When I first read 7 Habits of the Ultra Wealthy, I thought I’d found another great post to share. Inc.com has become one of my go-to sources for great shareable business content recently and here was another gem.
But upon re-reading this piece, I came to a stark realization: I’m not going to ever be ultra wealthy. I just don’t have the personality profile – according to this piece, anyway.
My personality is too focused on fairness and making connections, on learning new skills and evolving as a person – not just as a wealth builder.
It appears I’m destined for mere, middling affluence.
Here’s how I figure:
1. Ultra wealthy take equity positions. I build social capital.
Equity involves risk and I’m a bit risk averse. Sure, I own my consulting business – which I guess is better than being an employee of someone else’s business, but only marginally. I’m just not as good with building equity and leveraging monetary capital as I am with social capital. I like building relationships and adding value to them way more than I like doing deals.
2. Ultra wealthy take advantage in their business dealings. I’m a win-win guy.
To be precise, the article used the phrase “gain an advantage”, but I’ve dealt with people like that and they try to take advantage – of people, situations, knowledge gaps, etc. In fact, this behaviour is often lionized as being a sharp negotiator. Thing is, I’m wired differently. I’m more of a win-win type of guy. I see fairness in business dealings as a prime measure of success. I feel bad if I knowingly take advantage of someone.
Focus on core competencies and delegate the rest. In theory, I have no argument with that. In practice, I know I love doing new things, embracing new technologies and new ways of thinking. I get bored before putting in the 10,000 hours Gladwell says I need to become a real expert. Instead, I strive to embrace change and be a quick study. Give me a year or two in a new field and I’ll be able to hold my own with the experts, or at least recognize who really knows their stuff and who is a pretender. But after 5 years, it’s time to move on, broaden my horizons and tackle something new.
4. Ultra wealthy hire smarter people. I hire for compatibility.
Again, this is great business advice in theory, but harder to do in practice. As a constant learner, I’d rather learn to do something new than hire and manage someone else to do it. And when I do hire out, I look for complementarity and compatibility which is decidedly not hiring smarter.
5. Ultra wealthy know their associates. I’ve chosen friends to work with.
I’ve been in business with a number of associates over the years and I’ve repeatedly chosen good, solid people – but for the wrong reasons. I chose them because I liked them and respected them, not because I understood their objectives in life. Or because we had deep-seated compatibilities professionally or in our business aspirations. We didn’t.
Fail! I get way too attached. I actually tell prospects in the sales process that I care about building a long term business relationship with them and that I’m willing to be flexible. And I mean it. I find myself getting attached to people and organizations that I like and want to work with – which makes walking away all the more difficult. I’m not even great at walking away from bad clients, but I’m much better than I used to be.
7. Ultra wealthy learn from failure. Me too.
I’ve had my share of failure and I’m a life-long learner, so I’m not too bad on this count. But my failures have been far from spectacular. And I’ll be honest: I don’t like to fail. Who does? Learning is all well and good, but who really likes learning life’s toughest lessons? The ultra wealthy do, apparently.
Don’t get me wrong here. Some of the most enjoyable people I know are ultra wealthy (or aspiring to be) and I love their spirit, drive and energy.
One of my favorite memes circulating in the social networks these days is this:
Happy people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything. (Tweet this)
I guess that says it all, eh.