“Imagine an ox’s yoke adrift / On the vast ocean and a turtle
Happening to poke its head / Through the hole—
This is how rare / And extraordinary it is to
Be born a human being.”
—Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam

GRATITUDE DOESN’T REQUIRE a particular faith or religious practice, but just simple feelings of genuine thankfulness for who you are, what you have, and where you are in your life. Gratitude is an act of integrity without negativity, judgment, or static. It is a loving mindset and perspective. It has been well documented that an attitude of gratitude lends itself to better overall mental and physical health.

Living with a heart full of gratitude, generosity, and joy creates a full life—one of constant blessings and grace. Gratitude changes your energy. As you express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the universe, you create an optimal vibration that aligns with Source energy and, in turn, attracts more blessings, grace, and abundance into your life. Your goal must be to double-triplequadruple the amount of time you have spent in your life up until now in a state of heartfelt gratitude. It is astounding how the consistent vibration of energy at this high frequency level can transform your life. When times are tough, or you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, transcend the moment by giving heartfelt thanks for some other aspect of your life. This simple act changes your mindset while purifying and heightening your energy.

The energy of gratitude and love are as close as humans can get to Source energy. Gratitude is a direct exchange of love and thankfulness between you and the universe, and is an essential aspect of Living with Certainty. By being thankful to the universe for what you have and what you are about to receive, you acknowledge your unwavering faith that something out there is working out of pure love on your behalf.

Use your first waking moments each day to be thankful for your breath and your life. Use this time to vibrate the high frequency energies that you intend to fill your day. Don’t squander this brief and essential time by jumping into thinking, planning, and worrying about mundane activities. There will always be time for that. Instead, meet the new day with a fresh, blank slate of gratitude-laden, highvibrational energy emanating from the sweet clarity with which you awaken.

Up until now you may have taken your life’s difficult circumstances into consideration and felt that you have little for which to be grateful. However, if you are truly to transition your mind and your life through Living with Certainty, you must spend as much of your time as possible in the high-vibrational state of gratitude. Quite simply, not appreciating your life is devaluing it. Remain cognizant every day of the big and little things that make you smile, lighten your load, teach you a lesson, or bring a fleeting feeling of joy. The only way to make gratitude a fundamental aspect of your being is to heighten your awareness and develop the habit of expressing thanks for your life in its entirety, just as it exists today.

No matter how bad you may think your circumstances are, someone always has it worse than you, and life can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. Anything this fragile and fleeting must be cared for, revered, and appreciated. The more you accept and internalize this fact, the more gratitude you will express for who you are and what you have today.

There are many things to be grateful for—the smiles and greetings of strangers; books and music; the warm afternoon sun; the renewal and safety of last night’s sleep; the warmth of your fireplace; the magnificence of a ripe, summer peach; the shade of a tree on a hot day; pure drinking water; your child’s safety; the love of friends; the walk you took through the park; the hummingbird that fluttered by your hanging pot; the learning that came from a difficult circumstance; freedom; and so on. As simple as some of these things are, never take them for granted. Millions of people around the world do not have the most basic of these things.

When you can really answer all of these life questions with authentic, deeply-felt answers, you have developed a centered sense of self, and are truly on a path to create an authentic, passionate, and purposeful life. Living with Certainty requires that you know how you feel — that you can answer all of these questions.

Who are you?
Why are you here?
What is your purpose in life?
What do you want to do?
Who do you want to be?
Where do you want to be?
What do you want to have?
What can you contribute?
How will you make your choices?
How do you want to feel?
What are your core beliefs?
What are your core values?
What are your priorities?
What are your goals?
What are your deepest desires?
What are you afraid of?
What are your great enthusiasms, excitements and passions?
What do you most treasure? What matters to you the most?
Who do you love? What are you doing about it?
What are you most grateful for? Do you celebrate what you do have?
What have you done lately that was really worth remembering?
Which activities make you lose track of time?
How do you want to serve?
What makes you feel the happiest and most engaged?
What brings you great joy?
What does your perfect day look like?
What are your greatest strengths and leverage points?
What are your hurdles?
What are you holding on to that you should let go of? What’s holding you back?
What do you want to learn?
Who are your teachers?
If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
What is your fun?
Time or money?
What makes you smile?
Who do you want in your life?
What do you need?
How do you differentiate between just existing and really living?
What must you accomplish before you die?
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
What are you most proud of?
If not now, then when?

We all basically know what ego is, and we’ve seen its impact on lives, relationships and the planet. And while most all of us could benefit from lessening its grip on our lives, our egos will always be a part of us. The fact remains, however, that out-of-check egos have ruined people. And even if your ego isn’t demonstratively affecting your life, if your ego is in charge of how you move through and perceive your life, you will constantly experience unnecessary highs and lows based on what your ego-in-charge is observing external to you.

Your ego can actually direct you to act in indifferent ways that are divisive and destructive

Remember, ego is a construct of yours — you’ve created the extent to which your ego is – or isn’t – in charge. How it speaks to you – and controls you – is not necessarily reality-based. Your ego can actually direct you to act in indifferent ways that are divisive and destructive. This becomes apparent in how you treat everyone with whom you come into contact. Your ego can really jerk you around if your sense of self is rooted in your ego. Your ego is completely enraptured with — and protective of itself — with absolutely no desire to melt away for the sake of freeing the Soul as the true (and to be trusted) mediator of your entire being.

Your ego can block the discovery and expression of your most authentic inspiration and creativity. It’s more concerned with protecting you, constructing defenses, preventing you from taking risks, criticizing others, and finding ways for you to receive praise and approval. These are not the traits that will lead you to a life of greatness, fulfillment and joy.

I have had so many people in my life with massive ego issues. I have watched in endless fascination as they pounced on every possible opportunity to arrogantly point out the faults or short-comings of others. Clearly some of these individuals enjoyed – even thrived off of – the feeling of superiority this provided to them. It was their little thrill for the day, the moment of validation they lived for because it allowed them to maintain their ego’s identity. If this describes you, not only do you have some real work to do, but realize that a life of deep-soul joy and purposeful authenticity is passing you by as you remove yourself from any kind of meaningful dialogue with the person whom you’ve set your sites on.

