Imagine sitting in a room with 108 millionaires and being able to pick their brains for three days.
What would you ask them?
What would you hope to learn?
This is the exact situation I found myself in last weekend, and the event completely changed my life, as I hope the lessons I learned, and communicate below, will change yours.
I recently joined this small, millionaire-only men's group (called GoBundance) in an effort to level-up my relationships and associate with people smarter and more successful than me.
There is a well-known (and anonymous) quote that goes, “If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room." This event was the "smarter room" I chose to place myself in.
Here's what I learned.
1. Don’t Be the Smartest Guy in the Room
I’ve been investing in real estate for a decade and also have one of the most popular podcasts in iTunes, but I look like a financial toddler next to most of the men in this group, which is exactly where I need to be.
Millionaires don’t seek to surround themselves with people who make them feel superior. They continually seek out people who are far more successful -- in numerous categories.
- Want to get more in-shape? Go talk to the black belt who owns three karate studios.
- Want to become better at raising private capital? Go talk to the VC worth over $100,000,000.
- Need help with your marriage? Talk to the guy who’s been happily married for 47 years.
Millionaires surround themselves with people they can strive to become more like, in every aspect of life.
2. Wealth is More Than Money
If there is one theme that runs through every member of this millionaire tribe it’s this: Wealth is more than money.
Money is important, but it’s not the only thing, nor is it the most important.
The conversations I found myself in focused just as much on topics like relationships, adventure, fitness, and giving to charity as they did on wealth. My friend and fellow real estate investor Mark Walker summed it up well, telling me, "One can have a ton of money and wealth, but be bankrupt in their health, relationships, contributions, and outlook on life."
Many people are tempted to look at financially rich people with a sense of reverence, but at what cost? If someone is worth $10,000,000 but rarely sees their children, is that truly a life worthy of emulation? Not according to the men I met this week.
Life is about balance.
3. Provide Value With No Expectations
In nearly every conversation I had this week, I heard the same five-word phrase over and over again: “How can I help you?”
Millionaires understand that providing value to others is far more important than finding out what others can do for you. Of course, in the end, providing value to others always seems to come back ten-fold, but these men didn’t offer help from a selfish standpoint. They simply offer value because they genuinely want to see others succeed. I walked away from this event with dozens of contacts in different areas of life, and I know I could pick up the phone right now and call any of them for help -- and I'd get it.
As the late Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want."
4. Live Proactively
Most individuals tend to live life highly reactively. In other words, they play defense with everything.
The millionaires I connected with this weekend, however, live life very differently. They consistently choose to define their future, create plans to get there, and then carry out those plans with gusto.
For example, I mentioned earlier that I'm the cohost of a highly successful podcast. This podcast was actually how I discovered this group of millionaires, as I interviewed several of them last year. During this event, however, I discovered that it was not random that several of these men found their way onto our show. Actually, two of them set a goal several years ago at a GoBundance event where they decided they wanted to be on the BiggerPockets Podcast and created a plan to get there. They didn’t sit back and wait for life to happen to them -- they went out, defined what they wanted, and proactively went after it.
5. Think Bigger
Last year, I flipped two houses -- and I was proud of myself.
But then I discovered my roommate at this event flipped 80 homes last year. I met another individual who bought 950 properties last year, and another who is developing new technology that will help eradicate malaria.
And I thought two house flips were impressive.
Being surrounded by these millionaires taught me to think bigger about the world around me.
Why aim for good when you can aim for great?
For me, as a real estate investor, I decided to make a change. I’m not going to buy a little house here, a little house there. I’m thinking bigger. In fact, because of this event, I defined a new goal for myself: Purchase a 50+ unit mobile home park this year, and within three years, own 1,000 mobile home spaces.
Now that’s thinking bigger.
So what goal can you 10x in your life?
6. Wealth Facilitates Giving Back
As a child, I thought of millionaires as greedy, selfish people who liked to swim in their gold coins.
Thanks, Scrooge McDuck.
The reality, however, is far different. Again and again, the men I connected with genuinely wanted to give back to others. Numerous auctions were held throughout the event for one-on-one coaching with the speakers, and over $100,000 was raised for 1 Life Fully Lived, a non-profit organization that helps individuals live their life proactively.
7. Money Doesn't Matter if You're Dead
I’m not completely out of shape -- but compared to most of the men I met last week... I’m a cow.
Millionaires understand that age-defying fitness is vital to a successful life. All the money in the world is useless if you’re dead, so the millionaires I met focus directly on eating right and exercising, as well as the accountability needed to maintain routines.
For a fun and challenging fitness test, try the GB-9 test, something most of the men at this event do regularly. I got a 140 -- but some of the men who do it get over 300. What’s your GB-9 score?
8. It’s Never Too Early to Teach Your Kids About Entrepreneurship
Successful individuals teach their kids to be successful.
This was made clear to me at the event, where nine kids (children of some of the men who attended) opened their own business selling shirts and other items to the millionaires present at the conference. In fact, each kid went home with almost $200 in cash (but they definitely worked for it!).
These kids (some as young as three or four) learned how to buy products at wholesale, sell retail, give part of the revenue away to charity, and make a profit on what was left. To see basic entrepreneurship “click” in their minds was something I’ll never forget.
9. Be Curious About Growth
Jon Berghoff, the MC of the event and Managing Partner of the Flourishing Leadership Institute, said this to me when I asked what stood out to him at the event: “This is a group of men that, even having achieved great success by investing the money and time to make it to the event, exhibited a legitimate, authentic sense of curiosity about how to grow themselves. This comes from a place of humility, openness, and desire that deserves tremendous respect. And it's the same reason they will continually become more successful."
Jon hit the nail on the head. Every person who attended that event wanted to improve their life in numerous ways. Everyone was interested in finding more success, getting in better shape, leveling up their relationships, and improving every other aspect of their life.
10. Don't Be Afraid of Adventure
At the conference, some of the men went bungie jumping. Others went snowmobiling. Others bobsledding. Still others heli-skiing. And nearly everyone hit the incredible hills of Whistler for skiing or snowboarding.
Last year, this group rode motorcycles in Vietnam. Next year, this group is going on an African safari, including hang-gliding and diving with sharks.
Keep in mind, these weren't 20-year-old kids on spring break. These are stock brokers, real estate agents, scientists, venture capitalists, and more. But they sought out adventure. They planned for it, saved for it, and made it a reality.
In 20 years, I won't look back at my life and think, "I sure am glad I watched 900 episodes of Law and Order on Netflix back in 2017." But I will look back and remember my snowmobile trip through the Canadian wilderness and smile.
Perhaps this group of millionaires is different from the majority of millionaires in the world.
Maybe not all millionaires are focused on family as much as money. Maybe not all millionaires generously give of their time and wealth to worthy causes. Maybe not all millionaires push the limits of their fitness so they can spend more time on this planet.
But that's the kind of millionaire I want to be.
A millionaire who chooses to fill my life with rich experiences.
A millionaire who chooses to make memories that will last a lifetime.
A millionaire who chooses to lead an epic life.
This article was originally posted/written by Forbes.com