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5 Surprising Habits of the World's Wealthiest Billionaires

By Larry Kim | Small Business

We tend to think of the world's super rich as super successful, disciplined people who work harder and have greater opportunities than the average person.

Though money isn't always a measure of success, you can't deny that those who have amassed billions have experienced great successes in their lives and careers.

They must do certain things to achieve this success, right? They're better at achieving their goals. They live healthier lifestyles and can manage stress better than other people. They're classy and influential and exist in a whole other universe.

Billionaires are just people, and some of their habits may surprise you. It's not all caviar lunches, regimented scheduling, and the lap of luxury.

Here are some of the surprising habits of the wealthiest people on the planet:

1. They swim against the tide.

Becoming supersuccessful means you need to outperform everyone else at whatever you're doing, right?

Nope. It often means you shouldn't even be playing their game. Billionaires aren't better than others; they're doing something different than the others.

Warren Buffett amassed his fortune by buying investments and businesses when everyone else wanted out. Bill Gates didn't want to build the types of programs everyone else was focused on; he wanted to build something people hadn't even thought of yet but would realize they needed as soon as they experienced it.

If it seems as if you're stuck in a rat race and constantly trying to outdo the next person, break away from the pack. Your ideas might have little to no support, but big rewards require big risk. If others don't understand your vision, it doesn't mean it's your vision that is wrong.

2. They are frugal.

Mark Zuckerberg drives a Volkswagen GTI. That's right, the founder and CEO of Facebook, who's worth an estimated $33 billion, drives a $30,000 car.

We often think of the superwealthy as indulgent, with opulent and even wasteful lifestyles. In truth, many billionaires are shrewd businesspeople who are incredibly frugal and personally accountable for their expenditures. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, for example, still shops at CostCo.

Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro Limited, is worth an estimated $12.2 billion but still drives an inexpensive car. He's said to travel by rickshaw to and from the Bangalore airport for business trips.

It flies in the face of the stereotype to have many billionaires actually be very frugal. In American culture, we tend to crave the flashy cars, the big houses, and all the toys. Billionaires are adept at making money but at keeping it as well, and part of that means living below their means for many.

3. They do for themselves.

The Hollywood stereotype of the über-rich might have left you thinking billionaires don't do anything for themselves. They have dog walkers, maids, assistants, butlers, and drivers to take care of the monotonous chores of everyday life.

Contrary to this image, billionaires often do just fine fending for themselves. Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen, worth an estimated $16.3 billion, still packs his own lunch every day! He told the Financial Times he prefers a sandwich and a Gatorade.

It's true that the supersuccessful often surround themselves with supportive people--they understand they can't do everything on their own. But this doesn't mean they're helpless or lazy when it comes to doing the same things each day that regular people do.

4. They fail on a regular basis.

Show me a billionaire who has succeeded at every single thing he or she has ever tried--go on, name one!

Everyone has failures and successes. Billionaires often fail at epic scale, thanks to the sheer size of the deals and investments they're involved in. The trick is, they understand that failure is just a bump in the road on the path to greater success.

Hotel magnate Kirk Kerkorian, at 97 years old, is worth an estimated $4.4 billion. Over the course of his lengthy career, he's made and lost millions many times over. Best known for helping to shape Las Vegas, Kerkorian also had a tumultuous relationship with the auto industry, including massive losses in his Ford stock during the 2008 economic crisis. Still, he kept taking risks and continues to this day.

Billionaires know that you have to fail sometimes. They just become more adept at it.

5. They take better care of themselves.

If you had an unlimited income, you could eat whatever you wanted! Again, there's a stereotype that the superwealthy can be gluttonous or partake in lavish, rich meals that the rest of us can only dream of and then lay around all day.

Sure, they can afford whatever they want, yet best-selling author Tom Corley points out that 70 percent of the wealthy consume less than 300 junk food calories per day, compared with 3 percent of less-affluent people. They get more exercise, too--Corley puts the percentage of the wealthy who do aerobic exercise at least four days a week at 76 percent, compared with just 23 percent of the poor.

David Murdock, chairman of Dole Foods, recently told Forbes he expects to live to 125 (he's 90 now), thanks to his diet and healthy lifestyle. A vegetarian since his 60s, Murdock is more active than many people half his age. He's an advocate of daily physical exercise and still rides horses, practices yoga, and does weight training.

Billionaires aren't some alien life form or even anomalies as people. Their habits may be much the same as yours and contradict everything you've come to expect about how the 1 percent live!

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