How to get rich without overexerting yourself

Barbara Corcoran has an unpopular opinion that sets her apart from most multimillionaire entrepreneurs.

“I don’t think you should work hard to get rich,” Corcoran, founder of real estate company The Corcoran Group and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, told CNBC Make It Life never came to mind. And I’m rich.”

Corcoran has certainly worked hard to reach her current status: the 74-year-old investor struggled with literacy and math at school due to her dyslexia, and used problem-solving skills and resilience to create her own at the age of 23, almost 30 Breaking into real estate years later, she sold her company for $66 million.

But she says she’s never put her work ahead of other aspects of her life, like family, health or leisure.

Some of the world’s most prominent business moguls appear to be opting for the latter. Elon Musk works practically every day of the year except “two or three days,” he told CNBC’s David Faber in May. But lately, the billionaire has signaled he sees the value of slowing down.

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone has encouraged working 95 hours a week to reach a seven-figure net worth. “If you can outperform the rest of the population, you’re going to be lucky,” Cardone told CNBC Make It in 2017. “If you gave me $5 billion, I’d still be grinding tomorrow.”

How to get great results without sacrificing work-life balance

According to a May 2021 report by the World Health Organization and the Internal Labor Organization, people who work long hours are at higher risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke. According to a 2014 Stanford study, productivity also drops sharply when a person works more than 50 hours a week.

Corcoran suggests you ask yourself two questions that will help you focus on working smarter instead of just working harder:

  1. How could I make it even better tomorrow?
  2. How can I outperform my competition?

Then find sustainable ways to act on the answers you find, such as completing tasks one at a time and taking breaks when needed.

People who follow this plan “get rich,” says Corcoran. “The money comes and somehow finds them.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns exclusive off-network cable rights to Shark Tank.

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Why Barbara Corcoran isn't saving money — and how it's made her rich

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