Rich people think and act differently than the rest of us. They aren't born with this "rich mentality" — they learn how and then choose to think and act this way.
It's a concept that has been in print for nearly a century — thanks to a journalist's research of more than 500 self-made millionaires in the early 20th century — and continues to gain relevance today.
In T. Harv Eker's bestselling book, "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," the self-made millionaire identifies specific choices the wealthiest people make on a daily basis that most of us fail to emulate.
Here are 11 of them, with commentary from Eker's bestseller:
1. Rich people choose to be in control of their success.
"Rich people believe, 'I create my life,'" writes Eker, "while average people think, 'Life happens to me.'"
You have to be in control of your financial life, he emphasizes: "You have to believe that you are the one who creates your success, that you are the one who creates your mediocrity, and that you are the one creating your struggles around money and success. Consciously or unconsciously, it's still you."
2. Rich people choose to think big.
If not you, then who? That's how rich people think, Eker writes: "Big thinking and big actions lead to having both money and meaning."
"Most people choose to play small," he continues. "Why? First, because of fear. They're scared to death of failure and they're even more frightened of success. Second, people play small because they feel small. They feel unworthy. They don't feel they're good enough or important enough to make a real difference in people's lives."
3. Rich people choose to commit to attaining wealth.
Rather than wanting to be rich, wealthy people consciously commit to being rich.
"Getting rich takes focus, courage, knowledge, expertise, 100% of your effort, a never-give-up attitude, and of course a rich mindset," writes Eker. "If you are not fully, totally, and truly committed to creating wealth, chances are you won't."
They are able to fully commit because they have precise goals and a clear vision.
"The number one reason most people don't get what they want is that they don't know what they want," he continues. "Rich people are totally clear that they want wealth. They are unwavering in their desire ... As long as it's legal, moral, and ethical, they will do whatever it takes to have wealth."
4. Rich people choose to focus on opportunities.
Rather than focusing on obstacles like most people tend to do, rich people focus, and capitalize, on opportunities.
"Rich people see potential growth," writes Eker. "Poor people see potential loss. Rich people focus on the rewards. Poor people focus on the risks."
5. Rich people choose to play to win.
While rich people play to win, average people play to not lose, says Eker: "The goal of truly rich people is to have massive wealth and abundance. Not just some money, but lots of money."
If your goal is simply to be comfortable — to have enough money to survive — you probably won't strike it rich.
Eker writes: "When your intention is to have enough to pay the bills, that's exactly how much you'll get — just enough to pay the bills and not a dime more."
6. Rich people choose to hang out with other rich people.
The rich associate with those who are equally or more rich.
"Successful people look at other successful people as a means to motivate themselves," writes Eker. "They see other successful people as models to learn from. They say to themselves, 'If they can do it, I can do it.'"
Rather than being jealous of other successful people, they are grateful for them, as they provide a template for how to attain such success.
"The fastest and easiest way to create wealth is to learn exactly how rich people, who are masters of money, play the game," he explains.
7. Rich people choose not to be derailed by their problems.
"The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem," writes Eker.
"The road to wealth is fraught with traps and pitfalls, and that's precisely why most people don't take it. They don't want the hassles, the headaches, and the responsibilities. In short, they don't want the problems."
Rather than focusing on, or even noticing, the problems, the super successful focus on their goals, says Eker.
8. Rich people choose to focus on their net worth.
"The true measure of wealth is net worth, not working income," writes Eker.
Net worth is the financial value of everything you own.
"[It] is the ultimate measure of wealth because, if necessary, what you own can eventually be liquidated into cash," writes Eker.
9. Rich people choose to get paid based on results.
"There's nothing wrong with getting a steady paycheck, unless it interferes with your ability to earn what you're worth. There's the rub. It usually does," explains Eker.
The wealthiest people never have a ceiling on their income, nor do they choose to get paid for their time, says the self-made millionaire.
"Rich people prefer to get paid based on the results they produce, if not totally, then at least partially," he writes. "Rich people usually own their own business in some form. They make their income from their profits. Rich people work on commission or percentages of revenue. Rich people choose stock options and profit sharing in lieu of higher salaries."
10. Rich people choose to manage their money.
"Wealthy people are not any smarter than poor people; they just have different and more supportive money habits," writes Eker. "The single biggest difference between financial success and financial failure is how well you manage your money. It's simple: to master money, you must manage money."
Average people choose not to manage their money because they believe they don't have enough to manage.
"Until you show you can handle what you've got, you won't get any more!" says Eker. "The habit of managing your money is more important than the amount."
11. Rich people choose to constantly learn and grow.
The wealthiest learn how to be successful from those who are richer and more successful than they are. They then continue to learn even after they've attained incredible success.
"Every master was once a disaster," says Eker. "No one comes out of the womb a financial genius. Every rich person learned how to succeed at the money game, and so can you ... Success is a learnable skill."