Striking it rich is not a fluke. It takes hard work, fearlessness and a growth mindset.
I spent five years studying the habits of 233 millionaires — 177 of them were self-made — to find out how they make use of their time. Based on my research, I identified six principles they all shared that helped them build wealth.
The best part is that anyone can implement these and start working towards becoming a millionaire.
For the millionaires I interviewed, learning and self-improvement were top priorities.
Forty-nine percent reported that they took a few minutes every day to learn new words, and 61% shared that they practiced new skills (i.e., a sport or online class) for a minimum of two hours a day. Another 63% said they listened to audiobooks during their work commutes.
Seventy-one percent said they often read self-help books. Many of them gravitated towards biographies of successful people.
One strategy that came up many times during my interviews was the "5:1 listening rule."
In group settings, for every minute they spoke, the millionaires listened for five minutes. This helped them to strengthen their work relationships and get a number of different perspectives on a given issue.
And 81% said that they actively sought feedback from others every day, both inside and outside of the workplace.
In my study, 86% of self-made millionaires worked an average of 50 hours or more a week. But they didn't work alone. Many succeeded because they focused on their strengths and figured out a way to outsource their weaknesses.
If they did not possess a particular skill, they delegated to someone who was great at it, so they could focus on the bigger picture and have more time and mental energy to execute it.
Surrounding themselves with people who shared their vision made it possible to go the distance with their goals.
Many of the millionaires in my study used a strategy I call "Dream-Setting." They sat down and wrote out what their ideal, perfect life looked like 10 years into the future.
One of the millionaires in my study was passionate about wine, and thought that he could make millions investing in it. His family and friends didn't think it was possible, but he was undeterred.
Over the course of 15 years, he became an expert in the industry. In 2001, he liquidated a small fraction of his wine collection and was able to buy his dream home on the beach in Florida.
He made $4 million in earnings — all because he refused to give up on an idea he believed in.
Good health translates into longevity, which means more time to create more wealth.
One millionaire struggled with her weight for a long time. One day, she decided to walk one mile a day. After a month, she increased to two miles, then three.
By the time I interviewed her, she had run three marathons. She attributed her energy, focus and drive to succeed in part to these incremental fitness goals that changed her life.
I'm not talking about the kind of luck you have in Las Vegas; a whopping 94% of millionaires in my study said that they never gamble.
Luck in this context isn't happenstance, but taking a gamble on something new. Many of the millionaires shared an ability to see what is invisible to others, and come up with creative solutions and alternate routes to success.
Ultimately, persistence creates opportunities, and luck eventually comes to those who refuse to quit on their dreams and goals.
Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of "Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life", Effort-Less Wealth and "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals."