What Are the Differences Between the Rich and the Poor?


  1. Rich people believe: “I create my life.” Poor people believe: “Life happens to me.”
  2. Rich people play the money game to win. Poor people play the money game to not lose.
  3. Rich people are committed to being rich. Poor people want to be rich.
  4. Rich people think big. Poor people think small.
  5. Rich people focus on opportunities. Poor people focus on obstacles.
  6. Rich people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people.
  7. Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.
  8. Rich people are willing to promote themselves and their value. Poor people think negatively about selling and promotion.
  9. Rich people are bigger than their problems. Poor people are smaller than their problems.
  10. Rich people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.
  11. Rich people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time.
  12. Rich people think “both”. Poor people think “either/or”.
  13. Rich people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.
  14. Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.
  15. Rich people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money.
  16. Rich people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.
  17. Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.

Out of context, some of this advice seems glib and facile. In the book, however, Eker explains each point, demonstrating how successful people discard limiting beliefs while the unsuccessful succumb to them. This book was instrumental in changing my own attitudes toward life and money.

Recently, somebody pointed me to a similar book: The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class by Keith Cameron Smith. I haven’t had a chance to read this yet (it’s on my to-do list), but I glanced through some of it at Google books. Like Eker, Smith attempts to differentiate between the mindsets of the rich and the rest of us.

His ten distinctions are:

  1. Millionaires think long-term. The middle class thinks short-term.
  2. Millionaires talk about ideas. The middle class talks about things and people.
  3. Millionaires embrace change. The middle class is threatened by change.
  4. Millionaires take calculated risks. The middle class is afraid to take risks.
  5. Millionaires continually learn and grow. The middle class thinks learning ended with school.
  6. Millionaires work for profits. The middle class works for wages.
  8. Millionaires believe they must be generous. The middle class believes it can’t afford to give.
  9. Millionaires have multiple sources of income. The middle class has only one or two.
  10. Millionaires focus on increasing their wealth. The middle class focuses on increasing its paychecks.
  11. Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions. Middle-class people ask themselves disempowering questions.

Some of the items on Smith’s list seem to be derived from Eker’s philosophy. But although there are similarities, Eker’s list gives me warm fuzzies and Smith’s list does not. I’ve spent some time trying to figure out why.

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