The Millionaire Next Door

Millionaires’ Reflections on High School

In my last blog, I highlighted an e-mail I received proposing that the material in The Millionaire Mind be included in high school curriculums.   However, this material would not likely be considered for such programs.  The respondents profiled in The Millionaire Mind represented the top 1% of wealth holders in America [a net worth and income of more than three times that of those profiled in The Millionaire Next Door].  I wrote The Millionaire Mind in response to people who urged me to study those with substantial amounts of wealth who “don’t live like monks.”

This by itself may turn off some educators.  But there are more significant issues.  Respondents were asked to rank the importance of 30 success factors in terms of explaining their substantial economic achievements.  Rated least important (30th) was “graduating near/at the top of my class.”  The top five were: integrity, discipline, social skills, a supportive spouse and working harder than others. 

I also asked these multimillionaires the following:  During your high school years, how do you think your teachers in general judged or evaluated you?  The percentage of these millionaires who indicated that their teachers were likely to judge them as the most intellectually gifted-11%; having the highest level of intelligence-12%; being most likely to succeed-20%, and having the highest grade point average-10%. 

Interestingly school experiences often motivated millionaires to succeed financially.  These experiences helped them  forge tenacity.  Fully 76% said that they were influenced by understanding that hard work is more important than high genetic intellect in achieving success.  And most millionaires never allowed poor grades to destroy their goal to succeed.

6 thoughts on “Millionaires’ Reflections on High School”

  1. FB @

    I’m so happy to read this:

    76% said that they were influenced by understanding that hard work is more important than high genetic intellect in achieving success.

    I’ve always believed that it’s just a question of hard work. Being smart helps you cut back on the time you need to work on something, but if you are smart and lazy, someone who is extremely hard working will beat you any day, any time.

  2. The recognition and acceptance that hard work is more important than simply being smart brings with the added benefits of focus on work that matters in the marketplace instead of work that is merely of academic interest, and the willingness to sweat and persevere when shifting through all the mental minutia is an insufficient strategy to make progress.

    As a software engineer, I am often surrounded by people who would rather daydream about how best to do something for far longer than it would take to actually just get it done. Work smarter if you can, but work nevertheless.

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