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Think like a billionaire

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 5, 2017


To become a huge success, you might decide to blaze your own trail. But hacking through the jungle of life can leave you bruised and battered by the time you finally reach your destination.

Walking in the footsteps of those who succeeded before you makes for an easier journey all around. The world’s most successful people — with some of the largest net-worth totals, as calculated by Forbes — credit some key traits for getting them to where they are today. Absorb their lessons, and maybe you’ll become a billionaire.

OPRAH WINFREY: GRATITUDE

The former queen of daytime television doesn’t let her $2.9 billion net worth go to her head. Despite her abundant success, Winfrey remains grateful. In fact, Winfrey has kept a gratitude journal for many years.

"I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration," she wrote in the November 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. "You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots."

WARREN BUFFETT: PATIENCE

Warren Buffett — the second-richest man in America behind Bill Gates — built his $73.6 billion net worth by simply taking his time. Not a fan of trendy stocks or knee-jerk reactions to market fluctuations, Buffett has a "set it and forget it" investing philosophy that requires patience and a determination to avoid falling for investing myths.

On the "Dan Patrick Show," Buffett said trying to get rich quick is one of the biggest money mistakes people can make. "It’s pretty easy to get well-to-do slowly," he said. "But it’s not easy to get rich quick."

BILL GATES: HUMILITY

The richest man in the world is among the most charitable — and humble. Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have devoted their money and time to improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. But despite his generous donations, Gates recognizes that others are making contributions that he says are more meaningful.

"I’m not giving up food, or vacation, or a trip to the movies" to give charitably, Gates said in a video interview for Reddit. "I essentially sacrifice nothing that I want, and there are people who are out in the field and they’re giving more … they’re the biggest philanthropists."

LARRY ELLISON: INQUISITIVENESS

Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle Corp., says his inquisitive nature is responsible for his success.

"The most important aspect of my personality, as far as determining my success goes, has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts and questioning authority," Ellison once said. "While that can be very painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it’s enormously useful in life."

JEFF BEZOS: COURAGE

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said his willingness to fail makes him a successful innovator, which is a brave admission from the founder of one of the world’s most forward-thinking companies. If you want to succeed, you must be willing to fail.

"Without a willingness to fail, you cannot innovate because most innovations won’t work," said Bezos, according to GeekWire. He also added, "But for the big innovation, you have to be willing to fail. Every startup company faces that."