Secrets of the Millioniare Mind
T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (2005). Harper Collins: New York, NY
Online at: https://amzn.to/2LvW3jO This book was a super useful intro to the psychology of success and the types of habits and attitudes that successful people employ to get rich. I absolutely recommend it as a starter for anyone seeking to improve their financial life.
Eker posits that successful people all exhibit certain patterns and habits of thinking, which translate to action, which lead to financial success. On the other hand, unsuccessful people have bad financial habits which are usually linked to negative thought patterns that get in their way and derail success. These subconscious factors, good or bad, form our “financial blueprints.” Eker believes you cannot be successful unless your blueprint is set for success. This forms the core of the book: how to reset your financial blueprint for success. That is, how to think like the rich to get rich.
Sidenote: if you’re doubting Eker’s credentials, they are admittedly a bit sketchy at first glance. Apparently, he started a series of over a dozen different companies before having success with an early retail fitness store. After he (reportedly) made millions through a chain of fitness stores, he lost his fortune through mismanagement. He then turned to writing motivational books and speaking at conferences where some say he uses high-pressure sales tactics. However: according to www.the-net-worth.com, as of 2016, Eker’s estimated net worth was about $3.5 million, so he must be doing something right!
Eker points out that no thought lives in your head rent free. Each one is either an investment in your financial future, or a cost. Each will either move you towards success or away from it. You must realize your thoughts are not "yours" but a result of your conditioning. This is empowering because you can, and should, choose to adopt rich beliefs - thoughts and beliefs that will empower you to succeed.
By using mantras or positive affirmations, and performing certain exercises and challenges, Eker teaches that you can change your brain to develop a millionaire mind and become financially successful. He hashes out 17 “wealth files” in the book demonstrating specific behaviors and beliefs that successful people employ to get rich.
The book offers a simplistic “bootstrap” kind of old school Ragged Dick view of the world, but it’s inspiring. It doesn’t account for systemic injustice and bias, the broken social systems that we are up against in America, and utilizes what some might call crass terms, pitting the “rich” against the “poor.” But Eker might defend himself to say, as many other financial gurus do, that if you’re afraid to talk about money you’re doomed to be poor. So call a spade a spade.
I’ve read a handful of books about wealth and success, and plan to read (and discuss here!) many more. What I’m learning is that you have to read, think and learn about, and discuss, money if you want it. You must first know about good financial habits and practices in order to develop and implement them yourself. Think about sex, history, or a learning a foreign language: you don’t just grow up knowing this stuff, right? The less our society discusses these topics, the more we are in the dark and the worse our outcomes will be.
Educate yourself about money and make sure that your decisions and actions are fully informed.
Children grow up with and develop a set of financial patterns, habits, beliefs and biases that will impact their ability to succeed later in life. The things you heard and saw from your parents, teachers, adults, and people on TV influence your thoughts, knowledge and behavior. Think about it. If you grew up in a wealthy family, chances are, you saw your parents demonstrating wise financial decisions and making wise financial choices. This likely impacted your world view and how you make financial decisions. On the other hand, for the other 99%, if your family didn’t engage in financially savvy behaviors or provide wise advice, you probably grew up facing the same kinds of financial challenges they did. You might still have debt, you might not have enough in your retirement account, …or you might not even have a retirement plan.
Like politics and religion, kids learn to have the same feelings about money that their parents and other adults around them have. If you’re like Robert Kiyosaki, you’ll learn to see the difference between rich and poor people based on the types of things they say about money – which Eker also talks about. Poor people say things like “money is the root of all evil,” “what do you think I am made of money?”, and hold biases against rich people.
Have you followed the footsteps of your parents, financially? Are you financially independent? (meaning: capable of stopping all work right now and never having to work another day in your life to survive?) If you’re not (like me) then you could probably use some of Eker’s advice.
What you think about money and the people who have it matters. How many times have you heard someone you know speaking poorly of a rich or successful person without really knowing about them? Many people presume rich people are greedy, values-compromising jerks. We presume high paid executives, actresses and electeds are rude, cruel, stingy people whose success came at the cost of a loving and happy family life. I’ve heard friends say things like: “you’d have to sell your soul to work that job.” All of these habits, beliefs and biases form what Eker calls your financial blueprint, and Eker would say that these types of comments demonstrate a person whose financial blueprint is not set for success.
In fact, the author says that he can tell within a few minutes of meeting someone, whether they are rich or poor based on the types of things they say. If a person has negative preconceptions about wealth or the wealthy, he’d likely conclude “you’re poor!” Instead of hating the rich and demonizing money, you need to learn to love money, want money, and view rich people (so long as they’re good people and their values match yours) as role models. While difficult, you can reset your financial blueprint for success and develop a millionaire mind instead. There is an inner world and outer world of money with laws governing both. Eker states that you can have the greatest tools in the world, but if you have a tiny leak in the toolbox, you've got a problem. Likewise, if your mind isn't set for success, your tools and financial skills won't be effective. P. 5-6. You must master the inner game of money (your beliefs and attitude) as well as the outer game of money (actions skills like how to invest smart, eliminate debt, increase your income, etc.) to actually get wealthy. P. 9. Your character, thinking and beliefs are a critical determinant of your level of success, and you can work to change all of these. Below I’ll share some principles, tidbits and “wealth files” from Eker to redirect your financial blueprint for success.
Wealth principle: your income can only grow to the level that you do. This is very important and is demonstrated by the fact that many individuals who become wealthy quickly lose it all. Most people can't handle the challenges that come with success. Research shows that most lottery winners eventually return to their original financial state: the amount they can comfortably handle. And depressingly, research shows that 80% of individuals won't ever become financially free in the way they'd like to be, and 80% will never claim to be "truly happy". P. 12. How do you combat this?
Eker says: seeds and roots create fruits. It's what's under the ground that creates what's above the ground. If you want to change the fruits, you must nurture the roots – that is, you must think like the rich. The more you learn and grow, the more your wealth will grow with you.
Wealth principle: related to principle one, money is a result, and wealth is a result. So is health, your weight, etc. A lack of money is never ever a problem, it's a symptom of what's going on underneath. P. 14-15. To help rewire your brain for success, Eker teaches the mantra “I have a millionaire mind!” which he combines with the action of touching your head. He believes that this sends a powerful message to your subconscious mind, but also to the universe. The act of professing something, making a declaration to the world, is also supported by the law of attraction (e.g., The Secret). By declaring something to the world you create an energy that tells the world what you want you and these things will be attracted to you. Wealth principle: Eker presents a new chain of causation: programming leads to thoughts, thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to results – which is why he suggests the physical touch piece of the declaration is important.
Wealth principle: if your motivation for acquiring money or success comes from a nonsupportive root such as fear, anger, or the need to “prove” yourself, your money will never bring you happiness. P. 31. ‘Nuff said.
Below I’ll highlight a few of Eker’s most impactful (in my opinion) “wealth files.”
Wealth file #1: rich people believe "I create my life." It's imperative that you believe that you're at the steering wheel of your life. On the other hand, victims blame others, justify their actions or inaction by making excuses, and complain. These behaviors are signs that you're not at the steering wheel. There's a universal law that what you focus on expands, so complaining will always bring you more of the negative. Instead of placing blame, take responsibility and exercise your authority over your life and finances. PP 54-62. Wealth file #4: rich people think big, poor people think small. You must learn to think big. Because you'll be paid the value of your work in the marketplace, this means you must create value and then increase it. For example, how can you expand your business to increase the number of customers or clients you serve, thus multiplying the value you bring to the world? PP 73-78.
