Self-made billionaires usually share these 9 personality traits

There are those who are born into money and those who are not. 

When it comes to self-made billionaires there are certain personality traits that show up time and time again. 

There are currently 2,640 billionaires in the world. Here’s a look at their mindset hacks.

1) Anticipating change 

Change is the only constant in life. Self-made billionaires are individuals who anticipate change and get ahead of it. 

They are visionaries who imagine and think about the future and predict changes and trends before they occur. 

Case study: Jeff Bezos

At one point the richest man on earth, Bezos is worth over $139 billion. 

He grew up to a dad who immigrated to the United States from Cuba and an adolescent mother, believing from a young age that humans should eventually live off-world on other planets. 

High marks got Bezos into Princeton, but instead of taking a job offer from Intel he began his own startup named Fitel. Early failures to create a news agency didn’t faze Bezos. 

Seeing the growth of the internet he wanted to get ahead of this trend and started Amazon as a place to sell books online with a $10,000 loan.

The rest is history!

2) Adapting skills

Self-made billionaires are not only able to anticipate change but also to adapt as it happens.

This is all about being perceptive and willing to adjust as necessary. 

Different situations demand different and evolving skill sets, and that can include learning new talents, changing the nature of a business and expanding or focusing its scope as necessary. 

Case study: Leonardo del Vecchio 

Leonardo del Vecchio was one of the richest men in the world worth around $25 billion when he died in June of last year.

Del Vecchio grew up poor and his mom had to send him to an orphanage because she couldn’t afford to raise him. He apprenticed to be a tool and die maker in Milan as a teen.

Del Vecchio perceived a big potential in transferring over his skills into making glasses and used his money as an apprentice to pay his way through design school.

He moved to Agordo, Italy and opened his first business in 1961 at age 25 named Luxottica, going on years later to buy Sunglass Hat, Oakley, Ray-Ban and various other brands, including high-end names like Chanel. 

3) Risk-taking 

It’s hard to get rich without taking a risk. 

There is a dividing line between a smart risk and a reckless risk, however. 

A common personality trait of self-made billionaires is that they know when to take a risk that has a decent chance of panning out. 

They put in all those preliminary steps, but when it comes time to jump in or give up, they take the leap of faith. 

Case study: Larry Ellison

Oracle founder Larry Ellison is worth about $50 billion and owns the vast majority of Hawaii’s sixth-biggest island Lanai.

He was born out of wedlock and was given up for adoption before he was a year old, only meeting his real mom at age 48.

Ellison eventually became a computer programmer and started his own company named Oracle. 

He often took massive risks and would make promises based on pure confidence, later demanding that his teams produce what he’d already promised. 

4) People pleasing

People pleasing is not a good policy when it comes to one’s personal life, but it’s a great strategy when it comes to making mountains of money. 

Self-made billionaires look for opportunities and see them where others only see closed doors. 

Instead of just creating one product that everyone loves, some very wealthy folks accelerate by providing exactly what each niche of people want.

Case study: Tadashi Yanai

Tadashi Yanai is a Japanese billionaire worth approximately $38 billion. 

His company Fast Retailing and brand Uniqlo completely transformed the Japanese and world fashion sector, catering to various tastes and market niches. 

Yanai started out selling pots and pans at a kitchen store, going on to work at his dad’s menswear company and eventually taking over. 

From there he expanded it and evolved its product lines to cater to every type and class of consumer, rising to become one of the richest people in the world. 

5) Leveraging crisis 

It may not be popular to say, but leveraging a crisis is also a common tactic among many of the world’s richest people. 

The best way to phrase this is that many extremely wealthy self-made billionaires managed to find the silver lining in unfortunate situations. 

When others were complaining or panicking, they were looking for opportunities. 

Case study: Carlos Slim 

With a current net worth surpassing $83 billion, Carlos Slim is a man who made the most of a crisis. 

Born to Lebanese-Mexicans in Mexico City, Slim’s dad died when he was only 13, inheriting his dad’s business and going on to study engineering at university and eventually becoming a stockbroker.

He was immensely successful as a stockbroker and used it to open a firm. When the Mexican peso crashed in the 1980s and many companies left Mexico, Slim saw an opportunity to buy up many companies at bargain basement companies. 

From cigarette and tire companies to telecom and energy, Slim eventually became a living legend and is now among the very richest in the world. 

6) Diversification 

Another of the traits of self-made billionaires is diversifying and not putting all their eggs in one basket. 

Even if you become a billionaire, it’s very hard to remain one if you are only in one sector or have no diversification of assets. 

Many of the most successful self-made billionaires are people who 

Case study: Li Ka-shing

A great example is Chinese entrepreneur Li Ka-shing, whose business empire included diverse investments and initiatives all across shipping, infrastructure, ports and developments.

Starting out small, Ka-shing worked his way up to becoming a legendary businessman whose influence was felt throughout Asia. 

As a business magnate, investor and tycoon with a finger in almost every pie imaginable, Ka-shing also gives back, increasing his ties with various communities and heightening his stature as a valued and compassionate individual. 

7) Living simply 

Many self-made billionaires have a habit of living simply. 

This clearly saves money, but it’s also very tied to mentality. 

After all, somebody who’s extremely involved in businesses and making money doesn’t generally have as much time to just relax and be a big spender. 

Case study: Warren Buffet

Legendary American investor Warren Buffet lives a famously frugal life, still living in the same Omaha townhouse he purchased for $31,500 in 1958. 

Buffet lives very frugally and simply, often eating simple meals from drive-thrus.

He buys refurbished cars at reduced prices and rarely buys new vehicles, enjoying games of bridge and simple pleasures whenever possible. 

Buffet values friendship and human connections more than money, but it’s clear that Buffett could buy anything he wants. 

It’s just that his mindset isn’t focused on that.

8) Long-termism

Long-termism is the practice of making plans for the long-term. 

It’s the opposite of instant gratification. Top billionaires have patience and are willing to be strategic. 

They have visions that they know may take time but which will far outweigh the benefits and pleasures of a short-term payoff. 

Case study: Elon Musk

Elon Musk has said he believes in long-termism, a philosophy detailed by author William MacAskill. 

Musk has focused on longer-term goals such as his dream of making humans an interplanetary species. 

He’s also making big moves in neurotechnology, transportation and energy that show his long-term larger visions of transforming the way humanity moves, thinks and lives.

9) Networking

The importance of networking can’t be overstated. 

Many self-made millionaires have gotten where they have because of a strong dedication to bringing people together.

Networking is a crucial skill and objective of anybody who wants to become wealthy. 

Case study: Sheldon Adelson

Boston-born American billionaire Sheldon Adelson had a net worth of over $29 billion before his death in 2021. 

Adelson’s mom ran a knitting store and his dad drove taxis. He started out in business at age 12 selling newspapers on the street.

Adelson started various businesses, including de-icing kits for cars, a tour company and numerous other businesses. 

His 1979 expo to help computer dealers buy and sell computers (COMDEX) was one of the biggest in the world and was his big break in building his future fortune by networking successful people with other successful people!

He eventually became massively wealthy as a casino owner. 

What ties all these self-made billionaires together? 

The common element in all these traits and self-made billionaires actually comes down to two key things:

Perceptiveness and resourcefulness. 

Everybody who becomes extremely wealthy is a keen observer of what’s going on around them and is hard working and resourceful in translating that into success.

They learn from failure and network and collaborate to make their dreams come true, always adapting to change and using their talents to grow and diversify. 

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on and visit his website at

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