How to think like a billionaire

What can you learn from billionaires and other extremely wealthy people? What do they have in common?

Rick Sapio, CEO of Mutual Capital Alliance, hung out with 23 extremely wealthy people including Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet and the Dalai Lama. Wealth is defined broadly to include financial, spiritual or other measures of prosperity. Nine of the participants were self-made billionaires with a financial net worth well beyond a $1 billion and many others were worth in the hundreds of millions.

Here are some of the insights Sapio shared at the recent Fortune Small Business Conference sponsored by Gazelles International in Dallas:

Guiding Principles. The wealthy have clarity of purpose. They know why they are here. They are gracious, grateful and generous. Most did not do it for the money-they were pursuing a passionate purpose.

Character and Core Values. The wealthy have strong values. Integrity was one of the most important. They cared about their reputation and the trail they leave behind. On a continuum of from having a ‘serving ego’ to having a ‘selfish ego,’ they have a unique and strong serving ego to help others.

Tactical Attributes. Here are the tactics upon which they operate:

1. Have a long-term horizon. They keep their purpose in front on them and make decisions for the long run.

2. Leverage a single entity. They tend to run things simply. It is important to be leveraged in order to produce more results.

3. Solid assistant or partner. They have a ‘rock’ next to them, who is a person that lives to make them great.

4. Work out. They carve time out to exercise and stay healthy.

5. Legacy. They want to live a long time and to leave a legacy.

6. Luck. They look to the bright side of things and take advantage of luck.

7. Say No in order to say Yes. Without a clear vision and values, you can not differentiate opportunities and distractions. They have laser focus and are very careful about what/who gets into their life. However, they think BIG and don’t get bogged down in details.

8. Resilience. Many have come back from the brink of disaster.

Warren Buffet’s Wisdom. Sapio suggests you buy one share of Berkshire Hathaway stock and then go to the shareholder meetings. You can hear Warren Buffet share wisdom for hours. Sapio explains one part of Warren Buffet’s formula for success is simple: 1. Don’t lose money. 2. Remember number 1.

Practical Pointers for Acquiring the Billionaire Mindset: Discern your values. Define your passionate purpose. Pursue it with determination. Surround yourself with the proper people and partners. Focus, finish and fly. You, too, can be as wealthy as you desire.