Everyone wants to be rich, but that begs the question: What is rich? After all, you can’t get rich if you don’t know what rich is.
A recent email exchange with a reader illustrates the problem of getting rich.
Reader: I write to you today as I would like to here more about your opinion of the so called ‘Law of Attraction‘, particularly putting it in action on a daily basis.
Me: Let’s start off this way. What is it that you want to attract?
Reader: Wealth. Shameless as it may well be I’m in my 20s, and I want to be rich now whilst I’m young to truly experience amazing things, not when I’m old.
Me: What is wealth? What is rich? Why is being over 30 old?
a) Wealth as in money, which opens doors;
b) Rich as in quality of life experience; and
c) Old as in incapable of fully enjoying the fruits of the world (as facilitated by money).
Me: What does that even mean?
The reader has been told his entire life he needs to get rich. Does he even known what the perfect day as a rich man would look like?
What is rich?
I’ve heard many people give their answer over the years. The Millionaire Next Door (Amazon) says you’re rich when you have enough in savings to sustain your current lifestyle for 10 years without working.
It seems more everyone has a different definition of rich.
The best definition of rich I’ve ever heard comes from Naval Ravikant. In an interview some years ago, he said something that stuck with me.
The interviewer asked him about his fuck-you number. (It wasn’t phrased quite like that.) In other words, how much more money would Ravikant need to make before he was done? His answer stuck with me.
“More money wouldn’t change how I live my life.”
That is rich.
Now some take issue with that definition. I brought up that definition the other day on Twitter.
A friend of mine said, “Mike, you have a BMW convertible. Of course more money would change how you live. You’d buy a Ferrari!”
I don’t like talking about my net worth, as it’s not relevant to my message. Some would be surprised to learn that I’ve done OK.
It is not sour grapes to say I have enough.
Yes, my lifestyle is humble. Many of you would view me as a simple man who wears old clothing. On any given day I am wearing one of several different Henleys from H&M that cost $9.95 each.
I do not appear to be successful or intelligent. If anything, I look like a gym rat.
Does this mean I don’t want more money? No. I am actively pursuing several different revenue streams (rivers, actually).
But my desire to earn more money is not out of some misguided effort to get rich. It is because making money ethically is a sure sign that you are delivering value and goodwill to the world.
Now that we know what it means to be rich, let’s talk about those three ways to never get rich.
How to never get rich.
1. Don’t appreciate what you have. If you don’t appreciate what you have, then you will never have enough money.
2. Compare yourself to others. Define your existence based on the cars other people drive and the clothing they wear. Since someone will always have more than you, you will never get rich.
3. Focus on the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Learning that value is irrelevant means you’ll never recognize a good opportunity when it’s right in front of your face.
Should you focus on making more money or on appreciating what you have?
Money is like oxygen. You need it or you’ll die. The right answer is that you should focus on both.
I am not here to hate on wealth or money.
I would challenge you to rethink what it is that you think money can buy, and to ask yourself whether you aren’t richer than you think.