Shards of Consciousness

Why You Won't Be Rich

In Let Success Be Your Mindset Carolyn Manning at Thoughts & Philosophies referenced an article by Jeffrey Strain called 10 Reasons You Aren't Rich.

Jeffrey, and many others of the people who write about money miss a simple, though huge point about why so many of us aren't rich.

Truth be told, we don't want to be rich. Don't get me wrong. Most of us act like financial idiots. Are we in debt up to our ears? Yes. Do we buy things we can't afford? Yes. If our income suddenly stopped could we survive six months until we could get it kickstarted into action again? No. Do we save enough for our retirement? No.

But.... Deep down, as incoherent as the thought may be, most of us know that money is a tool, not an end in itself.

Most of us want what money can buy. We want a roof over our heads. We want good food and clothing for ourselves and our families. We want a decent means of transportation. We want to have some fun. We want to know if we or our family get sick, we'll be taken care of. We want educational opportunities. How much of these we want will decide in large part how much money we want to make, and how hard we're willing to work for it.

Oh. There is one other thing money can buy. Freedom. Options. Choices.

Strange as it feels to say it, most of us want only so much freedom. We wiil choose the secure over the insecure almost every time. If you don't believe it, look at the political world. Every day people choose security over freedom. Cameras on the streets? Catch the bad guys. Phone records kept? I've got nothing to hide. GPS in my celphone? Medical services can get to me. The incumbent? Vote for him. Did my father do it? It must be right.

We want to know where our next meal is coming from. We want to have medical care without having to pay for it. We want someone else to make the hard decisions and do the planning so we can go home at night and do something else. We want to be able to get paid to take a vacation.

The unknown is a scary place to be. Knowing we are responsible for the results of the decisions we make is a hard fact to face. Most of us want freedom, but not too much. We want choices, but within limits. Working for someone else, even though it limits our chances of becoming rich, is an easy decision for most of us.

Then look at it from the other side. How many people are actually happier or more content because they have large amounts of money? The information in Reversal of Fortune puts the lie to the idea that increasing wealth beyond a certain level improves our lives.

So... Most of us don't want to be rich - with good reason. We want the goods and services money can buy. We want only limited amounts of freedom. Why should we be rich?

[tags]money, abundance, rich,wealth, security, freedom[/tags]

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9 Responses to Why You Won't Be Rich

  • Very interesting take on the idea, Rick. For the most part, we're frightened of the unfamiliar. Something that you said reminded me of why someone would stay in an abusive relationship; because it's familiar and less frightening than the unknown. That's why we're afraid of stepping out, of being more successful, of being rich. We have that comfort level going. It's time to get out of it. (And here I go back into it with an apology: was I too harsh?)

  • Your words weren't harsh at all, Carolyn.

    You're exactly right about the fear of the unknown. Aaron Potts was recently talking about that aspect of it on his blog. Until change is forced (or appears to be forced) on us, most of us don't change because it's less painful to stay in our current situation.

    I'm talking about more than that, though. Most people simply do not have a reason to be rich. Success is another story. Unless you define success as becoming rich, the two have little to do with on another. Success has to do with accomplishing your goals. You may get rich doing so, but it's a side effect, kind of like being fulifilled is a side effect of striving to live the best life you know how, and knowing you have done the best you could.

  • This was going to be a quiet email to you, but we're all too much of a family now. Let whatever needs to come out, come out.

    My feeling is to stay strong with each other.

    On a personal level things have been difficult and it appears I'm letting the familiar take hold while I, at the same time, try to extricate myself from them.

    "Rich" is relative. Once upon a time it said "wealth, with all of its parts". Perhaps we should go back and think about that.

  • It's hard to stay awake. It's hard to change old habits of thought. Never a straight line. Not even a spiral, but rise and dip, circle and regroup. If we're lucky we catch ourselves nodding off and returning to habits we want to change. Then we give ourselves a good shake and say Wake up! I've been there. It doesn't work.

    There isn't anything inherently wrong with material abundance. Nor is it an "outward sign of an inward grace". Beyond their needs, it doesn't seem to me that most people care how much money they have. And that's okay.

  • Rich, I hear what you are saying. On the other hand if we are driven only by money, you become a taker. If on the other hand, you connect well with others in the world, money becomes a tool for giving. That comes back to bless you immensely. This is how I live and it is very rich! Riches are found in things money cannot buy.

    #802 | Comment by Robyn on April 4, 2007 10:03am
  • ...wealth, with all its parts

    I've never heard that saying, Carolyn. Where's it from?

    Robyn - Life is poorer and meaner without some of the things money can buy. It sounds like you've found a secret to happiness. :-)

  • Rick, I've been reading and re-reading Think and Grow Rich, so maybe the quote was from Napoleon Hill. Most nights, I fall asleep with it next to me (is it time to back to Dickens or Hemingway? Maybe.)

    When I find the passage, I'll let you know.

  • You are right. A lot of people who are rich aren't very happy at all. But I think their motivations for getting rich were all wrong to start with and it just got progressively worse as they accumulated wealth.

    #1063 | Comment by Warren on May 9, 2007 3:28pm
  • Hi Warren, and welcome to Shards.

    There isn't anything wrong with having a lot of money, but money is usually a stand-in for something else. If you understand what that something else is, you have a lot better chance of being happy.

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