A billionaire's three keys to following in his footsteps

Innovation Hub
Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize foundation, speaks about the "tricorder" prize during a keynote address at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize foundation, speaks about the "tricorder" prize during a keynote address at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Steve Marcus/Reuters

This article is going to show you how to become a billionaire and change the world.

At least, there’s a chance it will. It’s not a huge chance, percentage-wise. But author, entrepreneur, and all-around tech heavyweight Peter Diamandis does have some advice for potential entrepreneurs who want to create the next earth-shattering company.

Diamandis is a pretty good person to get advice from: He started the X-Prize, he’s the chairman of Singularity University and he’s a co-founder of Human Longevity, Inc.

So here are three takeaways that will definitely make you a billionaire. Maybe.

1. Be Optimistic

Aside from luck, Diamandis argues, the thing that separates billionaires from everyone else is a way of looking at the world. Diamandis finds that pessimists are less likely to invest in risky projects, and it’s those types of bold endeavors that change the world and make people Scrooge McDuck-level rich.

The people who become billionaires are “willing to take big shots, what my friends at Google call 'moon shots,'" Diamandis says. "They’re not thinking about 10 percent bigger, but they’re thinking 10 times bigger. And that’s more and more possible these days.”

Diamandis also argues that risk-taking — and succeeding — is more possible in today's world than ever before. Back in 2000, the cost of getting an Internet business going was around $5 million. Now Diamandis thinks you can start your company with just $5,000.

On top of that, crowdfunding can be a major resource for a budding entrepreneur or creative type; billions have been raised for businesses that way over the past couple of years. And the growth of technology like search engines gives lots of people access to a preponderance of information and resources. That's why Diamandis believes it’s a great time to be optimistic about the future, which is exactly the mindset he thinks people need to become wealthy.

2. Do What You Love To Do

Now, if what you really like to do is produce engaging public radio, this might not strictly apply. That aside, Diamandis thinks the only way to become successful is to find what you enjoy doing, and then go forth and do it.

“Any time I’ve tried to start something just to make money, or just become someone told me to, it’s either failed or it’s not been fun," he says. "It’s [all about] what do you love doing, what are you passionate about, what would you want to do if no one paid you? Go do that. Because you can make a dent in the world, and you can make a business out of anything these days.”

3. Problems Can Be Wonderful

The world is probably always going to have problems, and Diamandis thinks that could be the key to amassing as much money as Charles Foster Kane. “Ask people what the biggest problem in their life is, and then solve it," he says. "Problems are gold mines. If you’re saying there’s no great ideas left, it’s like saying there are no problems left.” 

Beyond the "You can be a tech billionaire, too!" rhetoric, he thinks that cool and interesting new ideas can be a truly positive force. "Stop working on another photo-sharing app and go and solve the world’s biggest problems," in his words. Though if you’re able to solve the world’s problems and still get rich, that’s an added bonus.

This story is based on an interview from PRI's Innovation Hub with Kara Miller