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The 5-Hour Rule of Successful Billionaires

Posted: Sep 09,2020

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“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero.”

— Charlie Munger, Self-made billionaire & Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner


Did you know that Barack Obama spends at least one hour a day to read a book?

Did you know that Warren Buffett invests 80% of his time in reading and thinking of new career ideas?

Did you know that Bill Gates finishes one book a week and takes a two-week vacation every year just to rest a read a good book?


Why do the world’s richest and busiest people find at least one hour a day for deliberate learning (thus, the 5-hour rule), while others make excuses about how busy they are?


Learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.


Knowledge is the new money


We spend our lives collecting and spending money that in fact when we say “we don’t have time” to learn something new, it’s usually because we are devoting our time to earning money by working overtime. Living in a third world economy, we always think that the more we work hard, the more money we earn.

“hardwork = money”

This is no longer 100% true.


We are at the beginning of rapid demonetization, in which technology has almost replaced previously expensive products or services, at a much cheaper price (or even free). For example, we no longer need encyclopedias, we can just search our queries on Google. As realtors, if we’re looking for houses for sale in Philippines, we don’t need to jump from one house to another, we can find hundreds of properties with just a few taps. With our smart phones, we don’t need to invest in another camera, watch, voice recorder, nor a video game console. Technology has made our lives easier, and its primary purpose is so to help ease our work.


While goods and services are becoming demonetized, knowledge is becoming increasingly valuable.


Similar to employment, those who work really hard throughout their career but don’t make time out of their schedule to constantly learn will be the new “at-risk” group. They risk remaining stuck at the bottom of a global competition, and they risk losing their jobs to automation, just as blue-collar workers did back in 2000-2010 when robots and tech machines replaced majority of manufacturing jobs.


In a real estate perspective, if don’t innovate, if we still solely rely on exhausting manual efforts such as flyering, booth manning, or hours of driving for personal site trippings, our efforts won’t go that far. We lose our chance meeting new clients we never knew existed. Also, we waste our time on visiting every property that don’t even interest our client.


As we keep innovating new products to help lessen the loads of work, we must also find ways to innovate ourselves. Those who won’t learn will lose their jobs. Yet eventually, the irony will be that the problem isn’t a lack of jobs, but rather, a lack of people with the right skills and knowledge to fill the jobs.


In short, fundamental level knowledge is gradually becoming a unique form of currency or investment. But unlike money, when you use knowledge or give it away, you don’t lose. The more you give away knowledge, the more you:

·      Remember it

·      Understand it

·      Connect it to other ideas in your head

·      Build your identity as a role model for that knowledge


Former President Barrack Obama explained on New York Times why he was so committed to reading a book a day during his Presidency:



At a time when events move so quickly and so much information is transmitted,” he said, reading gave him the ability to occasionally “slow down and get perspective” and “the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes.”



3 Essential skills to master a new knowledge


1.     Identify valuable knowledge at the right time. As new technologies reshape industries, we must also train ourselves to keep up with these changes. Such as in real estate, we must learn to explore online opportunities. We can find a lot of digital playbooks or attend different webinars hosted by Real Estate Brokers.

2.     Learn and master that knowledge quickly. How? Observe how other people excel in their skills. Use it as guide and motivation to do the same, even better. Try to challenge yourself too. You can start by reading 1 month per book, and improve to bi-weekly, then weekly. You will be amazed at how well you improved.

3.     Communicate the value of your skills to clients. Of course, knowledge should be shared. When you share your knowledge, you create an impact on others.



We must shift our focus from being obsessed with money to obsessed with knowledge. We don’t only acquire knowledge from nursery to college, we must constantly learn. Just as we maintain our physical health with vitamins and exercises, we maintain our economic and mental health through deliberate learning. The long-term effects of intellectual complacency is the same with the long-term effects of not exercising, eating well, or sleeping enough. Not learning at least 5 hours per week (the 5-hour rule) is the smoking of the 21st century and may this article be a warning label.



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