6 Ways That Billionaires Think Differently Than The Rest Of Us

Brian Johnson
8 min readMar 17, 2021

Many people think billionaires are unusual creatures that are born different from the rest of us. Maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not but the truth is it doesn’t really matter.

What’s most important to understand is that billionaires have a different way of thinking about the world that we can all learn from. People that have extraordinary results in life typically do things differently from most people. And the reason they do things differently is that they think differently.

We may not all be cut out to be a billionaire, but many of us can be much more successful if we adjusted our behavior.

Maybe all we need to do is to start thinking like a billionaire!

Here are a few of the basic ways a billionaire thinks differently than most of us:

1. Billionaires have a very long-term perspective. No matter where you are on the socioeconomic ladder, most people are focused on surviving next week, next month, or planning their weekend. It’s not always out of necessity either. It’s just that most of us are short-term wired. Unfortunately, it’s a type of short-term perspective that never results in anything in the long-term.

A billionaire, on the other hand, is making decisions and taking action for objectives that are often 10 years or more into the future. People who become billionaires don’t save for emergencies. Don’t get me wrong, they do have emergency planning in place, like insurance, etc., but they save primarily for financial opportunities that they know will exist years in the future, not for an emergency that may or may not happen tomorrow.

We all definitely have to live within the reality of our current financial situation and be realistic about our present realities and at the same time, we have to start planting seeds for our future opportunities.

Just because we might have to scramble to survive in the short-term today, there’s no reason why we can’t spend some time working toward something that will make life better five years from now. Most people tend to overestimate what they can do in one year but severely underestimate what is possible in ten years.

2. Billionaires value time over money. For a billionaire, money isn’t as tangible of an item as it is to most people. Buying a $200,000 car, for example, is irrelevant when you make $10 million a month. Billionaires value time above all else. That’s why they often have drivers, charter planes, and assistants.

Conversely, many of us are willing to sacrifice too much of our time in order to save money. Sometimes this is necessary, but many people take it too far. As much as possible, we should use our time for a higher purpose.

Think of it this way. If you earn $100/hr and discover that you can save $100 doing a specific task yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it, but it takes you three hours to do it but only costs you $100 to pay someone else to do it, you’d be better off paying someone else to do it.

Agreed, this is a clumsy example, but I often have to think about what I’m spending my time doing that takes away from my earning potential. If I’m spending a lot of time doing things that interrupt my earning potential, I need to give some serious thought about hiring them out or avoid doing them altogether.

I remember when my wife’s business started to really take off and her earning potential went through the roof. Around the same time a very similar thing was happening with me in my line of work. We both agreed that the weekly house cleaning and yard work, among other things, took away from our earning power.

We decided to contract with a house cleaning service and a lawn care service so that we could spend that time working for our respective businesses and earning money. We calculated that those hours that we redirected towards our business earned us thousands of dollars a month, which is much more than the price we paid to offload those activities.

I’m not saying that if you hire someone to mow your lawn, you’ll earn more money as a result, but I am saying that we all should take a closer look at those activities that are taking us away from our earning potential and then determine if we would be better off valuing our time more than the money we save by doing the activity ourselves.

3. Billionaire’s delegate. You can’t make a billion dollars all on your own. Many entrepreneurs struggle to grow beyond a certain level and it’s often because they won’t utilize other people to do the work.

It’s better to make 1% from the efforts of 1,000 people than to make 100% from just your own effort.

Delegate as much as you can. Always be looking for more valuable ways to spend your time.

Years ago, I co-founded a software company. At first, I had to do everything on my own. All the marketing, sales, operations, billings, collecting, etc. while my partner did all of the technology development, networking, security, and product development. It was a crazy time but necessary. Eventually, we had to delegate but I resisted.

The main reason was that in order to delegate I had to develop systems for others to use to replicate my success. This ultimately took about a year for me to finally complete but once I did it, I was able to plug other people into every aspect of my business while at the same time being able to monitor their progress against thoughtful and relevant metrics for success.

Once this happened, I was able to focus a majority of my time on growing the business, developing and maintaining strategic plans, and creating a vision for the growth of our business in other markets.

