I spent 5 years studying self-made millionaires and found there's an easy way to tell if your closest friends are holding you back from becoming rich

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Like attracts like. Unconsciously, we seek to associate with others who are like us.

According to Nicolas Christakas, a former Yale University researcher, habits spread like a virus throughout our social networks. This could be a good thing, if the things you have in common are constructive and improve your life.

For example, if your inner circle includes people who are thrifty and focused on saving money, it's highly likely you'll be infected by their smart money habits. It could be a bad thing, however, if the habits of your inner circle are destructive or toxic.

According to my Rich Habits Study, those struggling financially in life unintentionally surrounded themselves with toxic relationships - negative individuals with bad money habits, bad health habits, emotional instability, addictions, poor work ethic, and many other things detrimental to living a happy, successful life.

Conversely, the self-made millionaires in my study intentionally surrounded themselves with rich relationships - upbeat individuals with smart money habits, good health habits, emotional stability, and strong, long-term relationships with similar people and many other things that contributed to living a happy, successful life.

For those who want to improve the quality of their lives, it is very important to pursue rich relationships as members of your inner circle, or insider's club, and minimize your exposure to toxic relationships.

Forging rich relationships and avoiding toxic relationships is a science, or process. At the heart of that process is understanding the difference between toxic relationships and rich relationships.

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Rich relationship traits

The hallmark of these individuals is an upbeat, optimistic, positive mental outlook. Rich relationship types have a can-do spirit. They believe individuals can accomplish anything they put their mind to.

Rich relationships lift you up. They open doors that are otherwise closed. They help you solve your problems, achieve your goals and realize your dreams. When they are part of your inner circle, they improve your life. They drip words of happiness, love and encouragement on you, which helps keep you going, in the pursuit of your goals and dreams.

Here are some of the traits of rich relationships:

  • Abundance mindset: They don't see success as a zero sum game, meaning for every winner there must be a loser. They believe everyone can win.
  • Solutions-focused: They are focused on finding solutions to problems.
  • Provide constructive criticism: They offer criticism that is intended to help others, not demean or discourage them.
  • Optimistic: They believe they can change the circumstances of their lives.
  • Confident: They take action on their goals and dreams, which boosts their confidence.
  • Humble: They see egotism as a deficiency.
  • Emotionally stable: They intentionally control their emotions, especially when things go wrong in life. This gives the people confidence in their dealings with them.
  • Can-do attitude: They believe they are the architects of the circumstances of their lives.
  • Happy: They look for the good in life, not the bad.
  • Grateful: They focus on what they have, not on what others have.
  • You first, me later: The focus on adding value to the lives of others.
  • Patient: They understand success and wealth takes a long time.
  • Relentlessly persistent: They never quit on their goals and dreams.
  • Focused on the future: They are pursuing goals and dreams.
  • Seeks feedback from others: They see feedback as a means to help them pivot and adjust what they are doing.
  • Authentic: They do not pretend to be someone they are not. This is because they like who they are.
  • Long-term focused: They invest in themselves, sacrificing today for a brighter future.

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Toxic relationship traits

The hallmarks of members of this group are pessimism and a negative mental outlook. Toxic relationship types see themselves as victims of their circumstances. This negative, victim outlook fosters a sense of entitlement - they believed they were wronged and someone should right that wrong. They see various elements of society as holding them back, making it impossible for them to lift themselves out of their poverty or financial struggles.

Toxic relationships will drag you down. Their lives are filled with drama, conflict, put out the fire-type emergencies, and financial struggle. When they are in your orbit, their problems eventually become your problems.

Here are some of the traits of toxic relationships:

  • Scarcity mindset: They believe wealth is scarce and almost impossible to acquire.
  • Problems-focused: They are focused on finding problems, rather than solutions to those problems. They see problems everywhere.
  • Destructive criticism: Because they have low self-esteem, they seek to drag others down along with them by using pejorative and critical language.
  • Pessimistic: They see no future or a very limited future. As a result they are reluctant to pursue their goals and dreams.
  • Exaggerated ego: They have a bad habit of inflating themselves in the presence of others in order to impress people.
  • Uncontrolled emotions: They allow their emotions to run wild. They are quick to anger.
  • Helpless/hopeless: They have lost hope in their ability to lift themselves up and improve their lives.
  • Sad/depressed: They have a morbid outlook on life and this makes them feel sad and even depressed.
  • Wanting: They only see what they lack. They are not grateful for what they have. They are always looking at what other people have and comparing it to themselves.
  • Me first, you last: Their entitlement mindset puts their needs and wants ahead of others.
  • Impatient: Their lack of a long-term focus on building wealth coupled with a sense of helplessness regarding life, makes them impatient for the change they desire.
  • Fear of feedback: Because they are insecure, their exaggerated ego prevents them from seeking feedback from others. In fact, they fear feedback.
  • Fake: They are unhappy about the circumstances of their lives and their ego drives them to pretend to be someone they are not.
  • Short-term focused: They seek immediate gratification and are unwilling to invest in themselves for the long-term. They want what they want and they want it now.

You want your insider's club to be made up of people with rich relationship traits, a common purpose, and a shared desire to succeed. Some of those invited into this prestigious club may be people you inherited. Some may be people you meet along the way.

Members of your insider's club will help you pull your cart. They will open doors for you. They will participate in your journey towards success. They will be your greatest asset.
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