How To Become a Billionaire

Hey Thoughty2 here. As far as eccentric billionaires go Alabama-based George W. Barber is high on the list. He owns the world's largest motorcycle collection and his own private race track but when you've ticked those off your list what else do you do with your endless money? Well, in the 90s Barber used his wealth to have a handful of life-sized dinosaurs built and placed randomly around the 10,000 acre woodlands surrounding his home. The dinosaurs are also accompanied by a collection of medieval knight statues. But he didn't stop there. Barber also commissioned a life-sized fibreglass replica of stone henge that he hilariously named Bamahenge. And to top it all off a 50 foot naked woman submerged in his private Marina. So despite the fact that if you become a billionaire you'll have vastly more money than you know what to do with, and you'll have to resort to building giant dinosaurs and women, the desire to be one is great. Let's not lie to ourselves, most people would love to be a billionaire, even if we don't know why or how we would spend our fortune. But the unlucky reality is that your chances of amassing one billion dollars or pounds worth of assets within your lifetime are pitifully slim. The current population is 7.5 billion and there are 2,043 billionaires in the world today, meaning the chance of you becoming a billionaire is 0.000027%. So should you just give up now? No, because you can of course increase your chances. You see billionaires aren't like you and I. Their behaviours and actions are very different and unusual. And statistics show that copying these behaviours won't guarantee that you'll become a billionaire but it vastly increases your chances. Firstly they are patient, far more patient than the average person. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet once said "The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient." Most people want success overnight and it's easy to feel like you've failed if you don't achieve it and one's natural instinct is to beat yourself up over failure or just slow growth. But patience is the key to success. The world's wealthiest individuals are no strangers to failure and having to wait, sometimes decades, for success to come along due to their hard efforts. Bill Gates, the richest person on the planet knows this all too well. You've heard of Microsoft, but have you heard of Traff-O-Data? No, that's because it was a huge flop. Traff-O-Data was Mr Gate's first company. Its goal was "to read the raw data from roadway traffic counters and create reports for traffic engineers". Gates thought his genius idea would optimise traffic and end road congestion forever. But the technology didn't work and it fell flat on its face. But Gates had patience and perseverance, and from the ashes of Traff-O-Data, Microsoft was born. Since then Microsoft has created 3 billionaires and over 12,000 millionaires. James Dyson created an incredible 5,127 vacuum prototypes over 15 years before he finally took his first bagless vacuum to market. Thomas Edison famously said "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work." From Steve Jobs to Richard Branson, they all had to fail miserably before they found success. If they had been impatient they may have thrown in the towel and achieved nothing. Billionaires are the world's best problem solvers. Solving problems is how most made their fortunes. But the road to riches is often fraught with seemingly impossible obstacles. When Joseph Piscopo was starting up his software company Pansophic it was going fantastically well for a few years, with $230 million of annual revenue. Until one New Year's Eve in 1985, a disgruntled employee walked through the company's data centre with an industrial strength electro-magnet, erasing every single hard drive in the building. This was a complete disaster, they had no external backups and everyone thought the company would close its doors for good. But a defiant Piscopo set to work on rebuilding all the lost data, within two weeks the data was restored and the company was flourishing again. Rock Mackie, founder of a billion-dollar cancer-treatment company called TomoTherapy, encountered an entrepreneurs worst nightmare. Right at the launch of his company, the main investor pulled out on launch day and Mackie had to fire all of his employees on the spot. Yet despite the incredible odds against him, Mackie still managed to go public with TomoTherapy for a billion dollar valuation. There are also small, everyday behaviours that most billionaires share. They are all very early risers, for example. Apple CEO Tim Cook, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson and Disney CEO Robert Iger have all reported that they wake up at 4:30 every morning. And according to research the vast majority of billionaires are awake by at least 5:30am. Our brains are at their best in the morning, and without the distractions of other people and family obligations, it's amazing what one can accomplish in just one day. New York based Billionaire Irwin Simon wakes up at 5 am and he says that he accomplishes more before 9 am than most people do all day. He spends the early