The most beautiful girl in the world was laughing at me.

The year was 1986, and I was in 4th grade. Jodi was the new girl in school.

Although I was a bit of a class clown (and a pretty good one if I say so myself), that day, Jodi wasn’t laughing at my antics.

She was laughing at my pants.

Growing up on the farm, my family didn’t have a lot of money. My mom made less than $22,000 a year and my dad drank away his money almost as fast as he earned it.

Times were tough and money was tight. My mom did her best to stretch the budget…and that included sewing ugly patches over the knees of my worn-out pants.

Jodi’s family, on the other hand, was rich–or at least it seemed that way to me.

She always had the coolest new clothes, the fanciest school gear, and always had plenty of spending money on our class trips.

And there she was…laughing at my patchy pants.

I’ll never forget that sinking embarrassment I felt when she giggled…or the promise I made to myself that day:

One day, I’m going to get rich…so rich that I never have to feel like this again.

That promise drove me to get straight A’s in high school, to earn a 5-figure scholarship to University, get my Master’s Degree, and start several businesses.

While my feeling of embarrassment coupled with ambition helped me hit 7-figures faster than I ever thought possible…

…There was another “trick” that accelerated my journey.

One that is available to all of us.

The habit of living like a millionaire.

When you intentionally seek out 7-figure experiences and instill 7-figure habits into your personal operating system, it will open up your mind to the opportunities around you and help you attract abundance into your life.

Now, I know you might be skeptical and this might sound like the introduction to a book like The Secret.

But I encourage you to keep an open mind and test out a few of these tactics.

By coupling hard work and persistence with the following techniques, it will bring money into your life faster than you ever believed possible.

1) Invest Heavily in Yourself (Even If You Have to Put it On Credit) 

The young man stood at the microphone in front of Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. Thousands of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders anxiously awaited his question for the gurus. 

“Mr. Buffett,” he stammered. “I just graduated from college, and my grandmother left me a little inheritance money. Where should I put it?”

Without a moment of hesitation, Buffet responded…“The best investment you can make, is in yourself.” 

If you polled the richest people in the world and asked them to choose between stocks, bonds, real estate, or gold, the only thing you’d get is a heated debate. 

But all of them would likely agree with Uncle Warren.

The world’s most successful people invest in themselves.

For example, Tony Robbins claims that his best investment of all time was the $35 he spent to attend a 3-hour seminar with Jim Rohn. 

And to get your first taste of the 7-figure lifestyle, you must do the same. 

“When you only have a little bit of money, the only big play that you can make is to invest in your knowledge, skills, and connections,” Grant Cardone, the real estate investor said. “When I was 25, I spent my last $3,000 on an audio program and I can honestly say the investment and commitment to go ‘all in’ are the reasons for my success today.” 

So before you start stashing away money in the stock market or buying real estate or mining for Bitcoin… invest in yourself. 

Buy books and online courses, drive across the country to attend seminars and mastermind meetings, hire a coach who has already achieved the results you want and can show you the way. 

When I made my first 6-figures online, I told my friends that I was spending all of my money that year to get a “Ph.D in sales and marketing.” I went to Dan Kennedy events, Yanik Silver’s Underground Marketing seminar, and joined my first Mastermind. 

Yes that prevented me from buying Ferrari’s like my friends, but this investment continues to pay dividends today… while those fast cars have long since depreciated in value.

Identify the people and resources who will help you get to the next level and then do whatever it takes to get them. This is the fastest way to get to 7-figures and finally live the life you’ve always wanted. 

When you invest in yourself, you cannot lose.   

2) Donate An Uncomfortable Amount of Money 

“The hole you give through is the hole you receive through.” – Dr. Edward Kramer

One of the most common phrases I hear at my workshops and live events in this, “Someday I’m going to start a charity or foundation for XYZ”.

And my response is always the same…”Why wait?” 

Why not find a similar charity that exists now and donate $50, $250, or even $1,000.

In the past 5 years I’ve spent over $100,000 during our Toys for Tots Drives that we do every December in Denver.

But I’ll be brutally honest… Scarcity-Minded Craig doesn’t want to pull out the credit card at Walmart to pay for all those toys…  

He’s scared of “wasting” so much money. He’s worried about that donating so much will mean there is less for him. 

But Rational-Minded Craig knows that making that donation won’t hurt me one bit… I will always find a way to make more money. And my yearly donations have never stopped me from doing the things I want: like traveling the world, flying first class, and eating really really expensive steak dinners with friends.

Instead, it has made me more generous and compassionate and opened my eyes to the abundance that is all around us. 

