Seven Differences in Thinking Between the Rich and Middle Class

By Steve Siebold

A new report from a research arm of congress says the rich are getting richer. The average household income for the nation’s top 1% nearly tripled from 1979 to 2007, while middle class incomes grew by less than 40%. How do you break into that top 1%? It starts with your mindset.

Do you think like a millionaire? Most people don’t and that’s what’s holding them back from life-long wealth. The differences in thinking between the middle class and the wealthy are extreme, and the underlying factor in how much money one is capable of earning. If you want to be rich, learn how rich people think, copy them, take action and get rich. Here are seven differences in thinking between the middle class and the rich to help you get started.

Use non-linear thinking to earn more money: Most of us are taught to trade hours for dollars, which is the reason the average person makes little money. The rich earn their fortunes tapping their creativity and coming up with new ideas that serve people and solve problems. It’s not how many hours you can work or the amount of midnight oil you can burn; it’s about training your mind to think about old problems in new ways.

Use logical and emotional thinking: The middle class blends emotional thinking in their decision making process, which clouds their judgment. The rich use left brain, logic-based, emotionless thinking to make decisions in regards to earning, investing and saving money. They use emotion to motivate themselves to take action. Both forms of thinking have value. The secret is to know when to use which, and avoid blending the two.

See money as abundant and infinite: Money is created through ideas that solve problems, and since ideas are infinite, the amount of money you can earn is infinite. The masses see a world in recession filled with seemingly unsolvable problems. The rich see these new, complex problems as the opportunity of a lifetime to become even wealthier by solving them. The more numerous and complex problems society faces, the more opportunity all of us have to become rich.

See money as freedom: The middle class scorns the rich for flaunting their money and falsely assumes they acquire it for status. Status makes people feel important, and while everyone enjoys it, the rich build fortunes primarily so they can live life on their own terms. Money provides the freedom to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, for as long as you want, while never having to answer to anyone unless you choose to.

Expect to be rich: The masses have a lottery mentality and have been brainwashed to believe the only chance they have to get rich is by picking the right numbers or playing slot machines. The rich expect to earn more money every year and aren’t surprised as millions of dollars flood their bank accounts. The rich have trained themselves to expect big things to happen, and as a result they are bold, aggressive and fearless in their pursuit of wealth.

Vaccinate yourself from Either/Or Syndrome: Most us of have been told we can’t have it all, and we must choose between having a balanced life and being rich. The rich know you can have whatever you want, and through leverage you can earn more while working less. Creative problem solving is the root of all great fortunes, and one idea that solves a small problem for a lot of people or a large problem for a small group of people can yield millions. Ideas can be incubated any time day or night, anywhere in the world. They don’t always require an excessive amount of time, but rather a persistent and unrelenting focus.

Self-Education is the secret: Formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune. The rich are obsessed with learning and personal development. They know their mind is the hub of their financial empire, and while the masses seek entertainment, the wealthy are reading, listening to audio programs, attending seminars, and networking with powerful people who can help raise their level of awareness.

If you follow the beliefs, philosophies and strategies of the rich and take action, you have a legitimate shot at becoming a millionaire and breaking into the one percent of income earners. The secret is not in the mechanics of money, but in the level of thinking that generates it. Once you learn to embrace this, your earning potential is limitless.

Steve Siebold is author of the book How Rich People Think (download five free chapters of the book and get more information), which compares 100 thoughts and beliefs about money between rich people and the middle class. Siebold is one of the world’s most noted experts in the field of mental toughness training. His mental toughness clientele includes world-class athletes, Fortune 500 companies, and entrepreneurs.

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7 Responses to Seven Differences in Thinking Between the Rich and Middle Class

  1. Nika says:

    Your article makes it sound the rich do not have MAJOR advantages over the rest of us and all they have they earned based on nothing but their charater.

    I am in no way discounting personal responsibility for making your life what it is, I am just pointing out that the rich and the poor and not facing the same challenges, not by a long shot.

    If you are rich you have a safety net. You can make a mistake and it won’t change your life. You can try again and again, until you get it right.

    If you are poor you often have one shot only — there is no margin for mistakes in your life if you want to make it. It can take you years to recover from a mistake.

    If you are rich, you have resources to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. You have capital to float you while you work things out and establish your business.

    You can take a chance on a venture if it has a reasonable chance of success. However, if you are not rich and have a child to support, a failure may cause you not have money for his college or postpone retirement by many years. You willl have a different definition of a “reasonable chance” and thus some quite justified fear.

    You just don’t have the same sense of security.

    If you are rich, you probably were treated differently by society all your life than a kid that grew up poor. You are automatically given a certain level of respect and attention, and get a chance to prove yourself. You have connections you grew up with, they are ready for you.

    Now it is not to say that being born poor means you are stuck forever in that station. In this country, more than in most others, you have a shot to make it. But your path will be very very different and far far harder than the path of somebody who was born into a rich family, and you can’t afford mistakes.

    Where do you think George Bush would be if hew as born into a poor family?

  2. Traciatim says:

    Nika, I’d like you agree you, but I have a quick question. What percentage of millionaires are first generation?

  3. Nika says:

    “Nika, I’d like you agree you, but I have a quick question. What percentage of millionaires are first generation?”

    I feel that using the “millionaire” as a yardstick is misleading in this context.

    I know people who have about 2 million (in retirement accounts), that does not make them rich. They are just smart and determined middle class. And that money has to last them the entire retirement. But they would fall under the “millionaire” or even a multi-millionaire statistic.

    Barring any major disaster, we will likely have that much money in our retirement by the time we retire. That would allow us middle class lifestyle in retirement. And we would be counted as millionaires in the statistics. So I don’t think this is a correct picture of wealth generation in this country.

    People have no understanding how mind-bogglingly rich the rich are if they are measuring it by a 1 million yardstick.

  4. Pingback: Think Rich to Grow Rich | Live Rich & Free

  5. Tammy says:

    I like the article! I understand what Nika said in their comment. It is harder to take chances in life if someone is in the low income bracket. Especially while supporting family. Of-course if you are wealthy, taking a risk on a new opportunity or investment may not effect you as much as other people. On the other side, I really don’t think that this article is talking about people whom were born into wealth necessarily being the great left brain thinkers of today. I know individuals who coast through life not working living off their parents only to inherit millions. Sure they are millionaires but they probably would not of ever had that label if it wasn’t for their parents. Success and riches can be many things to many people. Those people that actually worked to be in the 1% bracket did so by thinking outside the box or “non-linear” as said in the article. Its a different mind set all together. Which I think is what this article is trying to relay. Dare to think different.

  6. JohnT says:

    What is often missed is that it can take more than one generation. I grew up poor but with the mindset that it wasn’t a permanent condition. My parents worked hard to give me opportunities they didn’t have. I’m doing the same for my children. If your parents didn’t do it for you, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it for yourself and your children.

  7. Nichelle says:

    It’s all about perspective. Truly.. Period. I come from a family that was far below the poverty, and I have had to work earnestly to achieve a full-ride in college. I have no doubts that my wealth will be mind-boggling, despite my background and hardships I have faced. You are still in a mindset of poor thinking. I understand why you point these ‘problems’ out, however, I look at the very things you named as advantageous. It’s about renewing your mind.

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