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Do Rich People Think Differently?

31 January 2013

Recently, author Steve Siebold has stirred up quite a bit of controversy surrounding the different classes of people, and why some people are rich and some people well, aren’t. Siebold claims to have spoken to hundreds of millionaires over a 30-year period of time, getting to know the rich, what makes them tick, and more specifically, what kind of thinking separates them from everyone else. Below are the highlights of his list on how rich people think differently from the average middle-class working person. See if you agree or disagree.

While average people think money is the root of all evil, the rich believe poverty is the root of all evil.
While  this may make sense to a degree, Siebold argues that “the average person has been brainwashed to believe rich people are lucky or dishonest,” whereas that may not actually be true. He gives evidence of this fact by saying that there’s a certain shame factor that goes along with those in low income neighbourhoods that suddenly strike it rich. Really? We’ve seen no evidence of this, as those who “get rich” usually seem genuinely happy about it.

Rich people try to make themselves happy, while average people try to make others happy.
“The rich go out there and try to make themselves happy. They don’t try to pretend to save the world,” Siebold actually said to Business Insider when promoting his book.

This is just wrong on so many levels. Firstly, average people aren’t always trying to save the world. Often times they’re simply trying to provide for their families. Secondly, wanting to save the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re destined to a life of poverty. Thirdly, most rich people try to save the world in some way through donations. Even if they don’t want to, most need to for tax purposes.

Rich people do for themselves, while average people wait for others to do things for them.
This is one of the most controversial that we heard.

Seibold says, “While the masses are waiting to pick the right numbers and praying for prosperity, the great ones are solving problems. The hero middle class people are waiting for may be God, government, their boss, or their spouse. It’s the average person’s level of thinking that breeds this approach to life and living while the clock keeps ticking away.”

We’re not sure exactly what he’s trying to say here, if not that average people don’t want to do anything for themselves. Either way, we disagree.

Rich people seek out certain kinds of education, while average people seek out formal education.
This one we actually agree on with Seibold. He says, “Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge.”

That’s true; it only takes a quick scan of a roomful of real estate investors to see it. Many have simply been in the business of flipping houses since their dad started a family company; or contractors are working on cars from their home garages because mechanics are all they ever knew. The point is, you don’t need to have 8 years of university under your belt in order to get rich. You simply have to be very knowledgeable about something specific.

Rich people make money doing things they love, while average people take jobs they hate simply to make money.
It’s  inarguable that sometimes, average people take jobs they don’t love in order to put food on the table. And you also can’t deny the fact that the Oprah Winfreys, Donald Trumps, and Taylor Swifts of the world are doing what they love to do most. But, this is a dangerous generalization to make. Many “average” people do what they love, and earn just pennies for it. If you don’t believe it, start learning more about the local artists in your community.

Rich people challenge themselves while average people don’t set expectations.
Seibold says, “Psychologists and other mental health experts often advise people to set low expectations for their life to ensure they’re not disappointed.”

We’ve never heard of mental health experts suggesting people don’t set goals for themselves. And we also don’t believe that every single average person is seeking the advice of thees psychologists and other experts. This isn’t just a bold statement, it’s a downright wrong one.

While rich people get rich on other people’s money, average people think you must have money before you make any.
Yes, this one also has a hint of truth to it. It is in fact, another version of saying that you must make your money work for you. By investing in things, real estate especially, you sit back and watch your money grow while other people foot the bill. And the stock market? That’s all about getting rich off other people’s money – there it’s called buying low and selling high.

Rich people take risks with their money, while average people play it safe with theirs.
This one also is true and again, it’s all about what investment is based on. While “average people” (we still hate using that word,) might focus on things such as socking away money in a savings account, where they know it will be when they need it, rich people are more prone to take risks with their money. The stock market, flipping houses, becoming a landlord – none of these come without risks, yet they’re strategies carried out by “rich people” all the time.

So what do you think of Siebold’s points? For the most part, do you agree or disagree with them? And do you have any other ideas about what the rich think, versus what the average person thinks?

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