Download (direct link):
55 percent are happier after winning.
43 percent say winning had no effect on their happiness.
2 percent are less happy.
In other words, almost half of the people who won the lottery are no
happier than they were before!
72 AUTOMATIC WEALTH
Here’s my point. I don’t believe that the secret to becoming wealthy is to fill your head with positive thoughts. In fact, I don’t think it much matters what you fill your head with. Based on personal observations and studies I’ve read, it’s my belief that the secret to growing rich is to follow certain behavior patterns. To do what wealth builders do—and not waste any time getting your mind fixed beforehand.
In fact, from a cynical point of view, I could argue that the fix-your-mind-first philosophy is just another way to forestall action. And action, as I’ve argued in the past few chapters, is the sine qua non of change.
DOES YOUR MENTAL ATTITUDE DETERMINE SUCCESS?
According to Martin Seligman, the author of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, pessimists, though miserable, tend to have a more realistic view of the world than their optimistic counterparts. Many studies conducted to test this theory have all come to the same conclusion: More often than not, the gloomy outlook is justified.
But what is better in terms of success? Optimism or pessimism?
After a quick mental survey of the successful people I'm friendly with, I'd say that they fall equally into both camps. SJ, a million-dollar-a-year copywriter, is a die-hard pessimist. BL, who has struggled in the past and is now doing extremely well, is irrepressibly bubbly. FW, who started and grew at least four supersuccessful businesses, is buoyant and bullish 80 percent of the time.
I'd say this: Your overall view about how things will turn out—the trained or instinctual response you have to problems—has nothing to do with how successful you will be. Your success depends not on your mood or your emotions but on your actions—what you actually do.
Your mental outlook does matter, though. It has everything to do with how happy you are. When I think about SJ, BL, FW, and others, I can see clearly that optimists have much more fun in life.
The ideal personality can see reality for what it is, act according to what is best, and believe that things will work out fine.
Step 3: Develop Wealthy Habits 73
In the course of this book, I’m going to try to put certain ideas into your head, change some others that you might now have, and buttress my own ideas with all sorts of facts, numbers, anecdotes, and data.
But I don’t believe you have to adopt or change a single thought to become wealthy. Keep the thoughts you have. No problem. However, if you want to convert your investment in this book into a higher level of wealth for yourself, you must follow the specific behaviors I’m recommending.
JUST DO IT!
If you wanted to become a world-class tennis player and had Andre Agassi at your disposal as a personal coach and mentor, would you spend your time with him finding out what runs through his head during matches? Or would you find a way to emulate his serve, his movements, and his swings?
In jiujitsu, the sport I enjoy, my first master had a rule:
Don’t think about what you learned here today. Don’t go home and run it through your mind. Don’t take notes. Don’t look at books. Just practice the movements I teach you and, sooner or later, your body will know them, even if your mind is somewhere else.
That’s the ultimate objective of learning, isn’t it? To acquire knowledge so deep that it becomes subconscious . . . and automatic?
In Zen in the Art of Archery (Vintage, 1999), Eugen Herrigel describes it this way:
The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull’s-eye which confronts him. This state of unconscious is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
The idea is this: If you want to master the art of wealth building—so you can become financially independent and create wealth automati-
74 AUTOMATIC WEALTH
cally whenever and wherever you want to—you need to learn wealth building the way any master learns his art: by repeating, as closely as possible, the actions of successful wealth builders.
And this leads to an important paradox: If you want to master a skill as quickly as possible, practice it slowly.
Howard Roberts, the legendary jazz guitarist, made this point years ago at a small seminar I attended. In response to a question posed by NR, a friend of mine, Roberts said that he believed the secret to his virtuosity was that he “never practiced a mistake.”
“For me, practicing the guitar is like walking to the outhouse,” he said. “I always walk the same path, because if I ever have to walk that path at night I want to know exactly where to place my feet.”
Roberts believed in practicing every note perfectly, even if that meant playing extremely slowly at first. And I’m told that many studies have validated his theory. The biological process of creating a neural memory path really is much like walking to the outhouse. Every perfect repetition beats a good path—one that you can travel on later. Every incorrect repetition beats a parallel but incorrect path—one that you can easily slide onto if you aren’t careful.