As you begin to live with certainty and embrace your true self as your soul – that inherently balanced state of bliss and pure love – you will get a sense for how much work lies ahead based on how far your current state is from your inspired soul-view-aligned life. It is amazing to so commonly witness how we corrode and cover – largely through the shenanigans of our ego-personality – such a purely blissful core. But this is Earthly life – our greatest challenge then is to remove the years of conditioned corrosion so that in our day to day experiences we can live from our soul-center and experience the deep-soul joy that has always been intended for us.

Imagine the discovery and expansion of your inspired soul-view through your heightened awareness as tantamount to enabling space for a flower bud — your inspired soul-view — to begin to expand and open. Awareness is the clear space that must exist around the delicate petals so that they can open ever-wider in all of their natural, miraculous beauty until they reach full potentiality. Open space is required to prevent the petals from becoming confined, restricted, bruised and crushed. With your ego, you can never let your awareness fail because the insipid ego wants nothing more than to once again encroach upon – and crush – the delicate petals of your inspired soul-view. Ongoing awareness and intention act as a light, delicate mist that allow the petals to stay fresh and hydrated.

Up until now, you may have solely filled your mind and life with thoughts and actions that are ego-personality based, not at all inspired soul-view-based. You are not alone – those individuals who live in alignment with their inspired soul-view and experience deep-soul joy as the foundational state of their existence are few and far between, but it need not be this way. Through living with certainty, you will learn how to navigate yourself – your entire mental, physical and spiritual being. While the ego will fight to maintain the state of status quo it has lived in for so long, this approach to life is the antidote.

Some people innately live with certainty – they are evolved souls naturally in touch with their purposeful authenticity; they naturally resonate energy at a high-frequency and naturally know how to create and attract the life the universe always intended for them to live. Keep in mind that I am not talking about the monetarily successful, blinded-by-ego, bluster-filled people whom we all know – they are not living with certainty. While they can quite skillfully create material abundance, they typically are greatly lacking in terms of their inner existence – they may constantly find themselves in conflicts and hot water and feel hollow inside despite all of their riches.

Master your ego; don’t let it be the Master of the real, authentic you.

I have found it to be surprisingly challenging throughout my journey to train my mind to let go of the things that my ego-personality had conditioned me over my lifetime to think I need to be happy. Let’s say I have been thinking for thirty years that I need a 20,000 square foot mansion to be happy and, subsequently, have been striving – with great frustration – for decades to attain it. Once I discover my inspired soul-view, I must face the fact that this life with the mansion that I’ve been envisioning is really not that which will bring me deep-soul joy and is not in alignment with my soul-view. This realization takes time to process and release. For me, it is an ongoing effort to de-condition myself and begin focusing on soul-view-aligned thoughts and desires that lead to my deep-soul joy. The mansion may come through the expression of my purposeful authenticity, but it won’t be the goal, nor will it be at the expense of my joy.

Through meditation and enhanced awareness, you can begin to lessen your ego’s stranglehold. You can begin to become more of whom you were always meant to be. You can begin to experience more joy and fulfillment in your life. Master your ego; don’t let it be the Master of the real, authentic you.

“May all living beings have happiness

            And the cause of happiness;

May all be free from sorrow

            And the cause of sorrow;

May all never be separated

            From the Bliss that is sorrowless;

May all live in equanimity,

            Free from attachment and aversion.

~ The Four Immeasurables Prayer

Deep. Soul. Joy. Think for a moment about those three words. Standing alone, they each in their own right are important words and concepts, but together they are life-changing. Deep-soul joy is experienced when you live in such a way that your purpose and passion are set free; your sense of universal interconnectivity is ignited and your joy rises.

When you live with certainty and deep-soul joy, you live differently than perpetually discontented people. When I sense revelatory moments of deep-soul joy coming, I stop what I am doing and immerse myself in the moment, surrendering to the flow and allowing it to absorb into every cell in my body. Gratitude is my only conscious thought – any other thoughts make the experience disappear as quickly as it appeared.

With the proper approach and intent you can experience deep-soul joy. Whether you live in a hut in Nairobi, a rambler in Minneapolis, a flat in London, a mansion in Beverly Hills, a cottage in Nice, or an apartment in Krakow, you, too, can experience deep-soul joy. I understand how difficult and complex lives can be and how foreign this concept may be if you are a victim of bullying, a disenfranchised LGBT youth, or a woman going through a divorce or suffering from depression. But there can be a light at the end of the tunnel as you learn to Live with Certainty.

Concepts such as joy, happiness, success, and abundance can mean very different things to different people. Joy is a more profound emotional state of contentment and well-being than happiness. Joy is a deep feeling of pleasure or gladness that comes from success, good fortune, or a general sense of well-being. And to take this concept to the next level, deep-soul joy is an even higher, more profound level of joy that is spiritual, energetic, authentic, nourishing, and life-long. This deep sense of well-being and contentment emanates from your soul and serves as an intrinsic aspect of your internal instruction system which is discussed at lenght in Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy.

The universe has graced you with everything you need to experience a life of deep-soul joy; it is all inside of you now. Nothing else – besides the actions and work to exercise your passion and purpose - is required. You may, however, need to shed a few things. Releasing attachments to your ego-personality and false personas — actually mentally detaching and surrendering to the real you — is incredibly freeing and powerful. Previously, you may have felt anxious or fearful to expose the real you worried about being ridiculed or not fitting in once your authentic self is discovered. However, surrendering to your inspired soul-view and your purposeful authenticity is required. It may initially cause you to feel anxious if you perceive this as giving up control.

My Deep-Soul Joy

My deep-soul joy is the steady state from which I live my daily life – it has become who I am and how I interact with every aspect of the universe. From this state of joy and contentment, I experience heightened, intense revelatory moments – super-concentrated doses of joy that emerge from the more constant state. These moments periodically happen as I go about my day to day life; suddenly I find myself overcome with joy, wonder and bliss often to the point of tears. Deep, moving and exhilarating, surging Source love and inspiration pulse through my body literally giving me goose bumps.

