5 mental strategies wealthy people use to succeed

Sir Richard Branson poses in front of an aircraft at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia.
Matt Jelonek/ | WireImage | Getty Images

Legendary investor Warren Buffett, billionaire Richard Branson and other successful people approach life differently. They see their time, money and career potential as precious resources that they need to make the most of.

And that's one of the key reasons they got to where they are.

By adopting their mental strategies as well as ones experts say are linked to success, you can get closer to a fulfilling career and a higher quality of life.

1. Create a 'decision stream'

Branson had to make thousands of choices as he approached founding the Virgin Group, including whether to fly a hot air balloon across the Atlantic Ocean.

Branson has taken several calculated risks and passed on others. The essential thing, he says, and one of the most important business lessons he has learned, is to never rush into anything.

While your gut reaction is powerful, he says, fight the urge to rely on it to make important money decisions. Branson likes to make a "decision stream," or a list that helps him properly understand and weigh the pros and the cons.

Richard Branson talks to the media at Perth Airport in May 2013 in Perth, Australia.
Matt Jelonek I WireImage | Getty Images

2. Don't work simply for money

In the Berkshire Hathaway 2017 Annual Shareholders Meeting, Buffett said that professionals should think about the job they would want if money wasn't an issue.

In other words, prioritize your passion, not your paycheck. "You really want to think about what will make you feel good," he says.

Apple CEO Tim Cook agrees. He recently told college graduates: "Don't work for money. ... You will never be happy."

Warren Buffett
David A. Grogan | CNBC

3. Set clear financial deadlines for yourself

According to self-made millionaire Steve Siebold, successful people have to give up certain bad habits. Among those is being too wishy-washy about what you want to achieve and by when.

"The average person half-heartedly wants a lot of things," Siebold writes. On the flip side, rich people "wholeheartedly focus on one major goal at a time" and "set a deadline for its achievement. This is how self-made millionaires are created."

Self-made millioniare Steve Siebold
Courtesy of Steve Siebold

4. Stop waiting for the perfect job

Waiting to find the job of your dreams could end up hurting your earning potential, according to a former Google career coach.

Thinking about your career as a ladder is less relevant in today's job market, says Jenny Blake, who has helped more than 1,000 people get ahead.

Instead, by prioritizing the skills you want to learn, you can increase your earning potential and get to a point where you end up having the job you want.

Your career is like a smartphone, says a former Google career coach
Your career is like a smartphone, says a former Google career coach

5. Live happily with less

A man who paid off $116,000 to become debt-free by 30 says the biggest factor that helped him succeed was something you might not expect: downsizing.

Derek Sall focused on earning as much, and spending as little, as possible, by pursuing side gigs in addition to his full-time job and renegotiating his insurance payments. He also changed his social media habits so that he could downsize without the regret that might come from comparing his life to everyone else's.

"I don't call myself a minimalist," Sall says, "but I realized that the more and more stuff you have, it almost makes you less happy."

The trend is catching on. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh lives in an Airsteam trailer, and self-made millionaire James Altucher lives out of Airbnbs.

How this 31-year-old became debt-free in seven years
How this 31-year-old became debt-free in seven years