You’ve probably heard this before, especially if you tend to read success motivational material. The basic principle is that we tend to become like those we hang around with. In fact, this basic principle is the primary reason why those who grow up in rich families tend to become rich themselves, and those who grow up in poor families remain poor.

The reason this happens is that when we spend time around a person, we experience a subset of their beliefs. If something doesn’t quite go the way they expect, we see their reaction to it. A poor person may get angry, upset, or dive into a depression whereas a rich person may take a more proactive approach and start planning a strategy to overcome the obstacles. Or if they hit a stroke of good luck, the poor person may quit working and throw a party whereas a rich person takes it in stride, as if it were a normal occurrence in life.

When I grew up, my family wasn’t quite poor, but we weren’t well off either. I remember many times hearing my parents say that there wasn’t enough money for this or that, and I saw them sell their time for wages as a means of earning money. It was because of this that I didn’t even consider another way of earning money when I got out into the world. I just assumed that the only way to get money was to work for wages. I had heard stories of people making tons of money, but I just couldn’t understand what kind of job they could find that would earn them a million dollars a year or more. And it just totally baffled me that a young person under the age of 25 could be a millionaire, even though I had heard about several who had reached that level of prosperity.

It was only through a long process of studying that I found the answers to my questions. Now I understand that wages are only 1 way to earn money. Investments are another. Self-employment is another way, although this really is nothing more than a job where the wages are variable.

There are only 2 ways to get rich. Either you learn a skill that’s so valuable that people will pay you a lot of money to use that skill, or you invest in something that will produce an income without your personal involvement.

Doctors follow the first of these directions. They have learned a highly valuable skill, and we generally are willing to pay them whatever they want in order to have the benefit of good health. Attorneys and computer experts are other examples of people following this path.

The other pathway is followed by real-estate investors, stock market investors, and business owners. These people purchase something in order to derive an income from it, or to sell it off for a profit. Either way, they are able to get lots of money from very little effort.

The Internet has created an opportunity for everyone to become business owners. For very little money, anyone can set up a website that handles all the details of the business, leaving the business owner with the simple task of depositing checks that come in every month. And since websites cost very little to set up, just about anyone can set up dozens of websites, or hundreds! And with each one producing a passive income, you can feel just like an oil tycoon with your own set of oil wells producing an ongoing income month after month.

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