In some respects, I feel that I have always known deep-soul joy. My earliest memories are of financially humble – albeit delightful — beginnings. I cannot stress enough how well-served I was by the joyful, peaceful early conditioning I received throughout those early years. For the first four and a half years of my life, I had the distinct privilege of living in extremely close proximity to my grandparents and extended family in Southern California in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Without a doubt, my family — and extended family — has known deep-soul joy for generations. Effortlessly and innately, they lived and experienced lives of peace and fulfillment. First-generation immigrants brimming with courage and hope they brought with them the belief and faith that are precisely the stuff from which inspiration and dreams are made. Some people simply call it la dolce vita, the sweet joy of everyday, no-frills life. In those Utopian years in Southern California, I spent some of the sweetest times with my family that I have ever experienced (and I’ve had some pretty sweet times since then). These early role models may not have had much money, but they were compassionate, loving and cheerful people who were very involved in their church community and had many, many dear friends. They were homeowners with beautiful yards and gardens rich with fruit and walnut trees, herbs, vegetables, roses and berries. Their neighbors were like extended family. My beautiful grandmother, Rose, was completely deaf, but had a twinkle in her eye as she emanated peacefulness. Her dream was to be a teacher, but, at that time, sadly, her hearing disability precluded this. She did not, however, let this destroy her natural state of peace and joy. My grandparents lived in a simple yet park-like landscaped setting – I recall a horse who would routinely amble up to the back fence to greet us–and Penny, the family Beagle. The sun always seemed to shine on Yarmouth Street.

My grandparents raised three children on an extremely limited income, and yet their financial status had no bearing on their joy. Every night they had a lovely family dinner. For Christmas, my grandfather’s black socks substituted for the children’s stockings which were filled with only a dime, an orange and a walnut. For Easter, the children shared one single Easter basket.  Across the street lived a well-to-do family that was not at all happy; their festive silk Christmas stockings were filled with all manner of toys and candies. And their Easter table was set with a large Easter basket at each place setting. Yet this family was always embroiled in conflict and unhappiness. Did my family notice that materially they had less than others? Yes. Did it affect their joy and the love they had for one another? No way.

Now, I completely understand that my grandparents were not joyous over not having much money; it was an ongoing struggle. Rather, these lovely people were joyous despite not having much money. They were internally at peace in a fundamental way that their external situation could not shake. They knew deep-soul joy.

Once I began living from my inspired soul-view (a life of deep purposefulness and passion), a foundational state of deep-soul joy slowly emerged and took over, forever altering my perspective. I gained peace in knowing that I am living the life the universe always intended for my soul to experience. I know at my core that I can weather any storm, I am not alone, I am loved and I am secure. Most of all, I know that I am interconnected with the greater universe, connected to Source energy, and no matter what happens, my soul will go on its essential state of grace and deep-soul joy. And this experience will continue to be mine as long as I go on living with purposeful authenticity.

When I am graced with these deep, authentic moments, I become my deep-soul joy and am completely open to the universal energetic flow and where it is guiding me. My outer world stops as I experience this very natural state of alignment. A deep sense of awareness and gratitude for this inspirational and revelatory rush of Source energy puts me in the best possible position to maintain this alignment. I never take these moments for granted for they are a gift, the ultimate experience of an Earthly life and affirm that I am living with certainty.

My responsibility for receiving this “song-in my–heart” gift of deep-soul joy is to share it with others. I once had someone tell me that they “appreciate my sparkle.Funny, when I experience deep-soul joy, I feel open, luminous (I call it sparkly) and connected. There are times that I feel so joyous that I am completely overcome with emotion and gratitude.

So you see, I am beyond deeply satisfied with my life – and I wish the same for you. Yes, I experience my share of challenges, down times, defeats, sorrows, heartaches, problems and obstacles – these experiences are part and parcel of living an Earthly life and they lurk in the background waiting to pounce on all of us in order that we may learn our next needed lesson. I readily expect these things to rear their ugly heads from time to time and am, therefore, not overly emotional or despondent when trouble appears on the horizon; never have I believed that any obstacle could stop me. It is precisely the trying times that have taught, developed and enlightened me in ways that otherwise would have been impossible. They have served as the catalyst for much needed change. Now that I live with certainty, I perceive difficulties very differently than I did before. I believe I encounter fewer negative experiences now simply because I no longer create negativity through non-inspired soul-view-aligned actions; nor do I attract and manifest the things that I do not want through self-defeating thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

Am I still making mistakes today? You bet’cha – every day, but I am constantly learning, growing and trying not to beat myself up too much. Through my own mistakes I have learned much about compassion – and for these experiences, wrenching as they were at the time, I am grateful. As you embrace every encounter as a learning and growth opportunity, you can leave anger and resentment behind. Immediately find the lesson in every difficult situation – and don’t make the same mistake twice. When you view life through this lens, you open to the experience of deep-soul joy. My innate approach to life is to place far more emphasis on the positive than on the negative. Through living with certainty, you will begin more naturally to embrace this approach, too. While living in anxiety-laden, tenuous times, I remain joyous and thankful for my life, convinced that the best days for my family and me are ahead. No matter what happens externally, I will live from this continual state of deep-soul joy.

 “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” ~Oscar Wilde

This is a blog specifically for young people who are frustrated and disheartened by today’s economy and jobs outlook. Despite the pessimism out there, there is so much that you can begin doing now – today – to move your life forward, even if you’re not currently working in your dream job. Being “truly rich” begins, not after you have acquired wealth, but when you begin your journey to create such a life. Who you ultimately become is determined by the person you are during your journey to create your best life.

Despite all the wealthy people I know, I know relatively few of them who can be categorizes as “truly rich,” meaning they’ve created compassionate, passionate, purpose-filled, loving, and service-oriented lives, along their path to accumulating monetary riches. Of those who do, in fact, meet these criteria, I outlined their remarkable traits in my book, Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy, and the 65 “Energy Enablers.”

While the wealthy have money by definition, the truly rich are not always extremely wealthy. Accumulating wealth is what you do, but being rich is who you are. The “truly rich” are rich in spirit well in advance of acquiring wealth. You must be rich inside to be truly rich.  Amassing wealth will open more doors of choice, but will not automatically make you happy and fulfilled. Being “truly rich” is about developing a lifestyle that enables reaching your fullest potentiality — not just financially.

