I was sitting at a coffee shop doing some early morning reading and writing, and a fairly attractive lady next to me spilled her coffee all over her Louis Vuitton purse. As she was frantically trying to dry up the mess, she was pulling things out, and sure enough, she pulled out a matching Louis Vuitton wallet. In an effort to offer some napkins and help remedy the mess, I offered my help. She thanked me and I said you are welcome, but I couldn’t help but ask what sort of profession she was in. I’m always interested in hearing success stories, and after all, she was wearing $30,000 in clothes, purses, jewelry, etc., so I did.

Sure enough, catching me a little off guard, she tells me that she’s an exotic dancer. It’s not exactly what I was expecting her to say, but nonetheless, it’s a career choice that can certainly be highly lucrative.

I proceeded to ask her how much money she makes a year, and she tells me she makes $250,000. Income-wise, she was certainly killing it, putting her in the top 5% of income earners. Of course, when I asked her how much money she saves, she says that with $14,000 a month in rent for a luxury apartment in Manhattan, a Ferrari, and a lavish traveling schedule, not much gets put away for the future.

I couldn’t help but suggest to her how “fortunate” she is to be making that sort of money and that she should really be saving as much as possible, especially with any turn of events that would put her out of commission, with age being the inevitable and ultimate income killer. I’m not exactly sure what the “Tropical Paradise” offers in terms of benefits and retirement.

Surprisingly, even making all the income she was making, she told me she felt broke.  Talk about a real “first-world problem,” making $250k a year and feeling broke. But in the end, I get it. It doesn’t matter what your income is, if your financial house is a wreck, you will sink.

We didn’t have time to spend chatting, but I told her she should definitely start saving and understand that wealth is strategic and there is a recipe for success. And she shouldn’t assume she will just stumble upon a large wealth savings.

We parted ways and I did some more thinking about characteristics of successful people, and it’s true: wealthy people have “hacked” their way into the realm of success. It isn’t haphazard, but very strategic.

Be Positive: Successful people don’t expect perfect situations to fall into their lap. They understand that it is a positive reaction to these events that dictate success in their lives.

Don’t be Negative: Gallup reports that negativity cost the U.S. economy $3 billion in lost productivity in a study done a few years back. This is simply the opposite of the last, but worth mentioning. Negative emotions cause health problems, decreased life expectancies, inabilities to pursue careers, lack of team building effectiveness, and an overall detrimental outlook on life.

***Put simply, if you are positive about tomorrow, you are much more inclined to take prudent steps in your life that will enable you to fully enjoy what tomorrow has for you. If you are negative, there is no upside for tomorrow, so there’s no reason to try, and the downward spiral perpetuates.***

Aim for Perfection: The wealthy expect perfection from everyone they work and deal with, but they also are willing to accept excellence. This is in line with over-delivering for people. You always hear about over-delivering for others, but don’t forget to over-deliver for yourself. It’s energy you will feed on for your life.

Take a lot of Chances: Wealthy people make a lot of small bets in life. They don’t usually take big risks, but many small risks, with one or two of them realizing those game-changing 10,000% life returns.

Break the Rules: Conventional wisdom, if followed too closely, will box you into a $35,000 a year job, working until you’re 65 and dying broke. You have to remember that it is unconventional people that take a less traveled road. When you make your own rules -- and get others to play accordingly -- then you control the game and, to a great degree, the outcomes.

Don’t be Greedy: Nobody likes working with someone who is always trying to take advantage of them. Wealthy people understand this, so they provide greater value than they take – so much so that the most successful opportunities gravitate towards them.

Create Luck: Lazy luck is rare, and those who have it are usually not fulfilled and generally blow every dime of it. Wealthy people know they have to create opportunities and act. Luck is simply where preparation and opportunity meet.

As a side note, there is a major misconception among the liberal mindset that wealthy people were handed their success and they didn’t “earn” being where they are. These people should consider reading this list and instead of complaining and “being negative,” they should spend their time positively pursuing a greater future for themselves and the people around them.

If I had an opportunity to share some more words of wisdom with that stripper, I would go down this list of “hacks” that the wealthy people have discovered that elevate their lives and create a recipe for success.

Be positive, love people, and learn to fully enjoy the present moment you have been given in your life.