In my case, delegation didn’t mean just giving someone my work to do, but rather, it was a thoughtful approach to looking at what I was doing and discovering how to train others to do it in a way that could replicate my success. Other times it meant finding people more talented than me to do what I was doing at a much higher quality, like graphic design.

People with a Billionaire mindset are always looking for effective ways to delegate to reproduce their own success or to enhance their success.

4. Billionaires focus on making more money, rather than saving. The typical financial guru touts cutting expenses to the bone and saving as much as possible. That’s fine if you want to sacrifice today to be wealthy in 40 years when you retire. It’s a great strategy!

However, it’s difficult to save a lot of money each month unless you make a lot of money each month. Many billionaires are relatively tight with their money, but they primarily focus on making more money each year.

Save your money and at the same time put attention on boosting your income. Most people who think of wealth strategies think primarily of saving money or earning money. It’s usually one or the other. The truth is it takes both. Saving money for opportunities and increasing earnings to grow savings opportunities.

Ultimately, the billionaire mindset is about earning more. And earning more is all about providing more value. Once we determine our savings goals it’s best to immediately start to think about how to bring more value to more people.

I read a wonderful book on this principle years ago called “What the CEO Wants You To Know” by Ram Charam. The basic idea is that each and every one of us should think of our job as though we are a business selling our services to our employer.

In this respect, I naturally start to think like the CEO of me. I start thinking, how can I provide more value to my client (my boss)? Can I increase the quality of my product (my work)? Can I increase the velocity, can I enhance customer service, etc.? How can I generate more revenue next year?

When I focus on increasing value, the natural result is increased earnings. People pay more money for value. If that opportunity doesn’t come from my current situation, a new situation will surely arise when I get into the value creation mindset that will increase my earnings.

5. Billionaires have big goals. Billionaires aren’t aiming for a six-figure salary, a Range Rover, or a week in Paris. Their goals are more along the lines of taking over the healthcare technology industry or owning a million units of residential real estate. You can’t achieve big things without big goals.

Like I said earlier, we aren’t all cut out to be billionaires nor do we all want to be billionaires, but we can all learn a lot from how billionaires think. And the truth is we could all probably use a kick in the pants when it comes to goal setting.

We all have hang-ups about money and we often set limitations in our minds about what we are worth and as a result, we limit what we can earn. If you think about it, your goals are often a result of the limitations you’ve put on yourself.

For example, if your goal is to earn a six-figure income it’s because you’ve limited yourself to a goal of only six figures. Probably because you think that’s not too unreasonable. But that’s more of a self-imposed limit than it is a goal.

Think of yourself as a Dodge Challenger, would you set your speedometer to 55-MPH as the maximum speed of the car? If you did, it’s a speed limit, not a speed goal. Our highways have speed limits for obvious reasons but there are no speed limits when it comes to our goals.

Think hard on your goals and open up the throttle, step on the gas, and see how fast you can really go. Even if you come up short, you’ll go faster than you ever thought possible.

6. Most billionaires love to work. Often, people look at billionaires and wonder what’s wrong with them? Why do they work so much?

The first thing to understand is that billionaires don’t work like the rest of us. Most people’s work is full of what I call busy work. That’s the part of our work that we don’t really like.

If you’re lucky, you have a job that is 50% the work you like and 50% work you don’t like. But if you look at the previous items, billionaires figure out how to spend most of their time working on the things that they really like doing and delegating or otherwise jettisoning the things that they don’t like doing or aren’t that good at doing. The result is a life of work that is extremely rewarding and lucrative.

Rather than doing ‘busy work’ billionaires spend their days in creative efforts in areas or industries that they find extremely exciting or interesting. They’ve basically figured out how to bring extreme value to the world, or at least to a significant amount of other people.

A billionaire isn’t always obsessed with the idea of stockpiling more money — they just enjoy seeing improvement and progress in their life more than they enjoy doing anything else.

The best part is that this is something we all can do, whether we are a billionaire or not.

How does your way of thinking compare to that of a billionaire? Which of the ideas above can you incorporate into your own thinking?

Obviously, you don’t have to be worth a billion dollars to think like a billionaire. And thinking like one can prove to be very effective.

To your success!



Brian Johnson

Technology Innovation Strategist & Change Manager: Influencing and helping others to reach their full potential through intentional improvement.