The Happiest Millionaires Share Their Secrets To Success
As the expression goes, ‘more money, more problems,’ right? Perhaps not for everyone, it seems. Certain super-successful millionaires and billionaires have managed to find a balance between wealth and joy, and their stories provide insight on how to be successful without compromising your well-being.
If you’re interested in picking up some tips from people who’re living as well as can be expected in the 21st century, including millionaire music composers, risk-taking venture capitalists, and more, then you’ll want to stop what you’re doing and pay close attention. You’ll learn how they’ve thrived in their industries, while maintaining an abundance of personal health and happiness.
Best-selling author, philanthropist, and eight-time nominee for the Noble Peace Prize, Chade-Meng Tan began as an engineer for Google. His enchanting personality became recognized by his workplace as his nickname “Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny).” The Dalai Lama and numerous US presidents endorse his books and practices as profound guidance to happiness. His advice for anyone is to find their inner peace, increase their emotional resilience, and develop habits of wishing success for others.
Life-hack guru, angel investor, and lifestyle hacktivist Tim Ferris interviews and dissects the most successful people in every industry to discover how they tick. His methods include how to break away from the hum-drum workplace and create happiness for yourself. His first tip to undertaking extraordinary tasks is to dissect your fears. List what you’re afraid of, how to combat or minimize its impact, and how to recover from it. Fear is the main reason people don’t accomplish their goals, so tackling it is crucial to success.
Most obviously recognized as Hermione Granger, Emma Watson has carved a place in both the acting and humanitarian worlds. She’s a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador who has traveled the world to promote equal education for girls and women. Her most notable piece of advice— especially for girls— is that careers don’t have genders. She encourages women and men to be whatever they want to be without conforming to societal standards. She says, “Channel your anger into action by doing something you’re passionate about.”
As a young man, Mark Cuban lived cheaply and struck out on his own until he finally found success. A co-host of Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark’s advice for young professionals is to live cheaply, be optimistic, and take chances. He knows you’re going to fail. It may be big or small, but it’s always recoverable. Learning how to enjoy hard times motivated him to embrace every aspect of life, whether pleasurable or not.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai is known for his outreach to students and improving global education systems. In an interview at an Indian university, Sundar told students to lighten up. Global problem-solving can’t happen while you’re overly stressed. He believes taking risks and staying relaxed are crucial to progress. Google is always looking forward, and he says that can’t happen while focusing on minute stressors, so “trust yourself.”
Although she may not be a household name, Misty Copeland has earned a spot on the mantle in the ballet world. She grew up in a shabby motel with her five other siblings but found hope in ballet dancing. Misty learned how to dance professionally in light of the naysayers. Now, she’s the first African-American woman to be the principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. Harsh criticism sparked her drive to become the best, understanding that failure isn’t real. Her advice is to use “No” as your fuel.
A renegade chef meets science— Alton Brown brings chemistry into the cooking world like no one else. He worked in film production and went to culinary school, where he discovered he could produce his own cooking show. He describes his first show, Good Eats, as “Julia Child meets Monty Python.” Now a host of numerous Food Network shows, Alton Brown believes his enthusiasm for food and science allowed him to create a unique niche in the cooking world. His advice is to assume you’re the weak link so you improve yourself.
If you shop on Amazon, thank Jeff Bezos. He quit a lucrative New York hedge fund in ’94 to sell books online. A somewhat odd idea at the time, he made it work. Now he’s worth billions, and Jeff’s advice to anyone is to understand that invention and failure are inseparable twins. He says Amazon, the fastest company to reach annual sales of $100 billion, has tons of practice at failing, which is why they’re so successful. If you can fail, you can be successful.
Art isn’t a priority in our education system. Trish Duggan made it her priority. She’s merged art, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy into a beautiful amalgamation of her life’s work. She’s founded several organizations to fight addiction, domestic abuse, and illiteracy in America. The work she does in this world is deeply rooted in her happiness. As an artist, Trish believes you create your happiness through your trade.
It took rock bottom for Rich Roll to wonder what the top would be. Hooked on drugs, alcohol, and junk food, Rich realized he needed to change his life. A sobering moment, winded on a staircase, launched him into a seven-day juice cleanse. That process urged him to test the limits of human potential. To do that, he became an ultra-triathloner participating in a three-day, 515 km race (320 miles). He says he found happiness by being authentically true to who he is and sharing that knowledge with others.
