Monday, October 29, 2007

Differences between the wealthy and not-so-wealthy.

I heard an interview with Keith Cameron Smith and took notes. Then I edited his observations and added some of my own to come up with the following meditation on key differences between wealthy and not-so-wealthy people . . . or between those we might call "successful" and those who are not-so-successful.

The one set of characteristics, I am convinced, does lead to success. The others do not.

Time Frames.

  • Extremely poor people think in terms of days.
  • Poor people think in terms of weeks.
  • Middle class people think in terms of months.
  • Wealthy people think in terms of years.
  • Extremely wealthy people think in terms of decades.
Personal Goals.

  • Wealthy: FREEDOM
  • Middle class: COMFORT
  • Poor: SURVIVAL
Some Words of Wisdom

  • "Seek and you shall find," said Jesus. It takes longer to seek and find freedom than comfort. It takes longer to seek and find comfort than mere survival.
  • "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). A corollary: With vision, you can flourish.
  • Wealthy are comfortable with delayed gratification.
  • Middle class seek instant gratification.
  • Delayed gratification is giving up something that you want today so you can have what you want even more tomorrow:
    • Putting aside comfort today for the opportunity to gain freedom tomorrow.
    • Being willing to put aside instant rewards (as a single person: sexual involvement before marriage; as a salesperson: a quick sale . . . ) so as to build a long-term (and, therefore, far more mutually profitable/beneficial) relationships.
Content of speech and thought.

  • Wealthy people think active thoughts about the future: "What can I do? How can I change things?"
  • Non-wealthy people think passive thoughts about the past: "What happened? How was I victimized? Why am I the way I am?"
Two famous comments:

  • Big people talk about ideas.
    Average people talk about things.
    Small people talk about other people.

  • Some people make things happen.
    Some people watch things happen.
    Some people ask "What happened?"
Put those together and you find:

  • Wealthy people
    • think and talk about ideas ["How do I ___?" "Why does . . . ?" "What might [explain, enable, . . . ]?"] and
    • cause events to happen.
  • Middle class people
    • think and talk about things [(baseball, basketball, football . . . ) games, houses, cars, boats] and
    • watch events transpire.
  • Poor people
    • think and talk about other people and
    • ask, "What happened?"
Some Words of Wisdom

  • Non-wealthy people talk about sports, cars, movies, vacation spots. The wealthy own all those things! They talk about how to make or own the things the non-wealthy are willing to spend their money on.
  • The observations concerning speech and thought ought to reinforce the idea that you need to associate consciously and purposefully with people who think and talk in a manner that will help you become what you want to become rather than with those who are where you've been in the past and/or where you are right now.
  • "The tongue has the power of life and death" according to Proverbs 18:21. Our lives are reflections of the things we think and talk about. What you think and talk about, you get. So if you think and talk about things about which you are unhappy, and you concentrate on complaining: expect to find more and more things about which to be unhappy, and expect to "enjoy" a negative attitude. But if you think and talk about things that delight you and for which you express gratitude: expect to find more and more such delightful things in your life and expect to enjoy the blessings of gratitude.
  • Beware of negative vocabulary. Use can more than can't. Use possible more than impossible.

Ask a crowd:
"Do people like change?"

Their almost universal response:

But ask them,
"Do people like positive change?"

And they will say,

  • Non-wealthy people assume change is going to be bad.
  • Wealthy people figure, if the change is positive, then that's great! And if it's negative . . . why, that gives me an opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Wealthy embrace change.
  • Non-wealthy fear and are threatened by change.

    Some Words of Wisdom
    • You don't "get lucky" because you're in the right place at the right time. You "get lucky" because you're prepared.
      "Luck" happens when preparation meets opportunity.

    • Don't ask, "Why is this happening to me?" God permits change in order to help us [possibly us, personally, but, certainly, us as a society as a whole] to grow and to become who and what we should become.
  • Wealthy take calculated risks.
  • Non-wealthy are afraid to take risks.
Calculated risk involves
  • becoming educated first,
  • doing your due diligence, then, before acting,
  • considering the consequences of failure.
    Some Words of Wisdom

    Ask three questions:
    • What's the best that could happen?
    • What's the worst that could happen?
    • And what's the most likely to happen?<
      • If the most likely thing to happen will bring you closer to your goals, and you're willing to "live with" the worst thing to happen, then you should go for it.
      • If the most likely thing to happen will NOT bring you closer to your goals and/or you're unwilling to go through whatever is the worst thing that could happen, then you ought not to do whatever it is.
    Failure, Rejection, Loss.
    • Wealthy embrace failure: "I can learn from it."
    • Non-wealthy see failure as negative or bad.
    • Wealthy concentrate on their personal goals and aspirations rather than the approval of others.
    • Non-wealthy alter their goals and aspirations based on what others say.
    • Wealthy "play to win"; they concentrate on what will enable them to succeed.
    • Non-wealthy "play defense" in hopes of avoiding loss.

