How to have a strong credit score?

Is it true that the only way to have a good credit score is to go the "American Way" and stay in debt all the time?
Update: I just paid off a 72 month loan on a new car. Just paid it off in 28 months.

Come to check my score expecting a 10-15 points rise. Surprise ....a DROP in my credit score. This is complete BS.

I can't afford to live American Way. I am done
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