A “D” student and chronic job hopper, Barbara was the epitome of failure. A $1,000 loan helped launch her first business, The Corcoran Group, now New York’s largest real estate company. Another star on ABC’s Shark Tank, Barbara is known for her blunt critiques. Despite her brassy methods, Barbara mentors dozens of budding entrepreneurs on how to be unwavering, courageous, and bold on the path to success. Her key to happiness is personal development and empowering yourself to accomplish your goals.
An all-around sales guru, Grant Cardone consults with Fortune 500 companies like Google, Sprint, and Toyota and smaller business on how to customize sales. He owns and operates four companies all with annual sales of $100m. He takes the ideas of work ethic and grit and transforms them into actionable steps for his followers. Self-accountability is his key to success and happiness. He believes you’re happy when you accomplish what you want in life.
Thrust into the spotlight as Serena Williams’ new finance, Alexis Ohanian is the founder of the eighth largest US website, Reddit. After graduating college, his goal was to create a better Internet. Best-selling author, tech investor, and marketing coach Alexis’ goals have always been to improve the things around him. That’s his purpose. He’s shown that walking along the path of your purpose is crucial to being successful.
A small solution to a big problem is all Jewel Burks needed to be highlighted on Forbes 30 Under 30. Her business, Partpic, solves one of manufacturing’s major problems— not having the parts. Her goal was to make a difference in the community. Although she never thought it’d be in manufacturing, she believes having an impact somewhere is better than nowhere. A key to her success was getting out there and doing it.
Diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia after dropping out of high school, Richard Branson is the definition of “eccentric billionaire.” Before partying it up with former President Barack Obama, Richard Branson started a small magazine business at age 16. From there, he began his entrepreneurial pursuit by problem-solving and expanding his business ventures from the music industry to aerospace engineering. His advice for happiness is understanding that perfection is an illusion. If you believe things can be improved, they can.
The face of CNBC’s Options Actions and Fast Money, Melissa Lee began her career in journalism after graduating from Harvard University. She found hard-hitting stories and worked her way up the ladder as a consultant, journalist, documentarian, and television host. Although her schedule is jammed packed, with two shows a day, Melissa says staying present is the only way to stay sane. “Be intellectually challenged, and all the rest will follow.”
NBC’s The Tonight Show’s ever-smiling host, Jimmy Fallon, has had his successes and flops. His methodology for progress is networking. Not the kind where you hand out your business call and set up an appointment, but the relationship-building kind. After every show on SNL, Jimmy thanked the show’s creator Lorne Michaels, which cemented their relationship and got him Jay Leno’s position. Jimmy says asking for advice and never holding bad blood is how he’s made it to where he is today.
Actress and activist Shailene Woodley launched into stardom as the lead in the Divergent series as well as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Shailene’s lifestyle is a far cry from the average celebrity’s. She’s a minimalist (owning only a suitcase’s worth of clothing), avid DIY health enthusiast (encouraging women to use bentonite clay, essential oils, and natural products), and environmental activist (frequently protesting the North Dakota Access Pipeline). Her advice is to love and embrace yourself in every stage of life.
Coined as Oprah’s “happiness guru,” Deepak Chopra dedicated his life to improving the lives of others. Deepak co-founded The Chopra Center with David Simon in 1996 to foster the healing process for the mind, spirit, and body. He’s considered a pioneer in integrative medicine using meditation, yoga, and Western medicine research to allow people to find their inner peace. He believes his calling is helping others create a healthy lifestyle, so he followed through.
One of the few women in the billionaires club, Sheryl Sandberg is the CEO of Facebook. Her new book Lean In shares her personal story of how the business world regularly holds women back and what we can do to change that. She’s counseled Mark Zuckerberg on the reality of women and motherhood in the workplace, too. Her advice to her younger self: “believe you can have it all” and “there’s no straight path to where you’re going.”
