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I Am Not Rich

December 13, 2016

Well, I am rich, in relationships and in comparison to 99% of the world, which is nothing to sneeze at, but I have not amassed a lot of filthy lucre, or even clean lucre.

Facetiously, I say it’s because I’m lazy, but that isn’t true.

I could say it’s because my passions aren’t lucrative ones, but that isn’t true, either.

I’d like a lot of money, but wanting a lot of money isn’t enough. Neither is burning for a lot of money. Money doesn’t even have to be your passion, because almost everyone has that.

To be fiscally wealthy, money has to be part of your identity. It has to be less about wealth and more about counting coup, about keeping score. I get a charge out of seeing money in my bank account, but it doesn’t define me. If I have a lot in there, I don’t look at myself differently than if I don’t.

I know a lot of rich people. All of them made big bucks by building a company that does well.  Extremely well. In most cases it isn’t love of money that moves them, just a way of keeping score. Some would be OK if they didn’t have money, others would be lost. Their self-worth would plummet.

I’m simply not wired that way. I keep score by the well-being of the people I impact. For example, I feel awful that I billed a customer a lot of money (far less than other ghostwriters, but still a lot), with the understanding that his organization would promote it. They didn’t so he didn’t make any of his money back. This bothers me no end. I accept that I earned it, but I feel like I harmed my client. He doesn’t even feel that way, but I do.

In the restaurant I had a stake in, it isn’t that we weren’t profitable, but that one time we took forever to serve a lunch because we had a big order that took precedent.  I still have nightmare about that, even though it was our biggest day to that point.

It isn’t even a Christian thing, because before I was a Christian, my best friend lost tens of thousands of dollars that was mine. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t mad at him, choosing the relationship over the money.

I’m not fit to be a CEO or COO. I do better as a worker than an owner because I put my employer’s needs as a priority, not my own need for money.

That does not make me a better person than a wealthy man or woman. Pretty sure I was born that way. I’m just different.  And probably not all that different, since there is such a small fraction of wealthy people.

Nor does this suggest that a person can’t have two or more scorecard metrics.


Counting Coup – A First Nation practice of getting close enough to an enemy to touch them. Different people keep score in different ways.

Look at Shark Tank for a moment. Robert seems like a nice guy who probably is great to work with/for. I suspect that Mr. Wonderful is too, even though his persona is the opposite on the show. I’d guess that if it became a contest between money and people, that Mr. Wonderful would go for money and Robert might go for people—to a point.

Then there’s Mark Cuban, who I would have classed like Mr. Wonderful, but he put his foot down and said the 2% charge every contestant owed the show, deal or not deal, had to be retroactively removed or he wouldn’t continue with the show. Again, I’d guess money would win out with him, but it isn’t to say he’s a jerk to people.

People are wired differently. I hadn’t thought about applying to class, but I suppose it does. Plenty of poor people are now wealthy people. I am wired to provide for my family, no matter what. Other people may count coup in a completely different manner than me or the rich.

What’s your scorecard metric?





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