Are You Truly Rich? Ask Yourself:

Do I brighten up the world of those around them and help to shape their lives in profound ways?

Do I have abundance and balance spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, and financially?

Do I live in awe of this thing called “life”?

Do I help others who are less fortunate?

Do I give and serve?

Do I have the freedom to live where I want, vacation when I want, retire when I want, see my family and friends when I want?

Do I help others to lift themselves higher?

Do I spend enough time working towards accomplishments that will endure, memories that will endure, relationships that will endure?

Do I have a giving, loving spirit and consistently contribute to the greater good?

Have I fully examined and defined my values, priorities, goals, and beliefs?

Do I have a clear vision that I actualize through a daily action plan and plain, old-fashioned, hard work?

Do I have enough money to be comfortable and secure for the rest of my life?

A Wealthy Mindset
Having a “rich” mindset (mental makeup, principles, and habits that guide your actions) – in addition to your hard work – is essential and fosters wealth building thoughts, behaviors, and activities. It is a rich mindset that will ultimately leads you to a rich life and wealth – and some people don’t naturally have this mindset. I hope the following tips and tactics can set you on your journey to a truly rich life.

121 Ways to Become “Truly Rich” in Mindset & Wealth

  1. Take Action – You must do more than dream and think; you must act. Acting takes courage and the strategic ability to consider the consequences. Self-made millionaires are extremely action-oriented; they “walk” way more than they “talk.” Work overtime. Ask your supervisor at work how you can take on additional responsibility, and make sure that he/she is aware of your passions and goals. Always be willing to present yourself as the person who will do more and take on more work/responsibility.
  2. Adventure – Following your gut, taking risks, putting yourself “out there” should be viewed “big picture” as an adventure. You have to crave – and have the guts to embrace — your life’s “adventure.”
  3. Attitude – Recession; financial difficulties; businesses failures…this is our current reality. So, are you going to let that rob you of your vision, of your will to succeed? Figure out how to keep a positive attitude; to keep trying new things to move forward. The recession will end, and you’ll be positioned to succeed. “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” Take the lesson from each knock down and believe that success is within reach. It is precisely your positive attitude that will keep your creative juices flowing and keep you aware of opportunities that others will miss.
  4. Authenticity – Remain true at all times to your most authentic self – listen to those inner voices, follow your instinct.
  5. Awareness – Keep your eyes and ears open every day, all the time. Opportunities and people who can help you quickly appear and then vanish. Stay aware to seize opportunities, to grow, to give.
  6. Money Orientation - How were you taught to use money? Are you a saver or a spender? Do you have an inherent respect for money? Are you on top of your finances to the nickel? Is your wallet neatly organized? Do you know how much money you have at all times? You should. Some people learned bad money habits from their parents who didn’t save or acquire wealth. Consider what you have learned about money throughout your life. If you desire a different life than previous generations in your family, you may have to do things differently.  
  7. Belief – The most successful people believe without a doubt that they can achieve their dreams and are a part of something larger than themselves.   
  8. Immense Boldness – While everyone can have some level of self-doubt at times, the wealthy face fears head on with a resolve to conquer them. Boldness doesn’t mean you don’t have fear; rather it means you won’t let it prevent you from taking decisive action when an opportunity presents itself.
  9. Limit What You Borrow – Living on credit lines, credit cards and loans is obviously a wealth-killer.
  10. Brainpower – Smart, clever, insightful, and strategic…If you’re not, surround yourself with people who are.
  11. Cash – Pay for big ticket items like appliances and cars with cash. No cash, no stuff.
  12. Open to Change – If you accept that nothing ever stays the same, that change is inevitable, and you keep a focus on the future and what’s coming next, you will be able to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances.
  13. Character and Reputation – Don’t ever allow your desire wealth and/or power to tempt you to take any low-character action that can damage your reputation. To be truly rich, you must have impeccable character of you wish to be truly fulfilled, purposeful, authentic and rewarded. Never lose sight of who you really want to be and how you really want to be regarded; this is your brand.
  14. Clarity – Be extremely clear-minded about what you want, where you’re going, and how you plan to get there. Write out plan in great detail. Clarity is the first step toward great achievement,
  15. Eliminate Clutter in All Aspects of Your Life –You need an un-cluttered, crystal clear vision of what you intend to achieve, and you must also have a clean, clear environment to support your efforts. Your home, office, car should not be chaotic. If they are, this is a distraction, a time-waster, and a mental energy drainer. Reorganize, reprioritize in a way that is conducive to your best thought and work mode.  You will become clearer in your thinking and feel empowered to get more done.
  16. Commitment – Are you truly committed, long-term, to the goals you have set? Commitment helps deter the temptation and off-the rails beckoning of instant gratification.
  17. Excellent Communicators – Your written, spoken and negotiation skills should be impeccable if you are to sell your ideas to others and to create and inspire others to help you achieve your goals.
  18. Competitive – In the world of commerce and entrepreneurship, you must have a healthy competitiveness and desire to always be the best – even if it’s just being the best You you can be.
  19. Rarely Complain – No one – no one – likes a whiner.
  20. Confidence – Life is hard enough without us beating up ourselves. Confidence helps you to know who you are, respect yourself, and make the right choices, live with integrity, be inspired, trust your instincts, and have the courage to pursue your purpose and greatness.  The extent to which you experience self-worth and fulfillment in your life depends in part upon how much you believe in yourself. You have to be your own biggest fan – be bold in your dreams and pat yourself on the back when things go right.
  21. Connection – Don’t live a cloistered life. Even if you are not a gregarious extrovert, social media and email allow us to connect with others like never before. Connect with others. Form meaningful bonds. Serve others. Ask for help when you need it. Connect.
  22. Conscientiousness – Conscientiousness – including dependability, industriousness, and organization – seems to be a trait that is mightily lacking among many. Psychologists consider it to be a personality trait that exhibits stability in how you act, think, and feel. Conscientiousness and emotional stability have been closely linked by researchers to economic success. Individuals with these traits had higher lifetime earnings.
  23. Contentment – The truly rich are content with who they are and what they’ve accomplished.  They spend – or give – money on the things that bring them joy. They don’t waste money trying to keep up with The Joneses.
  24. Courage – Courage is needed to pursue dreams, to take calculated risks. But, know that great rewards/huge payoffs typically accompany risk. Entrepreneurs know this.
  25. Crazy – By “crazy” I mean having the courage to dream and take the risks that the average person might shy away from. You simply won’t attain greatness if you don’t think outside the box and follow your own path. You are an original; tap into your unique, singular greatness and show it to the world.  A little crazy in this regard can be a very good thing.
  26. Extraordinary Creativity and Innovation – Create, and be creative. Never cease looking for inspiration, innovations, opportunities, signs, new directions, and possibilities. Even challenges and problems should be looked at through a lens of opportunity and innovation. How can you get closer to your goals? How can you create more opportunities? Some people talk about “taking chances” but the real smart-craft is in making great choices. How can you save more money? How can you save more money?  Where do you need more inspiration? Where do you need more training?  Where do you need advice and mentoring? How can you overcome obstacles?  How can you make things happen? Keep searching. Keep looking. Get creative. Innovate to make things happen and create new opportunities for yourself.  The truly innovative are observant and resourceful and never stop looking for new opportunities that can make you rich.