Chuck Feeney is known as “the man who gave it all away.” The philanthropist of philanthropists, Chuck has been called a role model by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. For Chuck, giving was never an option; it was the purpose. Inspired by his mother’s impulsive charity, Chuck founded The Atlantic Foundation. In the process of setting up his charitable organization, he made everything completely anonymous. He says, “I’m happy when what I’m doing is helping people and unhappy when what I’m doing isn’t helping people.”
Bill & Melinda Gates
Speaking of Bill Gates, one of the world’s most influential and richest men (worth $79.2 billion)— he and his wife have dedicated their lives to philanthropic ventures. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tackles global challenges like extreme poverty, enhancing healthcare, and increasing education opportunities in America. To date, they have donated upwards of $40 billion to the foundation. Bill’s advice for personal happiness is to continue to be around people who want to learn and figure things out.
Rejected by 12 publishers, J.K. Rowling knows a thing or two about failure. She wouldn’t stop applying to publishers until she was denied by every single one. That type of drive helped her create the world of Harry Potter. Being in a place where you’ve got nothing to lose helped her risk everything. Now as a successful author, Rowling has dropped out of the billionaires club due to her charitable giving. She believes “giving” is a moral obligation for people who’ve reached success.
Yoga guru Rodney Yee instructed thousands of yoga practices during his lifetime. A former ballet dancer and philosophy major, Rodney merged the worlds of body and mind to create Urban Zen Integrative Therapy to focus on mindfulness and how to bring our consciousness into the present moment. Along with Gaia, an online mindfulness platform, Rodney urges everyone to listen to their bodies through yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness practices.
What do The Lion King, The Dark Knight, and Black Hawk Down have in common? Hans Zimmer. He’s the genius behind numerous cinematic soundtracks and has some poignant advice for success and happiness. If you gather anything from his background, it’s that drive is the way to success. He never formally studied music and believes that’s how he’s continually inspired. Inspiration is everywhere, whether it’s in an argument with a director or a conversation with a chef. Utilizing the world around you is key.
Happiness is everywhere. For Kayla Itsines, it was in helping others become healthy. After obtaining her certified personal trainer’s license, she jumped straight into being a female-only trainer. She’s gained a following of over 10 million women through her website and Instagram. Her advice is to encourage women to embrace their body and the journey to transform into a healthier lifestyle. She says, “Do whatever you can, whenever you can.” Kayla’s biggest motivation is to find the strength within herself.
The author of the award-winning novel The Giver, Lois Lowry hasn’t let the losses in her life control her happiness. She lost her sister, husband, and son during her lifetime but has learned how to honor their memories through her work. She says writing allows her to convey her passions and emotions in an authentic manner. For Lois, her happiness extends from her love, and she believes everyone can tell their story.
Founder and CEO of Mashable, Pete Cashmore started the blog when he was only 19. It began as a tech blog to connect people around the world. He says creating anything is a process, but the execution is critical. Being able to found a company at such a young age, Pete learned it was the small steps that brought him to where he is now. His advice is to work where you are now. He developed Mashable from outside Aberdeen, Scotland, not Silicon Valley. He believes happiness and success come from striving to achieve your goals.
Fashion icon Grace Coddington broke all the fashion rules. That’s why she’s famous. Her rogue style and signature look— bright red frizzy hair with red lipstick— have transformed the industry. Once the creative director and driving force behind Vogue Magazine, Grace’s style shaped the future of fashion. She says her authenticity, being gracious, and being kind are how she’s stayed not only relevant but adored by millions in the spotlight.
The powerhouse actress behind How to Get Away with Murder, The Help, and Oscar-nominated Fences has rocketed into stardom with poise and grace. She encourages women everywhere to “dive” when they’re in doubt. For Viola, being hesitant is no way to succeed. She wants women to ask for what they want and take it. Her rise to fame has modeled how women, especially those of color, can be satisfied and happy at the same time.
No one argues when someone says, “Willie Nelson is an American icon.” His lengthy, award-winning career is an inspiration to countless musicians. Now in his ’80s, Willie Nelson continues to record and tour around the world as an environmental activist. Early in his career, he realized his voice didn’t fit in with the contemporary country sound. His “outlaw country” reputation and songwriting help thrust him into the spotlight. He says staying true to himself and giving back to others is the ultimate source of his happiness.
