Illustration by Brianna Murphy for The Market Herald

Billionaire Insight: The Six Common Habits of the Mega Wealthy

Revolutionary entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are far different in their wealth-generating ways than steadfast investors like Warren Buffett.


Despite their differences, almost all of them share a set of six habits.

Expert in the psychology of entrepreneurship, Rafael Badziag

Entrepreneur and expert in the psychology of entrepreneurship Rafael Badziag found some intriguing insights when researching for his book “The Billion Dollar Secret.”

After spending five years conducting face-to-face interviews with 21 self-made billionaire entrepreneurs around the world, Badziag found they shared six habits that helped them lead to their success.

It seems billionaires have more in common than just wealth –most have a daily routine with valuable traits that investors can learn from to nurture their investments. And it’s easier than you might think to tap into the secrets of wealth and success. Here is a look at the common habits of the mega-rich.

Early Risers

When time is money, it’s no surprise this is the most commonly cited trait of the world’s richest. According to Badziag, every billionaire he interviewed said this was a big component of their success with the average wake-up time around 5:30 am. To make the most of the day, billionaires find a positive habit in waking up promptly and starting the day early. Getting a head start on the day by exercising, meditating, thinking, writing or reading is achievable by anyone.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up before dawn for a 6-mile run. Virgin Group founder and chairman Richard Branson rises around 5:45 am.

Richard Branson Facebook
Source: Richard Branson Facebook

Prioritise Health

Every billionaire Badziag interviewed mentioned a strict exercise regime. Whether that’s incorporated into their early morning routine or scheduled into another part of their day. Most include the addition of sports which share many benefits to the business. The interviewees claim that sport gives you vital energy and mental strength, helps you think clearly and makes you disciplined and persistent.

Sports is also about winning and losing – as well as teamwork and humility – all key traits in the business world. On top of exercise and sports, Badziag also found most practice some form of meditation and stick to a nutritious diet. According to a 2018 report on Global Billionaires from intelligence and data company WealthX, the most popular sport amongst billionaires is golf.

donald trump golf
Donald Trump playing golf | Source: NBC News

Voracious Readers

With the rise in popularity of video content, you might think reading is almost a forgotten past-time – not for the billionaires of the world. Badziag cites reading alongside exercise as one activity billionaires spend time on regularly – and there are very good reasons for it. Reading is one of the best ways to learn new things, develop new ideas, challenge current thinking, and help inspire creativity and – all crucial traits for developing a business mind.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says he reads one book a week, telling Time magazine, “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently. Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career.”

bill gates books
Source: CNBC

Constant Thinkers

Billionaires actually set time aside to do nothing but think. They might do this by meditating or some other relaxing activity they enjoy. They ask questions and make contemplation a habit – whether that’s through meditation, exercising or just relaxing in peace.

Kim Beom-su, the founder of Kakao, South Korea’s biggest messaging app, says contemplating it’s his “most important habit” that he does in the mornings while “taking a shower or walk”. He says “it is during those times that I’ve been able to organise my thoughts, gain more clarity on certain things and develop new ideas.”

Kim Beom-su
Kim Beom-su’s net worth is US$9.3 billion according to Forbes | Source: Character Media

Avid Planners

And, as you may have guessed – the world’s most affluent share a love of schedules, routines and rituals. Incorporating the four habits above, a routine is one of the most important aspects of long-term success. Badziag writes that a routine makes adhering to the habits easier and more sustainable over longer periods and creates “a compound effect”.

Nearly all the billionaires he interviewed have a morning routine they follow religiously yet it doesn’t matter when you commit to the routine activities. What matters the most is doing them even when you don’t feel like it. Oprah Winfrey’s routine involves rising at seven o’clock, brushing her teeth, taking her five dogs for a walk, drinking coffee, reading from her ‘365 Gathered Truths’ box, and finishing with meditation and an hour-long workout.

Oprah Winfrey
Source: Business Insider


The billionaires I interviewed are the most disciplined people I have ever met. They put a high standard on themselves and on the people around them.

Rafael Badziag

Discipline brings all the other traits together. There are no results without enough discipline to stick to a routine, to wake up early or to regularly exercise. Billionaires aren’t immune to being unmotivated. The difference, Badziag notes, is “they’re fully aware of it and don’t allow themselves to slack off. They power through their struggles”.

The key to disciplinarian success is limiting distractions, knowing your temptations and being aware of when you’re swaying off track. Tesla founder Elon Musk believes if you have the motivation, then the task can be done. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.”

Jeff Besos
Source: Business Insider

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