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The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

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IN HIS BOOK The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success, Brian Tracy drew on his thirty years of experience and knowledge to present a set of principles or "universal laws" that lie behind the success of business people everywhere, in every kind of enterprise, large and small. This latest volume, The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, is made up of entirely new material that shows how anyone, no matter where they are in life at this moment, can become a millionaire.

The advice in this book is based on Brian Tracy's twenty-five years of research, teaching, and personal experience on the subject of self-made millionaires. Tracy himself used these ideas to rise from humble beginnings to become a millionaire. And Tracy has discovered that all successful people practice these 21 success secrets, whether they're consciously aware of it or not. In The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires Tracy not only identifies and defines each success secret, but also reveals its source and foundation, illustrates how it functions in the world, and shows how to apply it in life and work through specific steps and practical exercises that everyone can use.

Easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to apply, The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires shows how anyone can cultivate the habits and behaviors that will enable them to achieve not just financial independence, but success in any area of life. Because, as Tracy writes, "The most important part of achieving great success is not the money. It is the kind of person you have to become to earn that money and hold onto it."

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21 Chapters

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1. Dream Big Dreams



Dream big dreams; only big dreams
have the power to move men’s souls.


THE FIRST SECRET of self-made millionaires is simple: Dream Big Dreams! Allow yourself to dream. Allow yourself to imagine and fantasize about the kind of life you would like to live. Think about the amount of money you would like to earn and have in your bank account.

All great men and women begin with a dream of something wonderful and different from what they have today. You know the song that says “You have to have a dream if you want to make a dream come true.” It’s true for you and for everyone else, as well.

Imagine that you have no limitations on what you can be, have, or do in life. Just for the moment, imagine that you have all the time, all the money, all the education, all the experience, all the friends, all the contacts, all the resources, and everything else you need to achieve anything you want in life. If your potential were completely unlimited, what kind of a life would you want to create for yourself and your family?


2. Develop a Clear Sense of Direction



A person with a clear purpose will make
progress on even the roughest road.
A person with no purpose will make no
progress on even the smoothest road.


TAKE YOUR DREAMS out of the air and crystallize them into clear, specific written goals. Perhaps the greatest discovery in human history is that “You become what you think about most of the time.” The two factors that, more than anything else, determine what happens to you in life are what you think about and how you think about it most of the time.


Successful people think about their goals most of the time. As a result, they are continually moving toward their goals, and their goals are continually moving toward them. Whatever you think about most of the time grows and increases in your life. If you are thinking about, talking about, and visualizing your goals, you tend to accomplish far, far more than the average person, who is usually thinking and talking about his or her worries and problems most of the time.

Here is a simple seven-step formula for setting and achieving goals that you can use to become a millionaire:


3. See Yourself as Self-Employed



I am the captain of my soul;
I am the master of my fate.


FROM NOW ON, accept complete, 100 percent responsibility for everything you are and everything you will ever be. Refuse to make excuses or to blame other people for your problems or shortcomings. Stop complaining about things in your life that you are not happy about. Refuse to criticize other people for anything. You are responsible. If there is something in your life that you don’t like, it is up to you to change it. You are in charge.

The top 3 percent of Americans see themselves as self-employed, no matter who signs their paychecks. The biggest mistake you can ever make is to think that you work for anyone other than yourself. You are always self-employed. You are always the president of your own personal service corporation, no matter where you might be working at the moment.

When you see yourself as self-employed, you develop an entrepreneur mentality, the mentality of highly independent, self-responsible, self-starting individuals. Instead of waiting for things to happen, you make things happen. You see yourself as the boss of your own life. You see yourself as completely in charge of your physical health, your financial well-being, your career, your relationships, your lifestyle, your home, your car, and every other element of your existence. This is the mind-set of the self-made millionaire.


4. Do what You Love to do



When you start doing what you
really love to do, you’ll never work
another day in your life.


DOING WHAT YOU love to do is one of the great secrets of financial success. One of your primary responsibilities in life is to find out what you really enjoy doing, what you have a natural talent for, and then to throw your whole heart into doing that particular work very, very well.

Self-made millionaires are those who have found a field where their natural strengths and abilities are exactly what is required to do the job and achieve the results desired. Most self-made millionaires say that they “never worked a day in their life.” You must find a field in which you can be totally absorbed—a job or area of endeavor that completely fascinates you, that holds your attention, that is a natural expression of your special talents and abilities.

When you are doing what you love to do, you seem to have a continuous flow of excitement, energy, and ideas to do what you do even better. Here is a question for you: If you won a million dollars, tax free, tomorrow, would you continue to do what you are currently doing?


5. Commit to Excellence



The quality of your life will be
determined by the depth of your
commitment to excellence, no matter
what your chosen field.


RESOLVE TODAY TO be the very best at what you do. Set a goal for yourself to join the top 10 percent of your field, whatever it is. This decision, to become very, very good at what you do, can be the turning point in your life. Virtually all successful people are recognized as being extremely competent in their chosen fields.

Remember that no one is better than you, and no one is smarter than you. And everyone who is in the top 10 percent today started off in the bottom 10 percent. Everyone who is doing well was once doing poorly. Everyone who is at the top of his or her field was at one time in another field altogether. And what countless others have done, you can do as well.

Here is a great rule for success: Your life only gets better when you get better. And since there is no limit to how much better you can become, there is no limit to how much better you can make your life.


6. Work Longer and Harder



The harder I work, the luckier I get.


ALL SELF-MADE millionaires work hard, hard, hard. They start earlier, they work harder, and they stay later. They develop a reputation for being amongst the hardest working people in their fields. And everybody knows it.

Practice the “40 Plus” formula. This formula says that you work 40 hours per week for survival; everything over 40 hours is for success. If you work only 40 hours (and the average workweek today is closer to 35 hours), all you will ever do is survive. You will never get ahead. You will never be a big financial success. You will never be highly respected and esteemed by your colleagues. You will always be mediocre working the basic 40-hour week.


But every hour over 40 hours is an investment in your future. In fact, you can tell with tremendous accuracy where you are going to be in five years by looking at how many hours over 40 you put in every week. There is just no substitute for long days and hard work.

Self-made millionaires in America work an average of 59 hours per week. Many of them work 70 or 80 hours, especially at the start of their careers. They work an average of six days per week, rather than five, and work longer days as well. If you want to call a self-made millionaire, phone the office before normal working hours and after normal working hours. The self-made millionaire is there when the staff, the “nine-to-fivers,” arrive and is still there when they leave.


7. Dedicate Yourself to Lifelong Learning



Continuous learning is the minimum
requirement for success in any field.


YOU HAVE A virtually unlimited capacity to learn and improve in your chosen field. You have more brains, ability, and intelligence than you could ever use if you were to work on developing yourself for the rest of your life. You are smarter than you can even imagine. There is no obstacle that you cannot overcome, no problem you cannot solve, and no goal you cannot achieve by applying the power of your mind to your situation.

But your mind is like a muscle. It develops only with use. Just as you have to strain your physical muscles to build them, you have to work your mental muscles to build your mind as well. The good news is that the more you learn, the more you can learn. Just like the more you play a sport, the better you get at the sport. The more you dedicate yourself to lifelong learning, the easier it is for you to learn even more.


Leaders are learners. Continuous learning is the key to the 21st century. Lifelong learning is the minimum requirement for success in your field or in any field. Make a decision today that you are going to become a student of your craft and that you are going to continue learning and becoming better for the rest of your life.


8. Pay Yourself First



A part of all you earn is yours to keep,
and if you cannot save money, the
seeds of greatness are not in you.


RESOLVE TODAY THAT you are going to save and invest at least 10 percent of your income throughout your working life. Take 10 percent of your income off the top of your paycheck each time you receive one and put it into a special account for financial accumulation. The fact is that if you save just $100 per month throughout your working lifetime and you invest that money in an average mutual fund that grows at 10 percent per annum, you will be worth more than one million dollars by the time you retire. This means that anyone, even a person earning minimum wage, if he or she starts early enough and saves long enough, can become a millionaire over the course of his or her working lifetime.


Developing the lifelong habit of saving and investing your money is not easy. It requires tremendous determination and willpower. You have to set it as a goal, write it down, make a plan, and work on it all the time. But once this practice locks in and becomes automatic, your financial success is virtually assured.


9. Learn Every Detail of Your Business



If you become very good at what you do,
there is nothing that can stop you from
getting paid more and promoted faster.