So my challenge to you is simple… 

This week, I want you to donate an uncomfortable amount of money to a cause that means something to you and your family. 

Whether you send funds to help save the rainforest, dig wells in Africa, build schools in Guatemala or simply buy a valuable gift (like food and clothing) for a local family in need…take the focus off of yourself and give money to those less fortunate. 

It might seem scary, but giving never hurts, it only helps. 

3. Upgrade Your Work Environment

Listen… 

I’m all for minimalism and living within your means. And I don’t encourage you to spend a bunch of money (and I certainly don’t want you to go into debt) for a flashy new toy or gadget that you don’t need. 

But you owe it to yourself to make sure that your environment has everything you need to do great work and be as productive as possible. 

If you’re taking important calls on a barely-functioning iPhone 5, or typing out your email campaigns on a laptop that’s older than your teenager, or working from a chair that makes your back ache…UPGRADE. 

Get the absolute best option available–even especially if the price makes you cringe. 

Instead of thinking about how much these upgrades will cost you, think about how much they will save you. 

How many extra hours would you win back each week if you weren’t wasting 30-60 minutes a day yelling at your computer or phone to “load faster!” 

How much happier and more productive would you be if your office was comfortably furnished with everything that you needed to perform at your best? 

How much time and energy would you save if you went to bed every night without chronic pain from your antique swivel chair? 

Millionaires don’t worry about the price of investments like these…they focus on the value. 

A few years (heck, even a few months) from now, you won’t remember spending $2,000 or even $5,000 to upgrade and optimize your home or office with top of the line furniture, electronics, and other gear. 

But you will be more successful for years to come because you created an environment that fosters productivity and happiness. 

4. Treat Yourself Like a Professional Athlete

As an entrepreneur, you must understand something. 

Your business will only perform as well as you do. 

If you try to cut corners with your personal performance and productivity to save a few dollars, you will end up paying for it in the long run. 

Do you think Lebron James eats peanut butter on Wonder bread? Do you think he worries about spending $100 on a sports massage after a hard off-season workout? 

Of course not! 

He knows that these investments are mandatory for him to continue achieving and performing at such high levels. 

And to sustain peak performance and high levels of success, you must do the same and treat yourself like an elite athlete. 

Buy the grass fed meat and organic produce. Invest in any supplement that you want (as long as it actually works!). Schedule that massage. Go jump in a float tank. Treat yourself to a spa day. 

You are a high-performance machine and your mind and body deserve to be treated as such. 

Remember: Garbage In. Garbage Out. … OR … Premium In. Premium Out.  Your choice.

5. Travel First Class

I cannot afford to fly economy when I am going to a coaching meeting or to give a speech.

Read that again. 

I cannot and will not risk my performance to save a few bucks. 

In my younger and more frugal years (read: my penny-pinching days), I would waste hundreds of hours every year crammed into an economy class seat…unable to work on my laptop, neglected by the flight attendants, and stuck with a tiny glass of water and bag of peanuts for a 3-hour flight. 

I would arrive at my destinations dehydrated, cranky, and requiring a long nap at the hotel just to be functional. 

This decision indirectly cost me thousands of dollars and god knows how many hours…and for what? 

Sure I saved a few hundred dollars on airfare, but I lost more than that in time and exhaustion. 

Today, I only fly first class. Yes, it costs more money. But I’m happier, more productive, and more energized because of this decision. 

In your life, you need to stop stepping over dollars to save dimes. Travel first class to all work events. 

Or, if you don’t fly very often but you have a daily work commute, hire an Uber so that you can max out your commute and put those hours to good use. 

I promise, these decisions will make you more money in the long run. 

6. Upgrade Your Wardrobe 

Life is about more than fancy clothes… 

I (quite literally) own two pairs of jeans, six shirts, three hoodies, and two custom suits. And every time I buy a new article of clothing, I donate one an old one. 

I’m the antithesis of a fashionista and if it were up to me, I’d wear a white t-shirt and bootcut jeans every single day. 

But I know, as the old saying goes, “The clothes make the man (or woman).” 

Despite my apathetic attitude towards fashion, I understand the power of appearances and first impressions. Which is why I wear a $3,000 custom suit to all of my meetings, masterminds, and other events. 

Like it or not, people’s first impressions of you, and their judgment about your looks, still matter… and in some cases determine your ability to influence them to buy. 

And you must look the part that people expect you to play. 

For example, at one of my recent events, one of our attendees thought that one of our guest speakers was a “crackhead” who had wandered into the room looking for free food. 

Ironically, the speaker was probably the wealthiest person in the room (which is why they can get away with a disheveled appearance!). But yes, he dresses a little “off” and some people dismissed his message because of their instinct to judge a book by its cover. 