  27. Curiosity - Be curious. Ask questions. Read. Explore. Push boundaries. Ponder. Try. Stretch yourself. Keep an open mind. It goes hand and hand with creativity. How can you continually integrate new and exciting aspects of our world into your efforts to achieve your goals for both life and career? People who move through their lives like this earn, learn and know more. Curiosity and the ability to tangibly assimilate learning and insight into your life and circumstances in innovative ways is more impactful to your ultimate success than book smarts. Curiosity is crucial for learning, experimenting and improving yourself. Curious people are very often the most knowledgeable…and successful. 
  28. Debt – Make eliminating personal debt a priority. There is no real financial freedom when you are in debt. Cash is king/queen. Relative to business debt, be very shrewd and consult your wisest advisors before taking it on to grow your business.
  29. Decisiveness – The ability to be decisive when needed – to swiftly make a decision, seize an opportunity and act on it — is a key trait of the truly rich and successful. Unnecessary stalling and “thinking” for long periods is not a trait of the truly successful.
  30. Define Rich – Define “rich” for yourself. It’s a subjective word that you must define for yourself. Envision the life you want. How are you measuring it? What is involved? Figure it out to the last detail.
  31. Determined – The truly rich knew what they wanted and were determined to get it. They weren’t waiting for luck or a white knight. They went over, around, or through all obstacles. What are you really pursuing, and how determined are you to get there?  
  32. Develop Yourself – Never stop developing yourself – personally, professionally, financially, socially, managerially, whatever. Not only does it increase your value to others, it vastly improves your chances of achieving your goals. 
  33. Be Willing To Be Different – Forget what everyone else is saying and doing – unless they are exactly where you want to be. Always follow your own drumbeat. If you want to be average or mediocre, do what everybody else is doing.  To be truly rich and exceptional, judge yourself by your own standards of purposefulness and fulfillment.
  34. Discipline and Self-Control - Whether discussing work ethic, finances, or health, discipline is a trait of the truly rich and successful. Work hard, persevere, don’t slack off, save money, dot I’s and cross T’s.  Dig deep; don’t merely skim the surface of your life. Apply yourself to reach your highest potential. Use self-control to avoid spending money on a whim.
  35. Avoid Distractions – Don’t run in circles chasing endless and senseless distractions. A sure way to short-circuit your success is to allow life’s inevitable interruptions to take you off task. Keep your focus squarely on that which moves you forward that day. Many successful people create a checklist of the days’ most pressing activities, and don’t end the day until they get through the list. Seek to create home and work environments that are conducive to productivity. Simplify and organize your life.  Figure out what means a lot to you and say no to distraction as much as possible.
  36. Do What You Love – Spend time doing what you love to be truly rich.  The goal is to not feel as though you are “working,” but to be purposeful and fulfilled, and then paid well for your time.
  37. Don’t Quit Your Day Job – If the goals you are pursuing are separate from your day job, keep that day job – it’s your safety net – until your passion pays off. This doesn’t mean that you are not committed to your dream; it is rather a prudent financial decision. Quit your day job only when your sales take off and the day job is preventing you from maximizing the potential of the next phase.
  38. Dream – Dream big, and hold on to your dream with all of your might. Don’t allow any negative self-talk from yourself or negative, pessimistic commentary from others to taint it or dissuade you.
  39. Drive – You have to possess the energy, the will, the motivation, the drive to keep yourself moving forward every single day.
  40. Education – Applying all of yourself to be a high-achiever in school and to get the best high school and college education possible is one of the most important things you can do to secure your future.
  41. Emotional Health and Low Emotion – Emotional health and balance are gifts to be thankful for every day. Imbalanced, overflowing emotions can get you in trouble. Control your emotions. Think logically.  
  42. Entrepreneurial Spirit – Over 30% of the millionaires in the U.S. are entrepreneurs which means they are disciplined, follow their passion, take calculated risks, and continually learn and improve in their niche. Many, if not most, started their businesses part-time. High risk = High reward. Less than 1% of millionaires achieved their wealth through “other” means. It is imperative that you start out with a strong advisory board since many businesses commonly fail in their first year.
  43. Excellence – You must have the training, discipline, and commitment to be the best at what you do. You can’t skim the surface of your life and tasks and be truly excellent.
  44. Experiment and Expand Your Horizons – Learn, stretch, grow. Proactively try new approaches and tactics every day. Always be open to meeting new people. You will never regret having a life rule that every day you try one new thing. It will keep you stimulated, creative, vibrant and engaged. Never stop experimenting.
  45. High Expectations – Consistently maintain the highest expectations for yourself and your life. You must have the belief and mindset that without a doubt you will achieve your goals –that your hard work will pay off. Have high expectations of the people who surround you, as well.
  46. Watch Small Expenses – Know how much money you have and don’t fritter it away. Watch the tiniest of expenditures. Remaining vigilant about every expense is how you save money and turn profits.
  47. Failure Connoisseurs – You must learn from left turns, failures and disappointment. Find the lesson in everything. Once you find and learn the lesson, you can adjust your path and move forward knowing that you won’t make the same mistake twice. Failure either defeats you or expands you. Your choice. Having to readjust and face failure, change and left turns is part and parcel of the process of trying to build a business and accumulate wealth. Don’t fear failure – use it to help you examine a situation and make you better. You will have unlimited opportunities to try and try again.
  48. Fidelity – You will have a richer life when you live with integrity and cherish the bonds you have with family. The truly rich have earned and return the respect of their spouses, children, family, friends, etc.  
  49. Financial Literacy – Math matters for all of us – male and female – whether we are just managing our personal finances, doing our job, or running a business. You must have the cognitive skills to calculate and understand the implications. Balancing a checkbook, calculating interest rates, saving for retirement – work hard on developing solid, basic mathematical skills.
  50. Proactively Address Flaws and Be Self-Aware – Self-awareness is one of the most lacking traits in humans.  Successful people are self-aware and constantly try to develop themselves and make changes and improvements to encourage optimal performance and increase their odds of success.  
  51. Freedom – The truly rich have the privilege of being relatively free from financial worry and pressure. With this kind of financial freedom, your whole life is better, more creative, less stifled. The truly rich have life circumstances and professions that allow them to explore their passions and express themselves to the fullest extent. They do not feel “trapped” in a dead-end job.  We feel free when we live authentically, find our life’s purpose, and work/serve in a way that express the best of ourselves.
  52. Get a Job – Educate yourself on which careers align with your innate gifts…and also pay well. 
  53. Give – The more value you give, the more value you will receive. Try to create win-win circumstances for people around you in order for people to want to work with you.  Share your goodness. Give to others more than they expect and more than they give to you.  Don’t use people.  Don’t try to fool people.  Serve. Support. Contribute.
  54. Goal Orientation - Clearly define lofty and meaningful, yet achievable goals that align with your life’s purpose. Know precisely where you want to go. Know what you want, then figure out a plan to get you there. The process of defining your goals makes you more internally driven and helps you to persevere.  Your actions should thoughtfully, consistently move you forward every day toward your goals. Set small goals within your broader objective so that you are consistently achieving and remaining motivated.  Don’t know what your goals should be? For now, think about who you want to be, where you want to go, what you want. Your goals may change and evolve – that’s fine; that’s life. Just don’t allow yourself to be without goals. The earlier your goal-orientation in life, the better.
