So you wanna be part of the 1%

By Ed Latimore Last modified

The 1% isn’t an exact mathematical construct. It’s an idea. You may not be great with numbers, but you understand the rarity of something if it only occurs in 1% of the population.

This small segment isn’t impressive because it’s a small segment—hell, a segment of population are serial killers, pedophiles or homeless. The small segment is impressive because of how disproportionately accomplished and composed they are.

My version of the 1%

The 1% I speak of are the people who society looks up to for the right reasons. They are paragons. They don’t specifically set out to be an example, but they inspire others to be their best.

It’s not only what they do, but how they do it. Process and outcome are equally important to people in the 1%.

I don’t consider myself part of the 1%, but I’m closer this year than last. This is the power of intent. Because I’m trying to be better and make my environment a reflection of my mind, as I improve those around me improve.

This is an important part of being in the 1%. Think of the 1% as a theoretical limit that you are always trying to approach in your life. Here are 10 habits that will help you get there.


The 1% have an unwavering commitment to improvement

The Japanese call this idea Kaizen. It’s continuous improvement that centers around one key idea: big changes come from many small changes over time. On the contrary, the 99% believe in big wins and luck.

Kaizen, the way of the 1%, focuses on small wins and circumstance. A small win every day eventually looks like a big win. A cumulative gradual change to circumstance makes one appear to be lucky in their timing.

There’s nothing that can’t be altered by making small gradual improvements each day. Small changes in diet each day will result in large changes in health and appearance. The same thing can happen with changes in finance and relationships. The 1% focuses on improving each day.

The 1% have an overwhelming sense of appreciation and gratitude

Gratitude is the most powerful emotion you have because it can change your thinking and mood instantaneously. Gratitude is so powerful it can make you believe that everything is alright when it really isn’t.

This is alright. Your reality is nothing more than your perception. The 1% understands they can see the world as they want, so they abuse this power. Gratitude allows you to see each day as something amazing.

Gratitude is seeing the world through the lens of relativity. It’s the ability to look at every situation and think either “This could be worse” or “I am incredibly fortunate”. Many times, the power of gratitude causes both reactions.

When you learn to habitually see things this way, you’ll feel sorry for the other 99%. Unfortunately, they always sees the bad in a situation. When you can look at any situation and be grateful to have experienced it, then you’re thinking like the 1%.

The 1% understand that people are the most important thing

Imagine achieving your biggest dream. Then imagine having no one to share it with. Even worse, imagine that no one is happy for you and everyone curses you for it.

Only a fool would still be excited about the accomplishment. This is because people are the most important thing in life. No matter how digital or automatic the world becomes, it’s still driven and operated by human beings.

This means your ability to interact with other people is key to your success. There is no penalty for being likable. Nothing bad comes from making a person feel good. No evil will befall you if you help people.

The 1% knows that their greatest source of happiness are interactions with other people. The 99% thinks its money or things.

The 1% live with purpose

Your purpose in life doesn’t need to be extravagant. It doesn’t require sacrifice and suffering. Your purpose in life doesn’t need to be original or profound. It doesn’t even require life long commitment. You only need to make decisions in your life based on that purpose.

A purpose is a grand vision. The 99% think only in terms of goals and accomplishments. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. A grand vision is not necessarily concerned with the outcome or the process, but rather the reasoning that drives the action.

Getting one million dollars is an outcome. There are many processes for acquiring it, but what’s your purpose? Is it to lead a life of freedom, to be charitable, to be seen as successful, etc?

The purpose transcends the goal and makes you think about what you really want. Maybe achieving your goal will get you there. Maybe there’s a better way. A way which aligns with your purpose.

The 1% have their priorities

99% of people think money is the most important thing. How they prioritize everything else after that is a mix.

The 4 priorities of life. They are money, time, energy and reputation. These 4 things are responsible for all of the opportunities you get with other people.

The 99% always put money first. What they put last reveals their character. Unscrupulous individuals place reputation last. The lazy place energy last. The workaholic places time last. The 1% knows the more difficult something is to replenish, the more important it is.

The priorities of the 1% are as follows: time > reputation > energy > money. You can always make more money. You only have a finite amount of time to live. There are billionaires but no immortals. When you treat time with the proper respect, you will be closer to living the life of the 1 percent.

The 1% have a strategic view

The 99% think in terms of the immediate. The 1% ALWAYS take the long view. They are almost never phased by emergencies because they plan ahead. The long view of life allows you to look beyond immediate concerns and consider the long term.

The only time you shouldn’t consider the long term is when you’re dying. For some reason, most people routinely neglect the long term when they make decisions.

It’s one thing to be wrong about the future; that happens to us all. It’s another problem entirely to never consider it when making plans.

This lack of foresight stems from an inability to endure the suffering of delayed gratification. By sidestepping this suffering, the irony is that you suffer more. The 99% don’t understand that taking the easy now results in a hard way later.

The 1% understand human nature

The 1% understands that most people are in the 99%. The 99% believes that most people—themselves included—are in the 1%.

This creates some interesting problems for the 99 percent. They expect too much from others. Because their expectations aren’t based on the truth of human nature, they’re often frustrated and disappointed.

The 1% brings out the best in others, but they aren’t shocked when people don’t rise to the occasion.

The 1% take people as they are. They are critical of themselves but easy on everyone else. The 99% are hypocrites. They expect everyone to behave a certain way and get angry when they don’t. They’re hard on others while making concessions for themselves.

The 1% have well defined standards

Most people have no standards or don’t enforce them. Without standards, a person does what is easiest instead of what is best. The path of least resistance defines the life of the 99% in every way. Their bodies are not toned, their minds are not sharp, and their relationships aren’t full of love.

The 1% knows the best view comes after the hardest climb. They embrace a challenging lifestyle to facilitate change. Self-discipline determines how the 1% eats, lives, and interacts with the world. The body, heart, and mind of the 1% reflects discipline.

These standards reflect a quality of life that is not easily attainable. The 99% want to coast through life, happy to survive. The 1% want to work through life, doing the best job they can. 

The 1% takes nothing personal

Most people are self-centered. They believe the universe is focused on them. Some even believe they’re personally blessed by God.

The 1% never take any affront personally. The moment a person makes a problem personal, they’re unable think clearly about it. The 99% always makes problems personal.

The 1% understands that an unfortunate side effect of living in the universe is that bad things happen to you simply because you exist. However, the universe is completely impersonal in how it interacts with you.

People are merely agents of the universe. Sometimes you meet good people and sometimes you meet bad people. By not taking it personally, you can always make the best decisions and learn from your interactions with them.

The 1% gives more than it takes

There is a simple formula for computing your worth. If you give more than you take, you’re an asset. If you take more than given, you’re a liability. Assets are valuable. Liabilities are dangerous.

The 1% understands that life is always easier if you are valuable. They understand the way to become valuable to is to give more to the world than they take from it.

The 99% always take from the world. They consume hardly produce. You see this in their choice of entertainment and lifestyle. They do not leave the world better than they found it.

The mere act of putting more into the world than you take from it means you’ll benefit people.

By helping people, you’ll always be in a position to receive help and compensation. That compensation may be in the form of time, energy, money or reputation.

1% of people never worry about how they’ll get what they need. 99% people have a scarcity mindset.