turning desire for money or success into reality requires sending your subconscious mind phrases and mantras that support your goal. You have to repeat out loud what it is that you want, and how you plan to get it, so you become obsessed with your purpose.

Hill explains:

Your ability to use the principle of auto-suggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.

For example, if you aim to save $1 million for retirement by putting away money every week, you would repeat, “I will set aside money this week to have $1 million in retirement savings,” as many times as possible each day.

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4. Specialized knowledge: Gain experiences and continue learning

Knowledge is potential power. An education only becomes powerful and leads to great wealth when it is organized and applied to life. It also must be continually sought after. You’re never done learning.

Hill emphasizes:

Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession. Those who are not successful usually make the mistake of believing that the knowledge-acquiring period ends when one finishes school.

Many modern-day successful and wealthy people are voracious readers.

“Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful,” Siebold writes.

Rich people would rather be educated than entertained. Take Warren Buffett, for example, whoestimates that 80% of his working day is dedicated to reading.

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5. Imagination: Come up with ideas and visualize your success

If you can imagine it, you can create it, says Hill:

Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes. Ideas are products of the imagination … Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination.

Don’t be afraid to come up with and develop ideas.

“Whoever you are, wherever you may live, whatever occupation you may be engaged in, just remember in the future, every time you see the words ‘Coca-Cola,’ that its vast empire of wealth and influence grew out of a single idea,” Hill writes.

Consider Sara Blakely, whose small, disruptive idea — making an incision in a pair of pantyhose — led to her booming, billion-dollar business, Spanx, and rocketed her into the limelight.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

6. Organized planning: Take action

Once you’ve visualized your success, you need to take action and go after exactly what you want. You must act with persistence and enthusiasm.

Hill explains:

Opportunity has spread its wares before you. Step up to the front, select what you want, create your plan, put the plan into action, and follow through with persistence …

Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Moreover, people are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence.

For instance, if you’re looking to build wealth, start with forming a financial plan, and determine exactly where you want your money to go.

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7. Decision: Defeat procrastination with decisiveness

A key trait Hill recognized in all of the individuals he studied who acquired great wealth was decisiveness. Those who settle on decisions quickly know what they want, and they tend to get what they want.

He writes:

People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.

Decisiveness is not just a trait of the wealthy, but one of the most important qualities a leader needs to possess. At the end of the day, making a bad decision is better than making no decision at all.

Flickr/Pierce Martin

8. Persistence: Don’t stop until you get what you want

Persistence is crucial when trying to accumulate wealth, yet few people possess the willpower required to turn their desire for money into actual money.

Hill writes:

Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence.

The most successful people tend to have dealt with, and overcome, failure.

“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed,” Mark Cuban told Smart Business. “You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.”

Miles Willis / Stringer / Getty Images

9. Power of the Master Mind: Surround yourself with the best

The wealthiest people create a “Master Mind,” meaning they surround themselves with talented friends and colleagues who share their vision. The alignment of several smart and creative minds is exponentially more powerful than just one.

Hill explains:

No individual may have great power without availing himself of the “Master Mind” …

A group of brains coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought-energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.

This may explain why rich people tend to make friends with other rich people.

“Exposure to people who are more successful than you are has the potential to expand your thinking and catapult your income,” writes self-made millionaire Steve Siebold. “We become like the people we associate with, and that’s why winners are attracted to winners.”

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

10. The mystery of sex transmutation: Choose a compatible partner

Sexual energy is an incredibly powerful human energy — it creates physical life and develops emotional life, and when it is harnessed and redirected, it can enhance our creativity, passion, enthusiasm, and persistence, all which are crucial in accumulating wealth.

Hill says:

Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.

Love, romance, and sex are all emotions capable of driving men to heights of super achievement. When combined, these three emotions may lift one to an altitude of genius.

While this step may feel like a bit of a stretch, having a supportive partner is important to career success. Research also shows that having a conscientious spouse can boost your salary by $4,000 a year.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

11. The subconscious mind: Master positivity and dismiss negative emotions

If you truly want to be rich, you have to plant that desire, and then your plan, into your subconscious mind.