  55. Gratitude - Even in tough times – especially in tough times – take time every day to give thanks and feel positivity and optimism for all that is right in your life. The energy of gratitude is pure and powerful, and will work in so many ways to bring more goodness into your life.  Gratitude affects your choices and actions and keeps you in a more positive mindset.
  56. Good Health – Good health must be the baseline for the creation of your richest life. When you wake in the morning, you should feel energized, motivated, and optimistic. Exercise, eat healthfully, get enough sleep, and avoid addictions to anything unhealthty.  The better you feel, the harder and longer you can work toward your goals.
  57. Honesty and Integrity – To have a rich life, you must be honest, ethical and principled.
  58. Humor – A sense of humor will help you every day in every way.
  59. Have an Identity – And a direction. Know who you really are, what you stand for, what your purpose is, and where your life is going. You have a unique identity – leverage your special gifts for all you can. Remain true to your best, most authentic self. Never allow others to define you for you.
  60. Informed – Read a news feed, stay informed on a regular/daily basis. Don’t be one of those buffoons on Jay Leno who don’t know the basic facts of our world. There’s nothing cute or cool about that, and it will never lead you to a truly rich life. You can’t have a leg up on anyone if you are uninformed. And you sure won’t have any credibility.
  61. Instincts and Intuition – Listen to your instincts and intuition. Follow your gut and hunch.  Live a life in which you filter out the needless, distracting static so that you have the awareness to see opportunity when it appears. No one can do this for you – and this is how you will create your best life.
  62. Well-Intentioned – Move through life with good intentions surrounded by good people. Don’t be short-sighted and focus merely on selfish gain; it will come back to bite you every time.   
  63. Invest in Yourself - Read. Gain knowledge. Acquire wisdom. Become educated. Listen. Learn. Develop yourself into becoming the person you have always envisioned yourself to be.
  64. Investments – Part of smart saving is investing.  Place your money in investments that that will increase in value over time. You want your money to work for you by putting it into investments that will increase in value over time, and that, ideally, will earn you supplementary income.
  65. Leadership – In the world of work, you must be a competent, strong, and inspiring leader to become successful.
  66. Learning – Self-educate. Continually learn. Work hard at being smart. Your brain and mind are truly your greatest assets because they shape your destiny. “Formal education will make you a living self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
  67. Leverage – The successful know their limitations and will utilize and leverage the strengths of others, where possible, to achieve goals. You can’t do everything yourself – know when to ask for (or hire) help.  
  68. Lifestyle – Don’t waste money and effort living a lifestyle that you cannot yet afford. People only do this when they are trying to impress others. You should always live a bit below our means. The truly rich know that accumulating stuff is not the priority; they don’t spend just spend money because they can. The truly rich save money, re-invest it use it wisely, and make charitable donations.  They invest wealth in order to secure more wealth.  They are not consumed with image. Rather they spend on things that increase their – and others – happiness
  69. Have a Life, a Real, Fulfilling Life – Don’t be all about your bank account. Don’t postpone attempting to live your best, most authentic life until you have money. Do what you love NOW.  As you become your best self, as you live your best life, you will do and achieve more. This is how you develop and rich mindset that will lead you to wealth.  
  70. Listen – Stop talking and start listening.  You don’t know it all.
  71. Love of Money – Wealth is more likely to come to you if you want it and if you respect money. If you are willing to take calculated risks, make sacrifices, put forth hard work and supreme effort to make money, you likely will be successful.
  72. Luck and Opportunism – A lot of people believe in luck. Some people it is merely preparation meeting the moment of opportunity. If you are in the right place at the right time, that is luck. Be ready and nimble to seize the opportunity/luck when it reveals itself.
  73. Mentors and Network – You must have a strong network of advisors whom you meet/speak with several times a month. Create relationships with top professionals in your field.  Surround yourself with the smartest and most effective people possible.  This is essential. Networking and developing relationships with a diverse group of people should always be a priority. Develop solid relationships so you can call on people when needed. Respect people – return their calls. Your network includes friends, classmates, teachers, colleagues, subordinates, superiors, vendors, customers, teammates, virtual friends, clubs, etc. Who you know, and the quality of these relationships is what matters.
  74. Motivation – Water seeks its own level. Align yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. People who can keep your spirits up and your eye on the prize.
  75. Take Nothing for Granted – Anything can change at any time – you can lose your job, lose your best customer, the stock market can crash, a natural disaster can take your home in an instant, your health can change, etc. Change is the only constant. Be nimble and have a contingency plan.
  76. Objectivity – Falling in love with an idea or approach, instead of following the value it provides, has killed many a business.
  77. Openness and Receptivity – Stay open, stay relevant. Be receptive to advice and guidance.
  78. Optimism – Many well-known money experts believe that optimism attracts wealth by positively affecting your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological health. Your best life will always be an optimistic life because whether you expect to succeed or expect to fail, you will be right.
  79. Be Organized – Pay bills on time. Know how much money you have, and where it’s going. Organize your office and desk to get more done in less time. Know where everything is. Plan. Meet deadlines. You have to know where you are going to get there.  
  80. Passion – Successful people are passionate about what they do. Their passion provides life fuel – courage, motivation, excellence, and persistence. Passion is the fuel in your engine. If you don’t have a driving force inside you, you haven’t found your passion. Living your passion brings fulfillment and contentment. If you want to live a rich life of the deepest joy – deep-soul joy – you have to first create a life around your passions. Enough riches to make your heart sing every day will then follow.
  81. Passive Income Sources – Always be on the look-out for ways that you can build income streams that come from passive sources. You want to eventually be able to make money without a physical presence. Have your ideas work for you.  
  82. Patience – Patience can help you in a multitude of ways. It can prevent you from making impulse purchases on credit.  It allows you to sleep on it to determine what you really want and need.  It enables you to take the time to shop around for a better price. It allows you to make more rational decisions. It also enables you to continue working toward a goal without giving up. When you feel money burning a hole in your pocket, force yourself to wait a month before spending. Consider the pro’s and con’s. Often t an immediate desire looks less compelling once you pause and consider it. Delaying gratification when it comes to large purchases is often the smart thing to do.
  83. Perspective – You have to be able to maintain your wits, balance, humor and perspective, even in times of crisis. The successful rise to the occasion in tough times – they ask the right questions and are decisive.
  84. Persistence – Quitters never prosper. Don’t give up, and never quit. Persistence and tenacity reduces your chances of failure. There will always be left-turns, detours, and obstacles. You can’t allow defeat to beat you. Remove stumbling blocks from your path. Success doesn’t happen overnight.  Experiment until you find something that works. Achieving success requires on-going effort, and as such requires persistence. Really internalize in your mind and heart that it is normal –and required – to give all of yourself over a long period of time to really make it big.
  85. Preparation – You can avoid losing money, time, and energy by preparing properly before undertaking anything. Preparation can go a long way toward ensuring your success.
  86. Present Moment – Seize the moment. Don’t put things off when you should take action. Live in the here and now; it’s the only moment that can be controlled.  Enjoy your life – don’t allow it to pass you by.
