If there's one theme linking all Millennial stories, from the relatable fictions of “Girls” and “Broad City” to the painful truths of your blog, it's the struggle to make money. In the shadow of a recession, earning a decent paycheck seems about as likely as convincing your ex to come back.
In other words, it's not too likely.
So if you like to imagine that billionaires have some sort of superhuman advantage, that's completely understandable. But the truth is that they're just people. They simply have certain traits that allowed them to succeed beyond their wildest dreams. (This is assuming, of course, that they earned their money rather than inherited it. And this is also acknowledging the inherent privileges that help some groups of people more than others.)
That said, you might already have some of the same traits as the world's wealthiest people. Take a look at the list below. Read how to become a billionaire, and ask yourself if you're really that different from the unbelievably rich.
1. You bounce back from failure.
You can't make a fortune without hitting a few bumps in the road. Research shows that billionaires aren't simply the people who come up with the ideas no one else had. Instead, they're the kind of people who can improve on a project when they make mistakes, instead of giving up altogether.
They may have an utterly obscene amount of money, but they're not perfect, and they often misjudge opportunities. Their strength isn't in avoiding obstacles, but in learning from them.
2. You have a degree.
While some of the more high-profile billionaires, like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, ditched college to focus on their businesses, trends show that earning ridiculous amounts of wealth generally requires a college education. Seventy-seven percent of the world's billionaires have at least a bachelor's degree.
Consider this your daily “Be Cool, Stay In School” PSA.
3. You're an Aquarius.
Today's Aquarius Horoscope: You're probably going to buy a yacht or a country or something.
Looking at the stats, we find that more billionaires fall under the Aquarius sign than any other zodiac symbol.
This doesn't mean you get to blame your bad luck on the stars, though.
4. You're curious.
Confirming what we nerds knew all along, a common personality trait among billionaires is an insatiable passion for learning. Staying on top of the financial competition requires a level of curiosity that drives you to pursue knowledge whenever the opportunity presents itself.
In other words, don't think of your triple-major in finance/philosophy/early 19th-century Italian pottery as a sign that you're unfocused. Instead, see these as indications of your hunger for information.
5. You care about self-improvement.
People whose bank accounts rival that of Bruce Wayne's aren't the type to simply be content with their lives. Looking into the personalities of billionaires, it's clear that these people care deeply about improving their skills, developing new talents and acquiring more knowledge.
Don't be embarrassed about browsing the self-help section at the bookstore. You're just following in the footsteps of the richest people on the planet.
6. You live a modest lifestyle.
OK, so it's hard to claim that people like Oprah and Richard Branson are living a “modest lifestyle” when your dinner consists of expired ramen marinated in the contents of a ketchup packet you stole from a fast-food chain.
That said, the ridiculously rich often have a tendency to focus more on their work and less on extravagant spending. They don't simply know how to make money. They also understand the importance of saving it.
7. You can't stop working.
This should probably go without saying. If you're the type who finds that a typical nine-to-five gig feels like a warmup for the rest of the week, you'll feel right at home among billionaires. Across the board, they have a tendency to work much longer than the typical employee, developing new ideas while everyone else is settling in for a nightly Netflix binge.
Obviously, not everyone is comfortable sacrificing their free time in pursuit of wealth, but if you're passionate about your job and feel more satisfied putting in those extra hours each week, you've got one billionaire trait that plenty of others lack.
8. You care about beauty.
Got an eye for killer outfits? Admire the form of a gadget and not merely the function? According to the Harvard Business Review, you could be the next billionaire.
Looking into the qualities shared by the highest net-worth individuals on the face of the earth, it is clear that many of them share not just a desire to make money; they also want to make the world a better place.
From fashion moguls to design geniuses, these people understand that the best products -- whether smartphones or shoes -- don't just serve a practical purpose. They should be works of art.
9. You want people to have a good time.
The Harvard Business Review also discovered that many of the biggest billionaire brands, like Disney, serve primarily to entertain. While major companies across the globe give us the kind of products we need in our daily lives, the ones that thrive the most are usually the ones that target our instinct to have a little bit of fun.
Did you throw the most kick-ass parties on campus? Consider it your CEO training.
10. You served in the military.
A trait that often gets ignored in rundowns of billionaire success secrets is involvement in the military, but many of the wealthiest people, like Ross Perot and SlimFast titan S. Daniel Abraham, served their country before going on to build their empires.
This shouldn't be much of a surprise, though. It's already clear that billionaires usually have an unstoppable work ethic and a propensity for risk. The military may be the best place to develop those qualities.
11. You don't think big (right away, at least).
Reaching billionaire status rarely happens overnight. Thinking you can't get there unless you have an idea that will change the world is a recipe for failure.
In fact, plenty of the most successful people got to where they are by starting small, taking baby steps in the right direction.
Biomet founder Dane Miller has made his billions selling advanced products like artificial hips. He got his start selling arm slings, though.
Your idea doesn't need to be huge at first. Good ideas rarely are.
12. You take risks.
Whether you're dropping out of school to build your business, leaving your job to start a company or simply investing in a stock no one else believes in, it's hard to make billions without taking risks. The people who are content to settle for a reliable income may be the ones who are making the “sensible” choice, but they're not likely to ever be rich.
If you're not happy taking the easy route, yes, there will be risks involved. But the payoff could very well be worth it.
13. You're productive in your spare time.
You know what life experience billionaires Jim Dolan and David Becker claim is the key to their wealth?
Yeah, the least inspiring feeling in the world may, in fact, be the one that gets you to your financial goals. Of course, that's if you use it well. Turning to mindless web browsing during a lazy day won't help you make a lot of money.
But if you're the type who uses your spare time productively, you're more likely to come up with a business, invention or investment idea that will reward you with more money than you could spend in a lifetime.