Money

9 thoughts holding you back from getting rich — and what to think instead

The Thinker Statue Rodin
Jean-Pierre Clatot | AFP | Getty Images

Your daily thoughts affect your net worth more than you may think.

That's what self-made millionaire Steve Siebold found after studying millionaires for over 25 years.

"When I began studying the ultra successful and super rich in 1984, I thought they were more ambitious than the average person," he writes in his book "How Rich People Think," which compares the thoughts and habits of the middle class to the wealthiest individuals. "I later discovered after hundreds of interviews that it wasn't the lack of desire that held the masses back from getting wealthy, but the lack of belief in their own ability to make it happen."

Here are nine common thoughts and beliefs that could be holding you back from striking it rich — and what to think instead.

I don't deserve to be rich.

The masses think they aren't worthy of great wealth, Siebold writes: "Who am I, they ask themselves, to become a millionaire?"

Meanwhile, "The world class asks, why not me? I'm as good as anyone else and I deserve to be rich. If I serve others by solving problems, why shouldn't I be rewarded with a fortune? And since they have that belief, their behavior moves them toward the manifestation of their dreams."

I need a master's degree to get rich.

Students walk on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yiming Chen | Getty Images
Students walk on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The masses think the road to riches starts with formal education — the rich, on the other hand, believe in acquiring specific knowledge.

"While the rich respect the power of formal education, they usually don't associate it with building a financial empire," Siebold writes. "Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge."

Of course, plenty of successful people have a master's degree or doctorate — but it's not a prerequisite for getting rich. As Siebold writes, "The wealthy aren't interested in the means, only the end. Solve the problem, get compensated, and repeat the process until you're rich. End of story."

Hard work will make me rich.

The masses think hard work creates wealth, Siebold says. While the rich value hard work, they know that at the end of the day, leverage creates wealth.

"If hard work was the secret to financial success, every construction worker and cocktail waitress would be rich," writes the self-made millionaire.

"World-class performers work hard, but not in the traditional sense. Hard work to the wealthy means out thinking their competitors and leveraging the collective brainpower of their advisors."

Being rich is reserved for a lucky few.

While the masses think being rich is a privilege, the rich believe being rich is a right.

"World-class thinkers know in a capitalist country they have the right to be rich if they're willing to create massive value for others," Siebold explains.

"While the masses are waiting to pick the right numbers and praying for prosperity, the great ones are solving problems. They believe if they make life better or easier for others, it's their right to be rich."

I have to have money to make money.

President of Virgin Atlantic Richard Branson and Virgin Airlines cabin attendant Vicky Lewis ride a jet ski in the Bellagio fountains at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
Denise Truscello | WireImage | Getty Images
President of Virgin Atlantic Richard Branson and Virgin Airlines cabin attendant Vicky Lewis ride a jet ski in the Bellagio fountains at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.

The masses think you have to have money in the first place to get rich. "The truth is you have to have great ideas that solve problems to make money," Siebold writes. "If you do, you will attract money like a magnet."

Rich people believe in using other people's money to finance a great idea. They "know not being solvent enough to personally afford something is not relevant," the self-made millionaire says. "The real question is, 'Is this worth buying, investing in, or pursuing?' If so, the wealthy know money is always available because rich people are always looking for great investments and superior performers to make those investments profitable."

I just want enough money to retire.

"The masses' major goal with money is to retire at 65 and hopefully have enough money to survive until they die," Siebold explains. "The world class, while often no more ambitious, set their sights on impacting the world with their wealth."

Don't be afraid to think big, Siebold says. Ultimately, the average person has "everything they need to make more money than they can spend, and without the interference of a slew of middle-class beliefs, they would accomplish it."

I work to make money.

While the masses believe in working for money, the rich believe in working for fulfillment they figure out what they love to do and then find a way to make money doing it.

"Working for the sole purpose of making money is the worst strategy for building wealth," Siebold says.

"Instead of setting out to find work with the most profit potential, focus on work that has the most fulfillment potential. Once you find it, invest so much heart and soul into your work that you become one of the most competent people in your field. You'll be rewarded with uncommon wealth."

I can't 'have it all.'

Mark Zuckerberg with wife Priscilla Chan and their daughter Max.
Source: Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg with wife Priscilla Chan and their daughter Max.

"Middle class believes they must choose between a great family life and being rich," Siebold writes. "World class knows you can have it all."

The masses think "either / or," but it's a "mistaken idea that you have to choose between world-class success and a happy family life," Siebold says.

Rather than saying "either / or," think about how you can have both.

Getting rich isn't up to me.

While the masses think getting rich isn't in their control, the rich know it's an inside job.

"The secret has always been the same: thinking," Siebold writes.

"The only way to learn how to think like a rich person is to study them. Every action we take stems from the way we think and what we believe. While the masses believe becoming wealthy is out of their control, the world class knows earning money and amassing wealth is a cause and effect relationship."