What’s better? To have a million dollars or to earn a million dollars? Most people including my sons would probably say the former. They are probably convinced that it’s all about having and not about earning. Who can blame them. The world seems to revolve around the rich or at least the ones that appear to be rich. Who wouldn’t want all the appearances of being rich? The cars, the trips, the fancy phones, and the cool clothes. It all seems so appealing. Who wouldn’t want to just skip the earning part and move on to having it all?
The difference between having a million and earning a million is actually quite great. When you’ve earned a million dollars you are a very different person than someone who has just inherited the money or has won the lottery. Someone who knows how to earn a million has confidence and is a very capable person. Someone who was just given a million is in a very scary position. How long can they hang on to that money? The evidence seems to say not for long.
A recent study of lottery winners shows that many of them squander the money within 5 years. In fact they go bankrupt at twice the average of the population. It seems they “develop a taste for luxury goods that outlasts their income”. So it seems the having is short lived unless you have developed some good habits about saving and investing your money. Those who are given money evidently lack certain characteristics. In short, they weren’t ready for the money yet.
If you look at millionaires they have some common characteristics. These are things that have enabled them to acquire and keep a large amount of money. For someone who isn’t going to inherit a million dollars or win the lottery, which is most of us, these could be valuable things to study. Here is a list of 10 common characteristics that millionaires share.
1. They are focused
2. They think of the possibilities for the future
3. They never stop learning
4. They love to teach
5. They take action
6. They build a team
7. They invest instead of spending
8. They are generous
9. They are not afraid of failure
10. They are leaders
It’s been discovered that the best way to become a millionaire is to study them. There are lots of great books on this if want to know more. My intent is to show that having wealth is a process not a destination. If you are in the process of becoming someone who can earn a million dollars then you’re on a good path.
What other positive qualities will come out of earning? I can think of several self confidence, self respect, patience, knowledge, and financial skills. Self confidence is an important quality. Self confidence comes from overcoming obstacles and through achievement. You can’t buy it. I knew a young man when I was in college. His parents had given him everything. He had a new car, his own apartment, trendy clothes, and lots of electronics. However, I later found out that he had been kicked out of several schools and had zero self confidence. He had never had to earn anything for himself. His life was a mess. The money had done him no favors.
Self respect is a quality that many struggle to achieve. The lack of it shows up when we over eat, don’t exercise, or treat ourselves poorly. Negative self talk or being too hard on ourselves is another way this shows up in our lives. We show self respect when treat ourselves kindly, get enough rest, eat healthy food, or keep our bodies fit. We also get it from putting in a hard days work or by being honest with others.
Patience is necessary to be successful at earning. Earning doesn’t come quickly. It is a building process. Patience doesn’t mean we don’t move on opportunities quickly. It means we move with haste but we don’t make hash decisions. We don’t want to waste money or time on a bad investment. You still must be diligent.
The process of earning is not about what you’ll have when you reach your goal. It’s about who you will become in the process of getting there. It’s never about the goals. It’s about the journey and embracing your greatness as you reach for goals that scare you and stretch you as a person. Remember if your goals don’t scare you then they aren’t good goals. The best goals are scary and they involve things you don’t already know how to do. So go forth and earn that million if that’s what scares you.