The main thing I see, at least in the tech community is that millionaires tend to be really good at understanding systems of value creation (AKA successful startups) and placing themselves into those systems effectively. They smartly interview for and get great jobs in these companies. They not only do that, but they are smart enough to understand the culture being put into place and they take on the values of that culture and expand those values. They go out and recruit their smart friends and add to the cult. Over laced on this mindset is the idea that the world is a semi-set place. It’s changing, but they view basically their role as something where they can take part in it all. The difference here then between millionaires and billionaires is quite vast.
Billionaires (AKA the founders of these few companies) tend to view the world as a tangibly fungible place. Billionaires see the world and want to move the puzzle pieces entirely around. They look for the faults in the ecosystem and identify massive holes and what could be added to take that value. Then they spend about 10 years maniacally attacking the gap, organizing people, recruiting and generally creating a cult. They create a bible so to speak of values and ideas that bundle together in an appealing way to attract other smart people (aka the future millionaires.) The billionaires I know don’t look forward to the weekend. They don’t drink. They work from 5am to midnight everyday including weekends. They don’t socialize with friends, they mix friends and work. It’s all one big chain that supports their vision of the future and tying up the value. This is a different internal programming. It’s admirable. Most folks actually rely on these billionaire groups to get their own jobs.
I think then the last group of “ordinary” folks are simply disconnected from these valuable new parts of the economy. What do you do if you live in Trent, Michigan today? The auto plants around you are closing. It’s tough to be a billionaire potential person in that environment, but 100 years ago in 1912 it was actually possible. Ask the Ford family about this.
So overall, location, timing, industry and proximity can come into play. Tech is what’s happening now, but other industries happened before. 1950s Texas oil well drilling, 1910s autos Michigan, 2010s Silicon Valley. There is much to discuss, but the mindset pieces are the key and may be universal.
Read Alex Moore’s answer to, “What Kind of Mentality Differentiates Billionaires from Millionaires and “Ordinary People”?” on Quora