  87. Prioritize – Before spending money on a swanky lifestyle, prioritize and budget your money to take care of necessities. Buy insurance, save, and invest. Be financially disciplined. Meet your longer term needs before you spend money on wants. Don’t be a slave to wasteful priorities that prevent you from accumulating wealth. Allow your priorities to bring order and focus to your life. 
  88. Proactive, Not Reactive - Take preventative care of your life – health, financials, career, etc. What liabilities exist in your life? Avoid problems of any sort wherever possible.
  89. Protect Your Money – Have adequate liability insurance, and consult experts on how to protect your assets.
  90. Reflection – Look at your life and reflect on your choices and outcomes.  Learn from mistakes and grow from them. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t dwell in the past of the future – but reflect thoughtfully on past, present, future on a weekly if not daily basis. What has gone well in your life? What has gone wrong? What mistakes should you avoid?
  91. Reinvest Your Profits – Reinvest the profits you make from investments.
  92. Relationships and Human Connection – You need people in your inner circle to love and care for, and who love and care for you. Socialize with friends at least once a week. So much can be learned about who we are and what we want from the emotional exchange in your relationships.   Our lives are empty and boring without someone to share them with.  
  93. Resilient – Thick skin will serve you well in every aspect of your life. Be strong. When you get knocked down, get up again.
  94. Take Responsibility and Be Self-Reliant – Don’t blame, complain, or shirk responsibility. Intrinsically take initiative for your life and accept responsibility for your actions. The truly rich understand that they have a great responsibility for the people in their lives. Whether things go well, or go wrong, you must take responsibility. You must be a person of integrity to be the best of yourself.
  95. Results Orientation – Be specific about the results you want.
  96. Take Calculated Risks – You have to be willing to take calculated risks with your financial investments, your career, your business, your life from time to time. Weight all of your options and taking calculated risks when appropriate. If you fear and avoid risk altogether, you’ll likely end up living too safe a life to achieve greatness. To be truly rich, you will likely need to make moves that others don’t have the courage to make. It can be helpful to ask yourself “and then what?” in order to begin to consider possible consequences. Consider taking a risk when you see strong potential for a return. The truly rich tend to be risk takers by nature. You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
  97. Sacrifice – Any sacrifices you make shouldn’t adversely affect your relationships, family, well-being, or pursuit of your goals and dreams. The truly rich do not create this kind of unhappiness in their lives just to have money in the bank.
  98. Financial Cautiousness and Safety – Stay as debt free as possible.
  99. Salesmanship – The ability to sell yourself and your ideas is important if you want people to recognize your talents. However, the ability to sell is sorely lacking in a lot of people who have great ideas that never get off the ground.
  100. Satisfaction - Know yourself well enough to know what will really bring satisfaction to your life. The accumulation of “stuff” that you’ve always wanted really won’t feed your soul and bring lasting fulfillment. Going into debt for stuff is always a bad idea. When you know who you are and what you want you are much less likely to be a sucker for non-essential stuff.  Over spending on stuff happens when you are generally dissatisfied with yourself and your life.
  101. Saving and Security – The truly rich are more committed to saving money than the general public. Pay yourself first which means before you go blow money on little extravagances; put a set amount of money from each paycheck into the bank. This requires discipline. Accumulating wealth is a slow and steady commitment. With every dollar you save, you bring yourself closer to freedom – freedom to start a business, freedom to stay home with your kids, freedom to retire early, freedom to take vacations, freedom to cut back at work to raise your children, etc. Those who have had a long-term commitment to saving money also have far more security when the unexpected happens – job loss, illness, recession.
  102. Service – Think about how you can give back and be of service to others in your community. Using your innate skills and talents to serve others is one of the most impactful ways to live a truly rich life. Volunteering in your community can also assist you in making life-long connections.
  103. Define Success for Yourself – What does success mean to you? What does it look like? What does it feel like?  Measure your life success with meaningful benchmarks, such as how many of the people you care about actually care about you in return.
  104. Be Smart – Learn about money – budgeting, debt, credit, interest rates. In your spare time, read everything there is to read about investing and business. Spend time talking to and networking with people who know a lot about what you want to know about – business, investing, leadership, etc.
  105. Self-Improvement – The truly rich are always seeking feedback, self-improvement and self-development.
  106. Spell Out The Terms Before You Start A Job – Before you start a job or ink a deal, nail down all the specifics in advance — even with friends and relatives.
  107. Spend Wisely - Spend your money on things that really matter and hold significance to you – experiences, travel, family, friends, education/learning opportunities – rather than more “stuff.” Your spending habits will make or break you.
  108. Spiritual Awakening – An intrinsic belief that you were put on Earth to serve a purpose, and a faith that everything that occurs in your life is happening for a reason — a lesson you need to learn – in order to take your life to higher and higher levels makes your life’s journey richer and more meaningful. For some, joining a church and regularly attending/participating can be powerfully spirit-lifting, as well as a strong networking approach.
  109. Start Now - Don’t put off saving or beginning to do any of the things outlined in this article. Start now. The power of compound interest cannot be overstated.
  110. Stocks – Instead of wasting money on “stuff” and products, consider buying the company’s stock instead…if you really want to acquire wealth.  What’s going to make you wealthy – owning iphones, ipads, macs, etc? Or, owning Apple stock? No-brainer.
  111. Study and Emulate The Successful and Truly Rich – Identify the traits you admire in your heroes and role models. Also identify the traits you dislike. Write them all down into lists. Do everything in your power to develop the traits you like and reject the ones you don’t.
  112. Tax Savvy – The truly rich have a string understanding of how to pay less taxes, without bending any rules. Think minimization, not avoidance.  You must be efficient at dealing with taxes. Hiring a CPA to do your taxes is a good place to start. Don’t be afraid to pay your fair share of taxes, but never pay more than you have to.
  113. Team Players – The truly rich understand how to get the best from others and are true team players.  
  114. Thinking Big – Think outside the box. Set objectives and goals for that seem insurmountable and then get to work. The truly rich march to the beat of their own drum. Don’t be afraid to do things your own way. Be brilliant and unique.
  115. Time Management – Time is money. Time is your greatest asset. And you can’t buy time, so manage it closely. It is fleeting. Prioritize those things that will move you forward and help you succeed.
  116. Trends – The truly rich and successful observe trends to anticipate the future.  Stay aware and present to observe nuances that will lead to future change.
  117. Values – What are your core values? Your goals and actions must be aligned with you’re a baseline of strong core values.
  118. Vision – Focus your ambition by developing a clear vision of your life and future. Based on this vision, set your goals. Visualize what you want to accomplish. What specific results do you hope to achieve? A strong vision can help you to sede and seize opportunities when they present themselves.
  119. Walk Away – Sometimes you just need to admit that something isn’t going to work and you need to know when to walk away and cut your losses. Listen to your advisors. Walk away from a loss, rather than continue to dump money into a losing venture to keep it afloat.  
  120. Work Hard – Get up early, go to bed late. Work hard and smart. Be efficient. Give all of yourself when you’re working—your brainpower, creativity, commitment, passion, diligence, results-orientation.
  121. Don’t Worry – Where you are going matters more than where you are today. If you work hard toward your goals and vision and save as much money as you can, you will eventually find yourself in a place of greater freedom and fulfillment. With diligence and responsibility, financial prosperity is there for the taking.