Hill writes:

The subconscious mind will not remain idle! If you fail to plant desires in your subconscious mind, it will feed upon the thoughts which reach it as the result of your neglect.

Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. One or the other must dominate. It is your responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind.

If you want to be successful and grow rich, it is critical that the positive emotions dominate any negative ones that arise, Hill says. He was on to something: Today, research shows that positive, happier people are more likely to perform better at their jobs and are less likely to be unemployed.


12. The brain: Associate with other smart people and learn from them

Our brain is a “transmitter and receiver of thought vibrations” — it absorbs thoughts from other individuals surrounding us, making it even more important to associate with intelligent, creative, and positive individuals.

Hill writes:

Every human brain is capable of picking up vibrations of thought which are being released by other brains …

The Creative Imagination is the “receiving set” of the brain, which receives thoughts released by the brains of others.

This principle is simply application of the Master Mind principle. It takes it one step further — rather than just surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and better, use the members of your group to find solutions to problems or brainstorm ideas. Hill calls this “blending of several minds into one,” and suggests sitting down with a small group of people and diving deep into the problem at hand.

Julian Herbert/Getty

13. The sixth sense: Trust your gut

The final principle — the “sixth sense” — occurs only after you’ve mastered the other 12 principles. You’ll experience a sort of mind-shift.

Hill says: “Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of impending dangers in time to avoid them, and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them.”

While this principle isn’t the most straightforward — Hill admits it is generally not attained until 40 — his basic claim is that your intuition will change. You’ll have achieved a level of wisdom that will allow you to start making smart financial and life decisions naturally.

Although it takes a while to master the final step, you can still get a lot out of the other 12 principles.

Hill says:

No matter who you are, or what may have been your purpose in reading this book, you can profit by it without understanding the principle described in this chapter. This is especially true if your major purpose is that of accumulation of money or other material things.

The chapter on the sixth sense was included, because the book is designed for the purpose of presenting a complete philosophy by which individuals may unerringly guide themselves in attaining whatever they ask of life.

13 steps anyone can take to get rich, according to a journalist who spent his career studying millionaires

9 things to do in your 20s to become a millionaire by 30

Becoming a millionaire by 30 is possible, and you don’t have to found the next Facebook or Snapchat or win a Powerball jackpot to do so. Plenty of regular people have done it.

To help you reach the seven-figure mark, we rounded up nine pieces of advice from people who became millionaires at a young age. We can’t guarantee millionaire status, but doing these things won’t hurt your odds:

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1. Focus on earning

“In today’s economic environment you cannot save your way to millionaire status,” writes Grant Cardone, who went from broke and in debt at 21 to self-made millionaire by 30. “The first step is to focus on increasing your income in increments and repeating that.

“My income was $3,000 a month and nine years later it was $20,000 a month. Start following the money, and it will force you to control revenue and see opportunities.”

Earning more money is often easier said than done, but most people have options. Read about50 ways to bring in additional income, some high-paying jobs you can do on the side, how you can earn passive income, and how to start a side-hustle from a woman who earned up to $4,000 a month on the side.

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

2. Save to invest, don’t save to save

Writes Cardone:

The only reason to save money is to invest it. Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. This will force you to continue to follow step one (increase income). To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures I cannot access.

Investing is not as complicated or daunting as we make it out to be. The simplest starting point is to contribute to your 401(k) if your employer offers one, and take full advantage of your company’s 401(k) match program — which is essentially free money — if it has one.

Next, consider contributing money toward a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, individual retirement accounts with different contribution limits and tax structures — which one you can use depends on your income. If you still have money left over, you can research low-cost index funds, which Warren Buffett recommends, and look into the online-investment platforms known as “robo-advisers.”

The key to consistently setting aside money is to make it automatic. That way, you’ll never even see the money you’re contributing and you’ll learn to live without it.

3. Ask for help

“At a certain point in my business, I couldn’t grow any further until I hired a few key people,” writes Daniel Ally, who became a millionaire in less than five years at 24.

