5 Ways Financially Successful People Think Differently

5 Ways Financially Successful People Think Differently

2 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

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Those accomplishing high levels of success think differently. Successful, wealthy people have distinctly different beliefs that separate them and their finances from everyone else. What are some of those mindsets and beliefs? Here’s a few I have picked up from studying these individuals.

5 Ways Financially Successful People Think Differently

1. They see challenges as problems to be solved.

One of the most distinguishing characteristics and mindsets of the successful is how they perceive challenges. The winners simply ask how they can overcome them and get what they want. The poverty mindset just says, “I can’t afford it” or gets stuck in the victim mentality. That negative mindset is often self-fulfilling and leads to being stuck or starting on a downward spiral. If your  goal is to acquire 1,000 multifamily units by 2019, then your job is to simply enough solve problems in order to achieve it.


Related: The Simple Everyday Habit That’s Changing My Business, Relationships & Life

2. They don’t wait for luck, but work consistently instead.

Most unsuccessful people believe only a select few can be wealthy or that all wealthy and successful people are just lucky or were born rich or with the right connections. The data shows that very few rich people are actually trust fund babies. They generally are self-made. Those who are wealthy and successful at what they do are that way because they believe they control their very own destiny. It is just a matter of putting in the work. They make their own luck through consistent work, day in and day out.

3. They have an abundance mindset.

The unsuccessful think there is not enough money to go around, while the wealthy believe there is an abundance of opportunity and money to go around. The poverty mindset is one of scarcity, where one believes that in order to get something, that something has to be taken from others. The wealthy and highly successful CEOs of great startups believe in creating value and filling gaps where there are needs or inefficiencies. This can be a huge factor in real estate. If an investor believes there are not enough deals in their market or that the market is too hot, then they will not put in the work to market to find deals and build their portfolio.  

4. They understand the difference between smart leverage and bad debt.

The successful don’t take on draining and burdensome personal debt that costs them every month. They do use smart leverage, non-recourse loans, and partnerships to accomplish more than they could alone. They use these tactics to invest first and then let their returns pay for their luxuries. The poor mentality is to chase instant gratification and ego by mounting up expensive personal borrowing, which makes things cost more and often leaves nothing to invest. Others refuse to use any type of leverage and find it almost impossible to get ahead financially or in business.


Related: 10 Habits to Adopt if You Want to Become a Real Estate Investing Legend

5. They understand the value of diversification.

Many are holding out for that winning lottery ticket that they believe is their only chance to get ahead. They blow every available dollar on lottery tickets and scratch-offs—all despite the measly odds of winning. They are almost ensuring they stay broke with these habits. Even if they win, that money is typically lost very quickly because the mindset is not there. Some even do this with business and investments. They bet it all on one hope. The wealthy understand the value in diversifying and steady growth. They put their money into more investments and take fewer risks.


We can change our trajectory, finances, and mindset. When we start applying more of these success principles and practices, things can really begin to change.

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What mindsets would you add to this list?

Leave your comments below!

Successful, wealthy people have distinctly different beliefs that separate them and their finances from everyone else. So, what are these mindsets?