Conclusion

You may not possess all of the above traits today, but being aware of these important actions and characteristics can help you make changes so that you nurture the ones that you have and work on developing the others. What you want is a “truly rich” life – to reach your final days and be able to say, I really had a fulfilling, secure life with lots of love, laughter, family and friends. I had the freedom to follow my dreams, and I acheived my main goals. I was healthy and happy, and I loved and respected myself. My children are healthy, purposeful, and joy-filled individuals. I made a lasting contribution, and leave behind a significant legacy that will live on long after I am gone. While we will all prioritize these things in our own ways, these are the baseline tenets of a truly rich life. Money can’t buy happiness, but fulfillment, well-being, joy, and financial security provide you with the soaring spirit and freedom to experience more of life.

“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter.  And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people’s lives.” ~Oprah

Kristi LeBlanc is the Executive Vice President and Managing Director, North American Consumer Practice, with DHR International, a top-5, retained, global executive search firm. She has spent 15 years as a retained executive recruiter with the globe’s largest, most prestigious executive search firms, including Korn/Ferry International where she was a Senior Partner.  She is also the author of  the award-winning, “Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy,” and the President of Living with Certainty™ LLC: Empowering Women, Girls, and Disenfranchised Youth.  To learn more visit http://www.Livingwithcertainty.com, http://www.dhrinternational.com/consultants/consultantsviewbio.aspx?consultantid=329, or call Kristi at 303-997-9328.

Purchase copies of the three-time award-winning book, Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy, at Amazon.