Wealth file #6: rich people admire and respect other rich people. Poor people resent rich and successful people. You need to be able to recognize when your thinking is not empowering to yourself or others, and then quickly refocus on more supportive thoughts - particularly when it comes to the wealthy. Why would you ever aspire to be like someone you don’t admire? Practice the Huna philosophy (original teachings of Hawaiian elders): bless that which you want. PP 86-94. Wealth file #7: rich people hang out with positive and successful people. Poor people often associate with negative and unsuccessful people. The fastest way to create wealth is to learn how rich people play the game and model their inner and outer strategies. Choose who you spend your time with very carefully. It's not what you know, it's who, so make it a point to remove yourself from toxic situations and people - like arguing, gossiping, and backstabbing. The author includes mindless TV as a toxic or mindless activity to be avoided as much as toxic people. Read autobiographies of the rich to learn success strategies and their mindset. PP 95-100. Wealth file #8: rich people are willing to promote themselves and their value(s). If you truly believe that what you have to offer is of value, it is your duty to promote yourself and share what you have to offer with as many people as possible. PP 101-106. Wealth file #10: rich people are good receivers (such as receiving praise, criticism, or gifts). Poor people are bad at it, often because of a sense of unworthiness. Eker focuses on changing your story. you will "live in to" your story - the story your mind tells you. So he says to make up a new, more supportive story. Let go of the unworthy stories, and start asking the universe for why you want, and show your willingness to receive. PP 111-122. Wealth file #11: rich people choose to get paid on results, poor people based on time. A steady paycheck usually gets in the way of earning what your worth. Poor people prefer security - but it comes at the cost if wealth. This is living based on fear. PP 123-130. Wealth file #12: rich people think "both," poor people think "either or.” People rationalize that money isn't important because they don't think they can get money without tradeoffs like happiness, but rich people understand you have to have both. There is an unlimited supply of money in the world - your taking it won't take away from someone else. Money doesn't get depleted. PP 131-137. Wealth file #14: rich people manage their money well. The ability to manage your money is more important than the amount you have. This is why Eker suggests to hire a reputable financial planner. PP 145-155.
Some additional tidbits from Millionaire Mind: On financial limitations, Eker says there are actual salary amounts your blueprint might program for you. Your income is limited by your beliefs, expectations and goals. Think about it: if you never dream about making a million dollars, how will you ever make a million dollars? In this way, your financial blueprint is like a thermostat. If its set to 72, a warm day might heat up the room temporarily, but the temp will always adjust back to 72. The only way to permanently change the temperature is to reset the thermostat. For this reason, you should write annual goals for your income and, more importantly, your net worth. Make them BIG GOALS! Shoot for the stars, so that even if you don’t make it, you’ll be more likely to at least reach the moon.
On net worth: net worth is the real scorecard of your success. It doesn’t matter what your income is or what you have in the bank if you have a ton of debt. Think about it. Rich people don’t say, “Bob over there makes $500 grand a year.” Rich people say things like “Bob has a net worth of 5 million,” or “Sarah over there is worth 10 million.” That’s why it’s important to know your net worth (assets minus liabilities – and people, if you don’t own your home it’s a liability!) and to set goals to keep it growing. On commitment: you must commit to be rich, not just want it. If your brain tells you mixed messages about money, you'll never get rich. Mixed messages seem harmless but aren't. If you have mixed messages the universe can't understand what you want. You must want, choose, and commit to doing whatever it will take and not send mixed messages by fearing the responsibility, effort, or costs it will take to get there. You always get what you want – and if you don’t, you consciously or subconsciously, you might not be willing to do what it takes or have hidden fears getting in your way. You have to ask yourself: will I be wealthy/ rich in ten years? The answer must unreservedly be yes!
Throughout the book, Eker provides many helpful exercises (“millionaire mind actions”) to implement the tactics in his wealth files, which I have not touched on here.
I’d recommend this book as a foundational book for any library of resources on financial education. https://amzn.to/2LvW3jO