      Some Words of Wisdom
      • Think of failure as a verb, not a noun; it's something you do, it's not what or who you are (i.e., "I failed to ____," or "That experiment failed." NOT "I'm a failure.")
      • You have to have a stronger desire for success than desire for the approval of others.
      • You have to play to win in order to win. If a team only plays defense, then they cannot possibly win. Same with you: If you seek only or primarily not to lose, then you are virtually destined to lose.
    Learning, Education.
    • Wealthy continuously learn and grow.
    • Non-wealthy are convinced learning ends at the end of school.
    • Wealthy recognize that knowledge is expensive. They are willing to pay for good advice.
    • Non-wealthy look for free advice.
    • Wealthy think in terms of investment.
    • Non-wealthy think in terms of expense.
    • Wealthy think of money as seeds to grow.
    • Non-wealthy think of money as grain to eat.
    Giving, Generosity.
    • Wealthy people [those who are joyful, happy, rich in spirit] believe in being generous.
    • Non-wealthy people [those who are poor in spirit] believe they can't afford to give.
    • Wealthy have (or create) multiple sources of income.
    • Non-wealthy have only one or two sources of income.
    • Wealthy work to generate profits (passive income).
    • Non-wealthy work for wages.
    • Wealthy people seek to increase their wealth (assets that produce passive income).
    • Non-wealthy people seek to increase their pay.

      Some Words of Wisdom.
      • Seeking merely to build one's paycheck with no view to increasing wealth--profits, passive income--is not only not smart, it is risky.
        • As pay goes up, so do your taxes. You make money; you're taxed immediately, and then you spend what's left over. (Wealthy people, by contrast, make money, spend much of it as they want [as "investment," "seeds," doing good], and then get taxed on the remainder.)
        • As pay goes up, so does your dependence on someone else. Big paychecks are relatively RISKY! (Think airline pilots or the top-dollar employee who does little more than the relatively recent college grad who is making half or a third the salary.)

      • Wealthy say: "I can hire someone to do a task better than I can do it."
        • If you believe only you can do a task, you severely limit your income potential.
        • You need to build teams and seek passive income. When you seek to build teams and acquire assets that produce passive income, hard work comes first; money comes later.
        • An asset that doesn't produce passive income [for example, houses and cars produce no passive income for most owners] is not really an asset from a wealthy person's perspective. As you build your net worth, make sure it is in the form of things that build your passive income.

    Empowering vs. Disempowering Questions

    • Wealthy people ask themselves empowering questions.
    • Non-wealthy people ask themselves disempowering questions.

      Empowering QuestionsDisempowering Questions
      How can I make the money I need to do what I want?How can I get my boss to give me a raise?
      What can I do today to show my wife I love her?Why is it so hard to get along with my wife?
      What can I--indeed, what will I--do today that will help me stay fit and healthy?How did I get to be so fat?
      What can I think about right now that I would enjoy thinking about?Why am I always so stressed?
    Be, Do, Have vs. Have, Do, Be.

    • Wealthy people think, "What must I be and do in order to have ____?"
    • Non-wealthy people, meanwhile, ask, "What must I have so that I can do ___ and be ___?"
    • Wealthy people believe . . . Who I am determines what I do and what I have.
    • Non-wealthy believe . . . What I have determines what I can do and who I can be.
    What, Why, How

    • Wealthy people ask What, Why and How:
      • What kind of person do I want to be?
      • Why do I want to be that kind of person? (Is it what's on my heart?)
      • How do I become what I want to be?

      Then they ask,
      • What do I want to do?
      • Why do I want to do that?
      • How can I enable myself to do that?

      And, finally, they ask,
      • What do I want to have?
      • Why do I want to have it?
      • How can I create or acquire it?
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