The “Queen of QVC,” Lori is another host on ABC’s Shark Tank. She’s the owner of 120 patents and over 500 products, but she says her primary purpose is helping others find their stride. Believing her happiness stems from giving back to budding entrepreneurs, she’s helped hundreds of business men and women learn how to navigate the waters. Her book Invent It, Sell It, Bank It is a step-by-step guide on how to make ideas into reality. She says helping others bring their ideas to life is one of the most gratifying experiences.
Dr. Josh Axe
Founder of Food is Medicine, Dr. Axe created one of the largest natural health websites in the world. His mission is to help people achieve their healthiest self by using food to heal common medical problems. He says cooking with friends brings him the most joy, which is why he’s focused so much of his energy on assembling the right foods to eat. Although he considers himself an introvert, he speaks to crowds in the thousands about how food can heal your body because he believes that’s his purpose in life.
As a 7 foot 2 inch Muslim basketball player, you’d imagine Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would be outgoing. You can’t miss him. However, he says it’s taken him a lifetime to learn how to engage with others. As a shy, nerdy basketball player, Kareem quickly understood how his fame would demand excellence from him. To do that, he learned how to prioritize his life. He says learning how to be patient and financially literate, treat people, avoid judging others, and cherish your family is how he found his happiness as an athlete.
CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer was one of Google’s first employees. Now, as one of the few female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, she’s got plenty of advice for women in tech and business. Her biggest piece of advice is to push through uncertainty. You’ll never know how far you can go if you don’t try. Her philosophy is that doing anything is better than nothing. Keeping fresh with hobbies like cooking and baking allows her creativity to flow, which is why she encourages people to find multiple outlets for their creativity.
Somalian model, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and wife of the late David Bowie, Iman is a fashion icon. As an activist and ageless model, she openly shares what her values are in life. Although she’s found his death and the death of her mother extraordinarily trying, she’s adjusting. She says her easy-going nature, sunny days, and caring for her daughters make it easy to be happy and live her best life. Simplicity in life is her key to happiness.
Maybe not a household name, Gina Trapani, founder of LifeHacker, created a site to teach people how to hack normal parts of their lives. She focuses on short-term attainable goals and blocking everything else out to get something done. Her inspirational piece of advice comes from her dad, who said, “If you want something, you better go after it.” Gina continues to create apps and companies, but she says her driving force is finding a purpose.
A former Google employee turned billionaire, Chris Sacca rose up from virtually nothing within the last decade. Known for his flamboyant cowboy shirts and surfer vibe attitude, Chris is one of the leading investors in the world, with shares in Twitter, Instagram, and Uber. He believes the key to pitching and investing is a strong narrative. He asks the “why’s” in a product and knows being hooked on the story is the first step to integrating a product or company into society.
Co-founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington sets herself apart from other business leaders. With her book The Sleep Revolution, she’s taught thousands how sleep is vital to our success, not strictly in business, but in life. She’s been an active advocate of redefining success as the balance of well-being, wisdom, and giving in your life instead of numeric values. Her advice to the younger generation is learning that success and burnout don’t have to be intertwined.
Founder of Ellevest, an online investment firm geared toward women, Sallie Krawcheck is determined to change the world of investing. A research analyst, CFO of Citibank, CEO of Merrill Lynch, and now an entrepreneur, Sallie’s idea to bring women into the investment world launched Ellevest into the spotlight as a customizable investment portfolio that caters to the lifestyle and path of the individual woman. Her advice is to be and think like a woman if you’re a woman! That’s how she did it.
Coined as the “Invention Guru” and author of The Inventor’s Bible, Ronald Docie owns numerous businesses that help inventors through the patenting, marketing, and production process, offering decades of free information for the new inventor. His advice for inventors is to understand that the world has existed without your invention and will continue on without out. However sobering that may sound, inventions are small drops in the bucket that can change the world over time.
Throughout his lifetime, Jackie Chan brought cultures together with his fast-paced martial arts comedies. In an interview during the Toronto International Film Festival, he said he told his son, “If you’re capable, then you don’t need any of my money. If you’re not capable, you’ll squander all my money.” He’s stayed true to himself, which is exactly how his mentor, Bruce Lee, cut through the film industry. By allowing himself to be authentic— doing his own stunts and speaking broken English— Jackie made his happiness.