Career

3 Surprising Routines Super Successful People Have In Common

Yeah, yeah, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are pretty effective, but what about the 3 Surprising Routines Super Successful And Rich People Follow That Might Even Help You Make More Money? Fewer than half as many, but they might just pack double the punch.

And it’s all about working smarter, not necessarily harder.

They never change clothes

No, they don’t smell. But a number of the world’s wealthiest do wear somewhat of a uniform everyday, to make their complicated lives a little simpler. Not exactly the logo-spotted, polyester uniform you wore in your after-school fast food job, of course.

Fashion is where art, culture and history intersect, often revealing itself as a sign of the times. The minimalist movement might be masking an underbelly of consumerism, but hey, we’re not complaining – we can save our money for stuff that means something.

Mark Zuckerberg loves his hoodies and grey tees, Steve Jobs wore his black turtleneck rain, hail or shine, and President Obama only wore blue or grey suits pretty much every day he was in office. Even Kim Kardashian – essentially the queen of excess – has a habit of dressing like a Band-Aid. The pantsuit didn’t win Hillary the presidency; however, if she wore the same pantsuit every day it could have been a different story. Just sayin’.

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Maybe not for Kimmy, but for the rest of them it’s all related to the psychological concept of decision fatigue, where mental capacity declines and productivity suffers from making too many menial decisions. Being the boss of everything has its pitfalls, and you pay a biological price for doing so.

A uniform is the new power dressing.

The slow fashion movement is picking up speed because of it. If you can’t bear the thought of a turtleneck during Aussie summer, services dedicated to the kind cull are cropping up everywhere, like The Clothing Cleanse in Melbourne, and Project 333, which involves rotating 33 clothing items for a period of three months.

They read religiously, and differently

Besides being part of the billionaire’s club, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey all have something else in common – they read religiously. Nike’s co-founder, Phil Knight, apparently so reveres his home library that he and guests must remove shoes and bow upon entering.

You might be rolling your eyes at this – “I’ve already read about this somewhere else” – but you’re probably doing reading all wrong. And your high school self is going to be pissed off reading this.

Bestselling author and venture capitalist, James Altucher, has spent years building his own businesses and others’ to conclude that a chapter from many different books a day, gets the brain ready to play. James’ ex-wife Claudia once remarked he reads about 30 pages from five different books a day.

Successful people take what they need, then get on with it.

“We’re the average of the five people we surround ourselves with,” says James. “But I don’t usually hang out with five people a day. But I can hang out with five people through books.”

Here’s a good place to start.

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And you do have the time. Warren Buffett estimates he spends about 80 per cent of his time “reading and thinking”. Forbes says Warren’s running the fourth biggest company in the world; maybe they forgot to mention yours. Word from the wise man, Warren:

“I read and read and read,” he says. “I probably read five to six hours a day. I don’t read as fast now as when I was younger. But I read five daily newspapers. I read a fair number of magazines. I read 10-Ks. I read annual reports. I read a lot of other things, too. I’ve always enjoyed reading. I love reading biographies, for example.”

He sounds all over the shop, but he’s actually quite selective. Successful people are like this, favouring education rather than simply entertainment. Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, found only 11 per cent of rich people (annual incomes greater than USD$160,000) read for entertainment, compared to 79 per cent of the poor (USD$35,000 or less).

Actually, they don’t always follow a routine

You don’t need a roadmap to travel down the road. Structure is great to a degree, although the rich also make time for the beauty of randomness. Remember, Robert Frost took the road less travelled and it “made all the difference”.

Warren is the wealthiest person in the world and he doesn’t really have a routine; in fact, he has a completely clear calendar. Maybe this is a luxury you can’t yet afford, but remember this: rich people prefer rituals instead.

Where routine sounds like a chore, because it usually is, ritual sounds almost magical. A routine might entail mindlessly completing a set of tasks, like eating breakfast at 7am and feeding the dog at 7:15am. A ritual could be considered a more deliberate process that provides energy along with structure, like spending a couple of hours reading a day.

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And free time frees your mind. When Warren met Bill Gates in 1991, Bill was shocked when he caught a glimpse of Warren’s empty calendar when they went to plan their next catch-up. Wealthy Warren’s two cents again, this time delivered to his now bestie Bill:

“You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”

In saying that, successful people’s routines are widely documented if you’re interested – and while it’s fascinating to read about John Legend licking his fingers over half a rotisserie chicken before performing or Beethoven counting out 60 coffee beans every morning before composing – following their routines won’t instantly make you successful, it’s probably best if you come up with your own.


Laura Daquino is a freelance writer who enjoys the odd contrarian idea or two over a glass of wine or three. But she also means business – and likes getting down to business (writing). Stalk her or talk to her @lauradaquino.

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