10 Things I learnt from hanging out with the top 1%

The top 1% isn’t the same as the top 0.1%. I don’t have access to the 0.1% as they are in a very private circle. However, I’ve had many opportunities to mingle with the ‘creme’.

They don’t always agree with each other, but there are common things that I have gleaned in my interactions with them. In a way, this post is a reflection of the good practices that I should be engaging in.


“Where do I meet these people” is what you’re probably asking. There are family friends, alumnus groups, Twitter, and sometimes, the random stranger whom I happen to meet on life’s journey. Then there’s the church I used to and currently go to, whose many members are head of organisations and business owners. My many interactions with them have made me think hard since my life feels rather mediocre at this point.


1. They work hard

They put 100% in all that they do and don’t make excuses. They’re not wasting their time doing frivolous stuff but instead, are engaging their time in a worthy manner. Some don’t separate their job from their lives, instead, they see a job, or the business as part of a fulfilling life. This is where opinions differ amongst the 1%.

hard work

2. They regret not putting family first

Some who have been unable to separate work from family life have regretted that they didn’t spend more time with their kids. A common theme of having missed their kid’s growing up years have resonated in the many stories that I’ve heard. I can’t identify with this as this point as I don’t have a kid yet, but it sure is food for thought.

goose family

3. They are neat and organised

Marie Kondo may be on to something. A lot of the successful people I meet have immaculate houses and a neat working desk. Being organised helps save you time in finding things so you can focus on the more important things in life. It is true that there are messy geniuses, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. For most people, saying a messy table is a ‘sign of genius’ is likely an excuse.

Each tool has a defined place so that it can easily be located

4. If they need to have debt, it is good debt

Not all debt is equal, there is credit card debt and personal loan debt, and then there is housing debt and education debt. The former is unregulated spending, whereas the latter  is using debt for leverage. I will talk about this in detail in another post.

5. They are always improving their craft

“The master has failed more than the beginner has even tried”. You would think they are already good at what they do from all the years of honing their craft but they think differently. True craftsmen are never satisfied with where they’re at and are always honing their craft.

6. They make time to exercise

This has been one of the most unifying themes of all the successful people I meet. Whether it’s cardio or doing strength training, they make time apart from their busy schedules to squeeze in a workout. Many CEO’s wake up early to exercise before their day starts. I’m not sure how much earlier I can wake up since I have to be up before 6am. I’m definitely exercising the thought.

exercise running

7. They spend time with God

This isn’t a reflection of everyone I’ve met since not everyone believes in a creator God. But for those whom I have met at church, this theme has resonated strongly in their success.

pray bible

8. They give and continue to keep giving…

And they don’t want anybody to know. Well, some of them at least. 好心有好报?

9. They keep “buidling”.

No, that’s not a typo. It’s actually a word in the blockchain world. This website explains what “buidl” is in greater detail. It’s easy to feel confident when everyone else is, but when the hype dies down, you’re left with people who are working day in and out to build something that mainstream hasn’t fully adopted yet. The internet took a decade or two before public acceptance and look at where we’re at now, WIFI is now at the base of “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs!”

pin wifi
If you’re checking your phone 10 times an hour, this is probably true for you

10. They know that at the end of day, “All is vanity.”

Nothing reminds me of these two sayings more than the words that the wisest king in the world, king Solomon has penned down:

Ecclesiastes 1: Vanity of vanities… all is vanity

Ecclesiastes 9:11 – I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.



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