Money

A simple mindset shift separates millionaires from the middle class

If you want to be a millionaire, start thinking like one.

Your earning potential starts with your mindset. Do you actively think about how you can become a millionaire? Or are you only focused on getting through the next few months?

"The biggest mistake is to think becoming a millionaire is impossible," Grant Cardone writes in "The Millionaire Booklet: How To Get Super Rich." "The first thing you have to do is decide to become a millionaire, multimillionaire, or billionaire if you want. … Then you must reinforce that decision, over and over."

Personal finance author Keith Cameron Smith agrees. In "The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class," Smith shares the insights he gleaned from spending two years working with and studying the ultra-rich, including the attitudes that distinguish their ways of thinking from those of the average person.

The biggest difference Smith observes between millionaires and the middle class is how they frame their circumstances and present information to themselves. While millionaires ask themselves empowering questions, the middle class tend to lean toward disempowering ones.

A guest wearing a hat arrives at the Meydan Racecourse to attend the Dubai World Cup day horse racing event.
ABDULQADER AL-ANI | AFP | Getty Images
A guest wearing a hat arrives at the Meydan Racecourse to attend the Dubai World Cup day horse racing event.

Millionaires ponder, "How can I make $1 million a year doing what I love?" while middle class people stick to the practical: "How can I get my boss to give me a raise?" Millionaires look at a hard situation and ask, "What is life trying to teach me right now?" while the middle class tends to focus on, "Why do bad things always happen to me?"

The distinction between these sets of questions is subtle but crucial. "Empowering questions ask what you can do, and disempowering questions ask what you can't do," Smith writes.

"Empowering questions cause you to reach for your full potential," he continues. "The questions you ask yourself determine the results you get in life."

How you frame situations informs how you handle them. "Millionaires are more creative than reactive," Smith writes. Instead of simply taking things as they come, millionaires focus on how they can make the future different — and better.