5 lifestyle changes to make you more successful, from Charlie Munger, Mark Zuckerberg and others

Waiting to win the lottery, find the perfect job opportunity or come up with a genius idea to launch a startup will, more often than not, fail to produce the results you want.

If you’re trying to earn more money or get ahead in your career, take a look at how you could improve the way you manage your money, handle your career and present yourself.

Here are five lifestyle changes that could help you become more successful, from some of the biggest names in business:

1. Pick up a book, not your phone

Warren Buffett’s business partner Charlie Munger graduated from Harvard Law School without ever having received an undergraduate degree. The investing guru and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathawaycredits much of his success to a habit he and Buffett share — reading.

He says young people should spend less time on their phones and more time buried in books.

Charlie Munger, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett

CNBC | Getty Images
Charlie Munger, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero,” says Munger, according to David Clark, author of “The Tao of Charlie Munger.”

Scientific research supports Munger’s advice to read more. Several studies have found that people who read show higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence and are more likely to stay mentally sharp.

2. Start investing more

Saving will only get you so far, according to billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban. The co-host of ABC’s “Shark Tank” says that becoming a millionaire involves taking calculated risks.

Investing in a mutual fund can be a great way to start building wealth, Cuban tells Money, because they’re relatively low-risk compared, to other investments.

Billionaire Mark Cuban

Photo by Justin Sullivan
Billionaire Mark Cuban

You’ll also begin tocompound your wealth, and investors agree that compounding — when money grows with “interest on interest” — is crucial to growing your portfolio.

3. Follow your “hunger”

Boxed CEO Chieh Huang, who co-founded a startup that now brings in more than $100 million in annual revenue, says that the most successful people have an incredible “hunger” for success.

Huang, who grew up poor, says that an extreme determination to better himself is what made the difference in his career. He worked hard to graduate from John Hopkins University and Fordham Law School and, eventually, to start his retail company.

Chieh Huang

Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Chieh Huang

In job interviews, he asks candidates to describe their life’s story in an effort to see if the job seeker is truly determined. How you describe yourself, he says, reveals a lot about your work ethic and personality.

“Without that hunger,” the CEO says, “intelligence alone gets you nowhere.”

4. Live within your means

According to Cuban, if you want to become rich, you need to live frugally. The entrepreneur once went to extreme measures to save money, but he says they paid off.

“I did things like having five roommates and living off of macaroni and cheese, and I was very, very frugal,” Cuban told Money. Living well below his means enabled him to save money and pursue a rewarding career.

Many other successful people suggest the same strategy, including Cherie and Brian Low, acouple who paid off $127,000 in just four years.

"Queen of Free" Cherie Lowe and her husband, Brian.

Cherie Lowe
“Queen of Free” Cherie Lowe and her husband, Brian.

“Every time you check out at the grocery store, you need to look in your cart and find three to five items that you don’t need,” Cherie says. “You will save $5 to $10 every time you shop without cutting a single coupon.”

Cherie and Brian say that exercising self-control made all the difference to their financial health. With less debt and more in savings, they are happier and much less stressed.

5. Think like an entrepreneur

At Facebook, there’s a saying “Move fast and break things” — a nod to the company’s software engineers who “break” and then improve its code.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

But according to Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, thinking like an entrepreneur and a hacker is what has set his company apart from other tech startups.

“I think good engineers and good technical entrepreneurs have that instinct where, when there’s something they want to build, just go do it,” Zuckerberg says in the podcast Masters of Scale.

“Be entrepreneurial about it,” he adds, “and be a hacker and go do it.”

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