THE MARKET PAYS excellent rewards for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance and below-average rewards, failure, and frustration for below-average performance. Your goal should be to become an expert in your chosen field by learning every single detail about how to do your work better and better.

Read all the magazines in your field. Read and study the latest books. Attend courses and seminars given by experts in your field. Join your industry or trade association, attend every meeting, and get involved with the other top people in your field.


The Law of Integrative Complexity says that the individual who can integrate and use the greatest amount of information in any field soon rises to the top of that field.

If you are in sales, become an aggressive, lifelong student of the selling process. The top 20 percent of salespeople earn, on average, 16 times the amount earned by the bottom 80 percent of salespeople. The top 10 percent of salespeople earn even more.


10. Dedicate Yourself to Serving Others



You can get everything you want
in life if you just help enough
other people get what they want.


YOUR REWARDS IN life will always be in direct proportion to your service to other people. All self-made millionaires have an obsession with customer service. They think about their customers all the time. They are continually looking for new and better ways to serve their customers better than anyone else.

Keep asking yourself these questions, What do my customers really want? What do my customers really need? What do my customers consider value? What can I give my customers better than anyone else? Why are my customers buying from others today, and what would I have to offer them to get them to buy from me?

Your success in life will be in direct proportion to what you do after you do what you are expected to do. Always look for opportunities to do more than you are paid for. Always seek ways to go the extra mile for your customers. Remember, there are never any traffic jams on the extra mile.


11. Be Absolutely Honest with Yourself and Others



Thought is the original source of all
wealth, all success, all material gain,
all great discoveries and inventions,
and all achievement.


PERHAPS THE MOST valued and respected quality you can develop is a reputation for absolute integrity. Be perfectly honest in everything you do and in every transaction and activity. Never compromise your integrity. Remember that your word is your bond and your honor is everything when it comes to business.


All successful business is based on trust. Your success in becoming a self-made millionaire will be determined solely by the number of people who trust you and who are willing to work for you, give you credit, lend you money, buy your products and services, and help you during difficult times. Your character is the most important asset that you develop in your entire life, and your character is based on the amount of integrity that you practice.

The first key to integrity is to be true to yourself, in all things. Be true to the very best that is in you. Being true to yourself means doing what you do in an excellent fashion. Integrity is demonstrated internally by personal honesty and externally by quality work.


12. Determine Your Highest Priorities and Concentrate on Them Single-Mindedly



“A double minded man is unstable
in all his ways.” Do what comes
to your hand to do.


WHEN YOU DEVELOP the habit of setting priorities and concentrating single-mindedly, you will be able to accomplish virtually anything you want in life. This core strategy has been the primary reason for high income, wealth creation, and financial independence for thousands and even millions of people.

Your ability to determine your highest priority and then to work on that high priority until it is completed is the primary test and measure of your willpower, self-discipline, and personal character. It is the hardest habit to develop but also the most important if you want to be a big success.

Here is the formula. Make a list of everything you have to do before you begin working toward any goal. Set priorities on that list by asking yourself four questions, over and over.

Question number one is, What are my highest value activities? What do you do that is more valuable than anything else to your work and your business?


13. Develop a Reputation for Speed and Dependability



Do your work; not just your work
and no more, but a little bit more for
the lavishings sake, that little more
which is worth more than all the rest.


TIME IS THE currency of the 21st century. Everyone today is in a tremendous hurry. Customers who did not even know that they wanted a product or service now want it yesterday. People are less and less patient for anything. Loyal customers will change suppliers overnight if someone else can serve them faster than the people they are already dealing with. Instant gratification is no longer fast enough.

Your job is to develop a reputation for speed. Develop a “sense of urgency.” Develop a bias for action. Move fast on opportunities. Move fast when people want or need something. Move quickly when you see something that needs to be done.

When your boss or your customers ask you to do something, drop everything else and do it so fast that they are amazed. You have heard it said that “Whenever you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” People who have a reputation for moving quickly attract more opportunities and possibilities to them. They get more chances to do more and more things faster than other people who just do a job when they get around to it.


14. Prepared to Climb from Peak to Peak



Winning is not a sometime thing;
it’s an all the time thing.


