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Want to Create Wealth? First, Define It Carefully

Why do so many people want to get wealthy but so few actually do?

Jeremiah Rogers
Jeremiah Rogers
3 min read
Want to Create Wealth? First, Define It Carefully

Why do so many people want to get wealthy but so few actually do?

One reason is that most of us are conflicted about creating wealth. Part of us wants the freedom and opportunity provided by abundance while another resists the negative labels that tend to be applied to success.

Last week I was working with a first time client who had many reasons to acquire wealth but had not made much progress. I invited him to play a game and complete the sentence "Money is..." 10 times. Below are some of the answers that came up:

"Money is..."

  • ... made up value.
  • ... the root of all evil.
  • ... relative to society.
  • ... an outcome of capitalism.
  • ... a way to keep score of power.
  • ... made through ownership and investing, not hard work.
  • ... a driver of inequality.
  • ... an investment in the future.
  • ... an enabler of a luxurious lifestyle.
  • ... an enabler of everything.

Are most of these views helpful or harmful for creating wealth? Would you want to create "made up value" and "evil?"

I told my client that his negative views are likely blocking him from creating the money that he needs to pursue his dreams. I also told him that his views are far from unique: many of them are our default anti-wealth cultural programming.

Other people hold similar views. A few months earlier I asked friends to tell me what came to mind when I said the word "wealth." The answers almost universally included negative words like "greedy", "fat", and "lazy."

Would you go out of your way to create something that is greedy, fat, and lazy?

Is wealthy greedy, fat, and lazy? It seems to just as likely to me that wealth is generous, healthy, and energetic. In fact most of the wealthiest people I know are in good physical shape and create more abundance for society than they capture.

In my opinion wealth is neutral. A dollar does no good or evil on its own. Money and wealth only receive meaning when a human gets involved.

Are your views on wealth helpful or harmful? Are they moving you forward or holding you back? One way to reveal them to complete the sentence “Wealth is…” ten or more times out loud. As you progress through the exercise some of your deeply held beliefs may be revealed.

Here are mine. Keep in mind that these answers come after doing a lot of work to remove negative childhood views of wealth.

  1. Wealth is time with my friends.
  2. Wealth is the ability to do what I want, when I want.
  3. Wealth is making a lasting contribution to the world.
  4. Wealth is not worrying about if I will eat or if I have a place to sleep.
  5. Wealth is stored energy.
  6. Wealth is not status or influence.
  7. Wealth is not any specific amount of money.
  8. Wealth is a fountain of time.
  9. Wealth is endless learning.
  10. Wealth is a life on my terms.

Your answers will likely be different. The point is: Any answer that sounds unappealing may be an indicator of where you are holding yourself back.

What is wealth to you? What is money to you? Are they defined in terms that you want to create or in terms that you want to avoid?

P.S. I have a few spots open for one-to-one coaching clients. Learn more about working together.

Also, below are a few of my favorite books about money. I hope one of them has the same impact for you that it did on me...

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This book that introduced me to the idea of planning exactly how you will create wealth. Before reading it I "wished" to someday have money show up in my life. After reading I knew that if I wanted money I needed to decide how much, when, and how I would get it.
  2. Wealth Warrior by Steve Chandler. Steve is one of my favorite coaches and a hilarious storyteller. His books read like Kurt Vonnegut novels. If you want an easy walk through useful wealth mindsets this book is incredible.
  3. The Dhando Investor by Mohnish Pabrai. How did one family from India end up owning most of the motels in the USA? This book tells the story and provides a fantastic introduction to investing.
  4. MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins. I've read close to 100 books on the nuts and bolts of personal finance. I wish I had read this one first. It covers much of what the other novels do in a cleaner and easier to read format.