6 Subtle Attitude Changes That Can Turn Into Serious Wealth

Is money really a mindset?

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Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

Lately, I’ve been dealing with a serious shift in my entourage.

For one thing, a lot of my friends from the streets and the underground rave scene have been dying; I just found out one of them has liver failure. He’s not much older than me.


I recently realized that I can’t handle the grief anymore. I started to reach out to others. As a result, I’ve started to click with people who I wouldn’t have even spoken to before.

The biggest difference between these two groups is the drug use. The second biggest difference is how much money they make — and the attitudes towards life they have.


The more I talk to people who are self-made millionaires, the more I realize that there are a lot of key differences in attitude. It’s not just being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. These major mantras are the ones I keep hearing from those around me.

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Here are 6 subtle attitude changes that can turn into serious wealth:

1. "I put myself first."

In order to get wealthy, there’s no way to light yourself on fire to keep others warm and still remain okay.

There’s a reason why airline hostesses tell you to put an oxygen mask on yourself before tending to others. You can’t help others until you stabilize yourself. Learning to drop that guilt is pivotal in gaining more wealth.


Self-made millionaires are often the first people I see to cut others off and make hard decisions if need be. On the shadow side of things, they’re also usually the first people I see to fleece others — not a great quality  though not all do that.

Note: Those who do fleece others often end up with karma hitting them hard, even if they get away with it. Eventually, everyone knows what they did and people fight back. People fighting back is becoming more and more common as wealth inequality worsens.

2. "Our vibes don’t match. Have a good one."

Bad as this sounds, people with money issues are often more likely to forgive crappy behavior from other people. Self-made millionaires I’ve met tend to end relationships with people and most won’t even let you know why.

From what I’ve seen, the hyper-wealthy tend to drop people who do the following:

  • Noticeably use them for money. Nothing is a bigger turn-off to the wealthy than a leech. This is doubly true if they have reason to believe the person is lying about their situation.
  • Make cutting or rude remarks about them, their wealth, or their looks. I notice that most of them will drop catty people like a hot potato, especially when it comes to dating. If that person apologizes, they typically say it’s forgiven but that they’re not interested in pursuing anything further.
  • Acting entitled or sketchy. Yes. This is something that rich people are finely attuned to watch out for.
  • Being a Prima Belladonna. Have you ever met someone who had to be the center of attention 24/7? From what I’ve personally noticed, the wealthy tend to see social skills as a major sign of maturity and future success. This behavior pushes them away.
  • Acting negative. Nothing kills dreams and goals like a Debbie Downer who tells people that they’ll never make it. This goes hand-in-hand with tearing down others and the dreaded "crabs in a bucket" mentality so many people have.
  • Complain about life, then do nothing to fix it. Talk about draining, right? Self-made people often have no tolerance for this behavior.
  • Laziness. Also a major sin in these circles.

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3. "Okay, I’m going to try again…this time, with new knowledge."

We all hear how self-made people tend to be quitting-averse, but that’s really only half of the equation.

Yes, they tend to be way more tenacious than others — especially when they have a life goal in mind. However, people often don’t realize how much time rich people take to really learn from their mistakes, ask for advice, and read up on how others managed to make it.

They tend to look at a failed project and ask themselves what went wrong. Did they trust the wrong person? Did they hire badly? Did they try to go into a field without adequate funding?


They will pick out what happened that made things go bad, then pick up the pieces and figure out how to avoid that trap the next time. They’re mavericks at switching strategies, pivoting, and finding loopholes others wouldn’t bother.

4. "Screw jobs."

Repeat after me: Your boss will never pay you what you’re worth. Re-read that, please. My general rule of thumb is that a job is not going to be your golden ticket to millionaire status.

Only a small handful, probably less than 5 percent, become a millionaire by working for someone else. In this economy, you would need to have a salary of over $200,000 to make that possible in many parts of the country.

Your employer doesn’t love you. Your employment is not as stable as you think it is. Your employer most likely will not want to pay you $200,000 a year.


So, what do you do?

Simple: Make your own business. You cannot get fired from your own business. As long as you market yourself well, there shouldn’t be a reason why you don’t add a new income stream.

5. "I’m not afraid. I have a strategy."

You know, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad as a kid. One thing that struck me about this book is that they really nailed home something that stood out to me about the wealthy.

Most people I know who are middle class are risk-averse. They won’t move jobs out of worry for their stability. They will not encourage their kid to venture on their own, nor will they invest in a kid’s business. Rather, they tell kids to "go to college and get a job."


How do I know this? I grew up in an upper-middle-class household surrounded by wealthy people. The contrast in parenting was very stark, to say the least.

It’s hard to ignore how often my own dreams were pushed aside for the constant, unceasing drone of "get a degree" while my rich friends were given the chance to run their own business with daddy’s money and told to invest.

You see, wealth doesn’t happen when you play the game everyone else is playing. That’s how middle and lower-middle incomes are made. If you want to get wealthy, you need to take risks — but they have to be strategic risks.

A stupid risk is dropping out of college to smoke pot and work at McDonald’s. A stupid risk is snapping up cryptocurrency that you have no idea about with money you can’t afford to lose and with no idea how to make money off it.


A smart risk is investing in the stock market, using an inheritance to invest in a REIT, or investing in a marketing campaign for your freelancing work. See the difference? It’s about research and knowing how to minimize risks.

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6. "I don’t particularly care what you think."

Do you know what my biggest regret in life is? My biggest regret was letting people guilt me into putting their opinions of me ahead of my own needs for as long as I did. I’m a people-pleaser by default, and it’s a huge issue.

The thing is, these people never had a moment where they actually approved of me unless it fit their needs. Sure, I was starving on the street because minimum wage didn’t pay, but I’m the bad guy. How dare I eat and have a roof over my head?


Someone else's inconvenience is not your emergency. You can’t pay the bills with conformity or "brownie points" from people who insist that you’re wrong for looking out for yourself.

When I was growing up, a lot of the people around me told me that I needed to get a Doctorate and be a professor or else I was a complete failure unworthy of love. And their main target of derision? A car dealership owner who was my friend’s dad.

Here’s the funny thing I noticed: most of the professors and members of "prestigious" jobs were flat broke and paying through the nose when it came to student loans. 

The car dealership guy had a 10-room home and gifted my friend a speedboat for her 14th birthday. I still remember that boat. Oh, and she went to a private school that cost $40,000 a year. He paid cash.


If you have a lucrative business, you shouldn’t care if people snark at you for being blue-collar/uneducated/whatever. They are not paying your bills and in most cases, they do not have your best interest in mind.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have an emergency fund and no guilt-trippers around me than a bunch of applause from people who are okay with seeing me suffer to pay the bills. 

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.