JUST AS A mountain climber who has reached one peak must go down into the valley before climbing to another peak, your life and career will be a series of ups and downs. As you’ve heard, “Life is a process of two steps forward and one step back.”

All business life is made up of cycles and trends. There are up cycles and down cycles. Often, trends in business can lead to a complete change in the industry. We see this today with the Internet and the expansion of technology in all directions, which are changing many of our fixed ideas and beliefs about the way business is done.

Develop a long-time perspective. Take the long view in everything you do. Plan two, three, four, and five years into the future and don’t allow yourself to get onto an emotional roller coaster with the short-term ups and downs of daily life.

Keep reminding yourself that everything in your life moves in cycles and trends. Be calm, confident, and relaxed with short-term fluctuations in your fortune. When you have clear goals and plans that you are working on every day, the general trend line of your life will tend to be onward and upward over the years.


15. Practice Self-Discipline in all Things



Self-discipline is the ability to
make yourself do what you should do,
when you should do it,
whether you feel like it or not.


SELF-DISCIPLINE IS the most important single quality for success in life and in becoming a self-made millionaire. If you can discipline yourself to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not, your success is virtually guaranteed.

The key to becoming a self-made millionaire is having a long-time perspective combined with an ability to delay gratification in the short term. It is your ability to set a long-term goal of becoming financially independent and then to discipline yourself, every single day and with every single expenditure, to do only those things that will guarantee that you ultimately achieve your long-term goal.


Self-discipline requires self-mastery, self-control, self-responsibility, and self-direction. The difference between successful people and failures is that successful people make a habit of doing the things that failures do not like to do. And what are those things? The things that failures don’t like to do are the same things that successful people don’t like to do either. But successful people do them anyway because they realize that this is the price they must pay for the success they desire.


16. Unlock Your Inborn Creativity



Imagination is more important
than facts.


HERE IS SOME more good news. You are a potential genius. You are smarter than you have ever imagined. You have more raw brainpower and creative ability than you have ever used up to now.

Your brain has 10 billion cells, each of which is connected to as many as 20,000 other cells by a complex network of neurons and dendrites. This means that the possible combinations and permutations of cells in your brain are greater than the number of molecules in the known universe. Your ability to develop ideas to help you succeed is unlimited. This means that your ability to succeed is unlimited as well.


Your creativity is stimulated by three factors: first, intensely desired goals; second, pressing problems; and third, focused questions. The more you focus your mind on achieving your goals, solving your problems, or answering the tough questions about your business and personal life, the smarter you become and the better your mind works for you in the future.


17. Get around the Right People



You will be the same person in
five years except for the people you
meet and the books you read.


FULLY 85 PERCENT of your success and happiness in life is going to be determined by the quality of the relationships that you develop in your personal and your business activities. The more people you know and who know you in a positive way, the more successful you will be and the faster you will move ahead.

At virtually every turning point in your life, someone is standing there to either help you or hinder you. Successful people make a habit of building and maintaining a network of high-quality relationships throughout their lives, and as a result, they accomplish vastly more than the person who goes home and watches television each night.


Everything involves relationships. Virtually all of your problems in life will come as the result of your entering into wrong relationships with the wrong people. Virtually all of your great successes in life will be accompanied by great relationships with good people who help you and whom you help in return.


18. Take Excellent Care of Your Physical Health



The key to happiness is a sound mind
in a sound body.


WE ARE LIVING at the most wonderful time in human history in terms of longevity and physical fitness. You can live longer and live better today than has ever before been possible. You should aim to live to be 80 or 90 or even 100 years old, in excellent health, and you can do it if you decide to.

First, set a goal to live to be at least 80 years old. Then, look at your current health habits and ask yourself whether or not the way you are living today is going to get you to the age of 80 in great shape.


There are three keys to living a long, happy, healthy life. The first is proper weight. Set a goal to get your weight under control and then remain lean and fit for the rest of your life. There is a five-word formula for weight loss and physical fitness. It is simply this: “Eat less and exercise more.”

The second key is proper diet, and the key to a proper diet is to eat better foods and fewer of them. Eat more lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Eliminate desserts, soft drinks, candy, and anything else containing sugar from your life. Stop consuming extra salt and stop eating white flour products. Eat smaller portions and eat four or five times a day rather than three large meals.


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