Judging others–especially by their appearance– might not be “politically correct” these days…but it’s something we all do. It’s a part of human nature and this politically incorrect “quirk” helped our ancestors survive. 

Instead of complaining about how unfair this is…accept it. Invest in your appearance and do what you need to do to look the part. 

7. Move Out

If you have a roommate…move out. 

If your apartment is loud, lacks air conditioning, and doesn’t have in-house laundry…move out. 

If your neighbors are loud and they keep you awake every night with their nonstop partying…move out. 

Stop stepping over dollars to pick up dimes and upgrade your living situation. 

You are wasting countless hours and dollars because of the negative energy leaks caused by these annoyances. Your home is an investment in yourself. It’s your place to live, laugh, and learn. It’s a sanctuary from the madness of the outside world and should be treated as such. 

Even if you don’t have the income to move into one of the “rich” neighborhoods or live in a luxury highrise like I do, you can still get creative and find ways to upgrade your accommodations. 

Move to a smaller house or apartment that is closer to your office and equipped with all of the amenities you need. 

Cut unnecessary expenses and reinvest those $300-$500 into a better home. 

Or… 

At least spend some money to upgrade the appliances and furniture in your current place to make it more inviting and relaxing. 

I promise, it’s na investment you won’t regret. 

8. Never Hire a Friend

Remember that time your cousin offered to design your website… or your neighbor said he would do your taxes? 

It all sounded good, and yes, they did start, but then one day… they vanished.

That half-done website has been sitting there for months, and your cousin has ghosted on all your text messages. And you ended up scrambling and staying up till 4 in the morning on April 14th so you could file with Uncle Sam.

Stop this madness. Stop trying to save a few bucks. Be a grown up and hire the professionals. 

If you ignore this advice and ask a buddy to do you a favor, you’ll always end up paying more to undo the damage compared to hiring a pro in the first place.  

9. Enjoy a Monthly “Million Dollar” Experience

If your business caters to the affluent, then I have some mandatory “homework” for you. 

And if it doesn’t? Well, consider this “mental training” to help you develop your rich mindset and strengthen your drive to make your first 7-figures. 

To understand what affluent customers expect and to know what it’s like to eat well, travel well, and live well…you must experience it firsthand. 

If you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t hire a bodybuilder. You’d hire someone that has run 26.2 miles a few times. 

Likewise, people who sell affluent experiences must have experience being affluent. 

To do this, I want you to take on a simple challenge. 

Once a month, I want you to schedule a “rich experience” that will allow you to get a taste of the 7-figure lifestyle firsthand. 

Spend $300 on dinner for two with your significant other… stay in a suite at the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton, rent a Porsche or Ferrari for half-a-day, buy crazy expensive VIP tickets to see a band that you’ve always loved. 

By experiencing the rich life firsthand, you will 1) Realize that amazing experiences rarely cost as much as you think and 2) Raise your personal standards and motivate yourself to do whatever it takes to make the “rich life” your default setting. 

You can try out “how the other half lives” for pennies on the dollar and it’s a powerful experience…one that a good accountant might even be able to help you write off (this is NOT tax or legal advice).  

10. Do a Walkthrough of a 7-Figure Home

This is a fun, easy, and free exercise that will give you a taste of the 7-figure lifestyle and help you upgrade your mindset about money and luxury. 

Take an afternoon to walk through a wealthy neighborhood. Go through a 7-figure (or 8-figure!) open house. Imagine yourself living there, working there, entertaining there, loving life there. 

My friend Kent Clothier did this years ago in California… he came to a house and said, “One day I’ll live here in this mansion on the cliff overlooking the ocean in La Jolla.” 

Three years later… he did. Today he lives there, loves it there, and has his dream life…and there’s no reason you can’t have your dream home someday soon too.

Conclusion 

None of these actions will leave you broke. But they will leave you better, wiser, and more understanding of how to live a rich life – even without a lot of money. 

You’ll see what is worth chasing – and what’s not. You’ll see what affluent customers expect – and you’ll know how to deliver it. And you’ll realize a lot about what matters – and what doesn’t.

I can’t wait to hear what you do from this list… keep me posted on your multi-million dollar lifestyle experiences and what you learn from each in the comments below!

Want to achieve your 12-month goals in the next 12 weeks?

Then click here to get access to my 90-dayreality maker blueprint. The same tool I give to my $25k/day 1-on-1 coaching clients (a tool that has made many of those clients millionaires).

I’ll walk you through step by step exactly how to reverse engineer your biggest goals and achieve them in 90-days or less.

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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