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Continuing the analysis of the Yahoo! Finance article 21 Ways Rich People Think Differenly, a condensed “interview” with Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think.

3. Average people have a lottery mentality. Rich people have an action mentality.

“While the masses are waiting to pick the right numbers and praying for prosperity, the great ones are solving problems,” Siebold writes.

“The hero [that 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.”

It is obvious that Mr. Siebold has never had to work a crap job in his entire life.

Once again, I’d like to reference John Cheese, because he’s actually written a number of good articles on Cracked.com about his experiences of being poor for most of his life. Specifically, in item #2 of his article 5 Reasons Money Can Buy Happiness (link goes to page 2, with item #2 at the top), Cheese talks about what it’s like to work a low-paying job. He talks about it in the context of hobbies and creativity, but it applies to this point.

In a nutshell, he points out that working low-paying jobs is exhausting. Or, in his own colorful language:

[A]sk me how much I felt like writing after 12 hours of work/commute and then all the other time spent doing home s*** after that (eat, shower, tend to the kids, etc). Unless you wanted an article on “6 Ways I’d Like to F***ing Punch All the Truck Drivers in the C**k,” all you’d get out of me is some low moans about my aching back while I stared sleepily at some Internet boobs. Creativity takes energy. Energy that a waitress or roofer or warehouse worker isn’t going to have at the end of the day.

Though he specifically cites creativity in this passage, it applies more broadly to action. The poor don’t have an “action mentality” because they don’t have the energy for it. There’s nothing left after the demands of work and home. The rich can say all they want about “average people” “choosing” not to better themselves or “choosing” not to pursue opportunities, but for most people that’s a load of crap. They simply can’t do those things without exhausting themselves to the point of collapse, illness, or death.

As for the “lottery mentality” . . . well, I’ll admit, there are a lot of people who fervently hope that someone or something will rescue them from their bad circumstances. That’s human nature! Humans excel at optimism and suck at probability. But think about it: if you didn’t think that tomorrow might bring something better than what you have today, or that next year might be better than the last . . . what’s the point? The fact that most people don’t have the energy to do much about their circumstances does not—and should not—prevent them from hoping for a better future. It’s that very hope that keeps the majority of humanity from committing suicide.

Now, let’s look at one particular turn of phrase that Mr. Siebold uses in the first paragraph: “[T]he great ones are solving problems.”

The “great ones”, Mr. Siebold? Ass-kissing much?

Also, okay, maybe wealthy people are out solving problems while “average people” engage in passive activities. But you know what? Those “problem solvers” aren’t solving those problems all by themselves. They’re using the labor provided by the very same “average people” that they scorn for laziness. They may have a great idea for a product that will revolutionize computing/communication/journalism/underwater basket weaving/whatever, but if they expect their idea to be anything more than an idea, they’re going to have to employ “average people”—a lot of them—to make it happen. Even if it’s something so simple that the prototype was made in a half-hour using only a sewing machine, they still have to hire people, directly or indirectly, to manufacture it. If it’s something more complex, then they need to get engineers involved. And maybe testers. And quality control. And safety inspectors. In other words, the very people that they are accusing of slacking off instead of working to better themselves are the people they rely on to make their own ideas reality.

And then, what about customers? They must have an idea as to who will use the thing that came from the great idea, right? Well, unless they plan to only sell a few to their rich buddies, the people they are relying on for their idea to be successful are . . . anyone wanna guess? Yes, indeed, they are the same people, the “average people” who work all day to make rich folks’ ideas come true, veg all evening because there’s nothing left after they’re done working, and spend sleepless night after sleepless night worrying about whether they have enough money to keep the lights on and eat at the same time.

So, rich people . . . here’s a 411 for ya: YOU NEED US! If we, the “average people” that you spit on, weren’t here, you’d not only be poor yourself—you’d be dead. Deceased. Kaput. Mausetot*. No one to buy your awesome ideas, no one to provide your food, no one to build your homes, no one to defend you against other people coming to take your stuff, no one to keep the wild animals from snacking on your corpse. So any time you start thinking that you’re “self made” or “self sufficient”, think again. Because you’re not. Not by a long shot.

Whew! Okay, so, anyway. Tomorrow we look at education and how Mr. Siebold is either a gullible nitwit or . . . well, actually, no ‘or’. He’s just a gullible nitwit.

-------

*mausetot (MAU-zeh-toht), adj.: Lit. ‘mouse dead’. German idiomatic expression equivalent to the English expression “dead as a doornail”. And, as it happens, just as inexplicable.

P.S.: I honestly thought that I'd have drawn some fire by this point. While I'm relatively glad I haven't, it does seem a bit odd.

Previously in this series: Prelude and Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Chris Wong Sick Hong
Sep. 9th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
Not Sure How to Respond
Hey, Eben. I've been reading these and I'm not sure how to respond without sounding either argumentative or patronizing, but I feel like I should, so...

I hope this helps you get the poison out of your system so you can live a happier, more productive life.
ebenbrooks
Sep. 9th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Not Sure How to Respond
Thanks. Actually, it's been a lot of fun writing these little essays. And it's definitely helping me clarify my own thoughts on these matters.

I've got tomorrow's written already, though I'm having a bit of a block for #5 on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes. I might have to post it a day or two late, depending on how quickly I can break through the block.
trooper6
Sep. 9th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
I just wrote a really long post and it got eaten. Bah...and I can't reproduce it.

So the sort answer: I haven't posted anything because I agree with you completely and I didn't want to be redundant.

But I will say, "Rock on, brother!" Know that I'm reading these posts and agreeing vehemently the entire time.

Also--when triggered, I'll definitely post something!
ebenbrooks
Sep. 9th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks, man. Sorry about the eaten post.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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