The Rich Mindset vs. The Poor Mindset

This is not rich people vs. poor people. There are many poor people with a rich mindset, financially poor due to circumstance. And there are many trust fund babies with a poor mindset.

Rich mindset understands that the first goal is to gain a surplus of resources. Then, to use that surplus to accelerate things. Accelerate education. Accelerate a business. Accelerate the next generation.

Poor mindset immediately sees a surplus as an opportunity for consumption.

Rich mindset seeks to spend their time, resources, and energy on work that continues to pay off long after the effort has been invested. Rich mindset is all about getting a flywheel spinning. Building momentum. Creating systems that continue to generate value on their own.

Poor mindset is all about the short-term returns. Hours-for-dollars. Resources invested without an immediate return are resources wasted.

Rich mindset is willing to invest resources with seemingly no reward right away.

Poor mindset’s immediate thought is, “What’s in it for me?”. “Why pay money to fly to that conference, pay for the hotel, and spend all the time when they’re not even paying you?”

Rich mindset seeks to build relationships based on trust, liking, shared values, and mutual respect. People with the rich mindset help others and cultivate relationships with no expectation of anything in return.

Poor mindset thinks “I scratch your back, you scratch mine”.

Rich mindset understands that its reputation is everything, that trust and respect is earned slowly, through hard-fought, bloody effort – and that both can be lost in an instant.

Poor mindset believes it can get away with compromising its reputation to make a quick buck.

Rich mindset knows that the world isn’t fair, and deals with reality swiftly, humbly, and practically. It knows the world owes it nothing, that the universe is indifferent to its existence, that the default for life is suffering and death. All successes are improbable and should be appreciated as such.

Poor mindset is consumed by the unfairness of the world, and wastes time complaining about it. It feels the world owes it something, and waits for it to be handed out.

Rich mindset celebrates the successes of others. It embraces the competition and often befriends it.

Poor mindset feels jealousy and bitterness about the successes of others. It looks at everything as a zero-sum game.

Rich mindset understands that it can never know everything, and that something can be learned from everyone.

Poor mindset deludes itself into believing it knows everything, and that opposing perspectives are wrong before even hearing them.

Rich mindset understands that it cannot do everything, and that even if it could, it would create greater value by focusing on its core strengths. It knows that the right team is greater than the sum of its parts.

Poor mindset deludes itself into thinking that it can do everything if it just works hard enough.

Rich mindset embraces competition, and knows that iron sharpens iron.

Poor mindset is discouraged by competition. It complains that “someone already got there first,” or that, “they’re obviously going to catch up to me, I might as well quit now.”

Rich mindset quits strategically. It plans to quit in advance, when it realizes the potential gains of a pursuit are either unreachable with current resources or aren’t worth the pain of the work involved.

Poor mind quits in reaction to pain and short-term discomfort.

Rich mindset sticks it out when the going gets tough, provided that the pursuit is worthwhile. It understands the idea of “The Dip” – that anything worth doing will be hard. It understands that the rewards are reaped by those who push through the difficulties of a pursuit precisely because the will to push through is scarce.

Poor mindset sticks things out due to stubbornness. It places too much importance on sunk costs.

Rich mindset understands that there is no “I made it”. No “done”. Life is defined by challenges and learning.

Poor mindset believes that one day they’ll be able to “retire” – to kick back and do nothing. That all work is simply “paying dues” on the way to a life of leisure. Ironically this is the kind of mindset that stifles the ambition and drive required to ever get to the point of having that kind of life as an option.