hours of the morning answering emails, calling and managing his operations in Europe and Asia. He prays, walks the dog and exercises, all before his kids wake up. Oh and he even has time to sit down for breakfast in Manhattan before arriving at his office to start his actual work day. But surely if all these billionaires are waking up so early they must be going to bed ridiculously early too? No, quite the opposite, these individuals have the rare ability to function at maximum capacity on very little sleep. A study identified a small group of people, roughly 2% of the population, who can function and live very happily on very little sleep, just a few hours each night. This isn't just willpower though, researchers actually found that these people carry a mutation of a gene called hDEC2. When they tweaked the same gene and put it into mice, they found that the mice began to sleep less, just like the human test subjects. It's therefore a biological gift for a lucky 2%, that have been named the "Sleepless Elite". And what's even more amazing is that these same people tend to be highly successful, many millionaires, billionaires, prime ministers and presidents have been found to possess this gift of not needing much sleep. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci are just a few people who were known to have this unusual gift. Although there are some successful people who didn't have this gift, yet they actually forced themselves to sleep less so they could get more done, Margaret Thatcher trained herself to only sleep for four hours every single night. I can easier sympathise with Winston Churchill though. He begrudged getting out of bed so much that he would spend the entire morning working from his bed and even received important visitors in his bedroom. But if we put these smaller attributes of billionaires aside, there's one major, glaring trait you absolutely must have to become very, very wealthy. To control such a large portion of the world's wealth, you have to be a total psychopath or at the very least a sociopath. And I'm not being sycophantic, most billionaires are clinical psychopaths. Sam Wilkin is an economist and head of business research at Oxford Economics. He has long studied and also wrote a book about the world's wealthiest 1% and the common factors that they share. And in all his time studying hundreds of wealthy tycoons he discovered one common factor, they are willing to do absolutely anything to gain market monopoly and ruthlessly force their competitors into the ground. I'm not saying that all billionaires are serial killers but like serial killers, most are unable to feel empathy. This helps them to make difficult decisions that may harm others but will advance their own goals. Criminal psychologist Robert Hare famously discovered, through his research that 1% of the general population are categorised as psychopaths, however, over 10% of financial traders, stock brokers and bankers are psychopaths. Being a psychopath doesn't mean you're going to massacre your own family with a chainsaw. Psychopathy is simply a condition that is easily diagnosed by having the following traits, superficially charming, highly manipulative and able to con others, a complete lack of empathy or remorse and a willingness to take large risks. So I basically just described Donald Trump and probably any other billionaire you can think of. But perhaps there's a reason billionaires are psychopaths, because it's what's required to make it to the top. In a crazily competitive capitalist society, only those who are willing to take large risks, and skirt around the edges of the law, perhaps even break them from time to time are going to gain that competitive edge needed to obliterate the competition and monopolise a market. Think Facebook, YouTube, Google, Amazon, they are so wildly successful and are able to grow with astonishing velocity, because they have no effective competitors and that's the way they like it. It has long been rumoured that Bill Gates stole the idea of Windows from his Apple colleagues. Warren Buffett pays income tax on only 0.018% of his 74.2 billion dollars worth of assets, whilst the rest of us are paying between 25 and 60 percent tax. And then there are the billionaires that made their wealth from poisoning the waters with nuclear waste, all the South American drug barons, those who got wealthy on blood diamonds and of course the billionaires who made their wealth building and selling arms, used to slaughter millions of innocent people. To do these things without remorse one has to have a degree of psychopathy about them. This doesn't mean that all billionaires are bad people, quite the opposite. But there is undeniably a certain meglomanic quality and a specific set of attributes required to amass vast sums of wealth. But of course the best way to increase your chances of becoming a billionaire is not by studying and copying other billionaire's behaviours but by getting out there and putting your every fibre into whatever you're passionate about. Because success comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. Thanks for watching.

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