He continued:

Asking for help wasn’t my forte, but I had to make it happen. Within months I had a lawyer, editor, personal trainer, part-time chef, and other personnel. It cost me a fortune at first, but eventually helped push me into the million-dollar mark. Most people won’t ask for help because their ego is in the way.

Asking for help extends beyond hiring key people. As self-made millionaire Steve Siebold explains in his book “How Rich People Think,” the rich aren’t afraid to fund their future from other people’s pockets.

“World class believes in using other people’s money,” he writes. “Rich people know not being solvent enough to personally afford something is not relevant. The real question is, ‘Is this worth buying, investing in, or pursuing?'”

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4. Be decisive

“Avoid decision fatigue,” writes Tucker Hughes, who became a millionaire by 22. “Attention is a finite daily resource and can be a bottleneck on productivity. No matter the mental stamina developed over time, there is always going to be a threshold where you break down and your remaining efforts for the day become suboptimal.

“Conserve your mental power by making easily reversible decisions as quickly as possible and aggressively planning recurring actions so you can execute simple tasks on autopilot. I know what I am wearing to work and eating for breakfast each day next week. Do you?”

Hughes isn’t the only one who believes in developing decisiveness. After studying over 500 millionaires, journalist and author Napoleon Hill found that they all shared this quality.

“Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond the million dollar mark disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly,” Hill wrote in his 1937 personal-finance classic “Think and Grow Rich.”

5. Don’t show off — show up

“I didn’t buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income,” writes Cardone. “I was still driving a Toyota Camry when I had become a millionaire. Be known for your work ethic, not the trinkets that you buy.”

Need inspiration to save more and spend less? Read up on tips and strategies from regular people who saved enough of their incomes to retire before 40.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

6. Know when to take the right risks and act on them

“Before reaching the seven-figure mark, you must take many risks,” writes Ally. “Taking risks requires much faith in yourself and others, but it must be done. Faith is knowing that what you want will eventually happen as long as you believe it. You’ll have to take major leaps in your life, sometimes not even knowing where it will lead. However, it will pay off once you get to the other side, even if you burn a bridge or two in the process.”

You can’t get rich with low expectations — the wealthiest, most successful people think big andplay to win.

While playing to win in any aspect of life requires an element of risk-taking and a level of comfort with uncertainty, it could be the difference between living an average life and living a rich life, says self-made millionaire T. Harv Eker, who also studied incredibly wealthy people before releasing his book “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.”

Luke MacGregor/Reuters

7. Invest in yourself

“The safest investment I’ve ever made is in my future,” writes Hughes. “Read at least 30 minutes a day, listen to relevant podcasts while driving and seek out mentors vigorously. You don’t just need to be a master in your field, you need to be a well-rounded genius capable of talking about any subject whether it is financial, political or sports related. Consume knowledge like air and put your pursuit of learning above all else.”

Many modern-day successful and wealthy people are voracious readers. Take Warren Buffett, for example, who estimates that 80% of his working day is dedicated to reading.

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8. Master soft skills and cooperate with others

Building a fortune takes people skills and charm just as much as it does strategy.

As Hill warned, “Most people lose their positions and their big opportunities in life because of this fault than for all other reasons combined.”

And billionaire Mark Cuban put it bluntly in an Entrepreneur article about the keys to being successful in business: “People hate dealing with people who are jerks. It’s always easier to be nice than to be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.”

That being said, there is a fine line between cooperating with others and being a pushover.

“In the process of reaching the seven-figure mark, I’ve learned dealing with people is the most important attribute,” writes Ally. “No one can become a millionaire without knowing how to deal with people assertively. You must be prepared when your best friends turn on you or your family betrays you. Sometimes, it will happen at the most unpredictable times.”

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9. Shoot for $10 million, not $1 million

“The single biggest financial mistake I’ve made was not thinking big enough,” writes Cardone. “I encourage you to go for more than a million. There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people thinking big enough.”

9 things to do in your 20s to become a millionaire by 30