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17 Life Lessons We Can Learn From the Wealthy

17 Life Lessons We Can Learn From the Wealthy

People look at wealthy people with a variety of notions. They are seen as snobs, arrogant, that they believe they are better than everyone else, or even that they are trying to buy happiness. Of course, many of these notions have been long-standing ones and are held by people who have never known a wealthy person well enough to comment objectively.

Despite the gulf between you and the wealthy, one thing is certain. The wealthy have learned life lessons that have been gained from earning their wealth. These are life lessons that the rest of us have not experienced, but can learn from:

1. Wealthy people don’t start out pursuing wealth.

Rather, they pursue a passion. Henry Ford pursued his passion–a horseless carriage. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffett pursued their passions. The thing about passion is this: it drives people to move forward, to continue to push themselves, and to not surrender to failure or discouragement. The rest of us pursue income.

We take jobs that will provide paychecks that will allow us to live comfortably; we get raises and promotions, and our lifestyles improve. We spend more as we gain more income, and so we chase more income to spend more. The wealthy, on the other hand, began with a passion for something–investing, cars, computer technology–and they were willing to starve if it meant that they could pursue their passions.

2. Wealthy people enjoy being uncomfortable.

The rest of us want to be comfortable. Wealthy people are driven by uncertainty, and they are happy taking risks when they do not know the outcomes. Ordinary people tend not to take big risks and do not like it when they are out of their comfort zones. Self-made wealthy individuals, throughout our history, have been willing to take big risks.

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3. Wealthy people look toward the future with optimism about what lies ahead, even if it may be uncertain.

Regular people tend to see the “better” life as that which existed in the past. Life was simpler, the music was better, people didn’t live on their devices, and a real man went out and earned a good living for his family. These people look upon the future with some pessimism, often claiming that the world is just “falling apart.” When people don’t look toward a brighter future, they become stagnate and have no big dreams. Wealthy people tend to be more optimistic, and move forward to make a better future.

4. Wealthy people have a Big Plan.

Ordinary people have goals and plans that relate to where they want to go in life, what they want for their kids, and even how they want to spend their retirements. Wealthy people, however, have big plans that do not involve their personal lives. They have plans that will change something in a big way. They want to make the world a better place with their Big Plan.

5. Wealthy people stay confident.

They have developed this confidence in a number of ways, not the least of which is experiencing failure. They fail, they learn from it, and they forge ahead. They cultivate self-assurance because they know this attribute is a great part of the “battle” on the road to wealth.

Regular people lack self-confidence when they are out of their comfort zones, and failure can injure or destroy their self-assurance. As wealthy people succeed, their confidence grows. Regular people who succeed get better jobs and higher income, but those things don’t increase self-confidence. Taking risks and ultimately triumphing, even after many failures, builds their self-confidence. Ultimately, they develop an attitude that there is nothing they cannot accomplish. Henry Ford summed it up when he said, “Whether you think that you can or you can’t, you are usually right.”

6. Wealthy people are careful with friendships.

Once wealth is achieved, old acquaintances and remote relatives will begin to appear in the lives of the rich. Their goals are pretty transparent–to get a piece of the wealth that has been accumulated. When their requests for loans and/or money are denied, they become hateful. Ken Fisher, billionaire owner of Fisher Investments said, “You see an ugly side of our human existence, which is the world of false pretenses seeking your money.”

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7. Wealthy people know the older you get, the less value money has.

As the wealthy age, their desires are for a simpler life, for health, and for more quality time. They spend less on themselves and more on others. This is perhaps a life lesson that all people to ultimately learn. Even the average person who was never wealthy, values these things in their elder years.

8. Wealthy people secure everything.

If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. Those are words wealthy people swear by. While earlier generations of wealthy individuals secured everything in fire-proofed, locked files, today’s wealthy understand the value of having their important personal and financial information securely stored by a featured data storage company. Top notch protection and security for their valuable data is a high priority. They prefer to invest in security in advance, rather then going into huge debt when things unexpectedly go wrong.

9. Wealthy people know that wealth frees your brain.

Wealthy people can dream big; they can envision things that may or may not be possible, but they have these big ideas that they can pursue. Ordinary people, on the other hand, cannot free their brains for the big ideas. They are too mentally consumed with how to make a living, how to support themselves and their families, and when they will be able to afford a new car.

10. Wealthy people know accumulating wealth requires self-discipline.

This is especially true during the accumulation phase. They live below their means, wear inexpensive clothing, and do not own new cars and the best home that their income may allow. They know that to become wealthy they must save and invest while they follow their passions. Regular people want to buy things as soon as their income permits, because they have a desire or need to impress others with what they can afford to purchase. They do not save and invest, and rely instead on their retirement funds and social security to keep them comfortable in their old age.

11. Wealthy people do not fear failure.

They know they may fail, and they know they could lose all of their money on a failed venture. They also know that the next venture is around the corner, and it could be the very one that satisfies their passion and makes them wealthy, too! Ordinary people have a fear of striking out. They fear not having enough money; they fear losing their steady income from their job. People who live is such fear will never accumulate wealth. Most of all, however, they fear failure, because it will bring about all of the other things they fear.

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12. Wealth helps you find more freedom.

Wealthy people are not tied to jobs and debt. If they get ill, they can afford the best doctors. If they have legal troubles, they can afford the best lawyers. If they want to “winter” on the Riviera, they can do it. The average individual is controlled by his boss, by his government, by his debt, and by his need for security. Once you stop caring about all the possible restrictions, change your mindset and start looking and creating possibilities for yourself, rather then just going with the flow. You are able to achieve the same freedom and some extra money along the way. Change your perspective. Stop thinking about how miserable and unfortunate you are and start thinking of ways you can change. For instance, if your student debt is high, consider teaching English in South Korea or Taiwan. The money you’ll earn will let you pay off your deb by the end on the year, plus generate some extra savings to blow up traveling or starting your own business.

13. Wealthy people tend to make friends with even more wealthy and successful people

Why? Because these are the people with whom they not only have common interests, but as well can learn. While they are often criticized for this, in fact, they are just like every other human in this regard. People who like to hunt and fish hang out with others who like to hunt and fish; people who love sports will hang with others who do. Somehow, it is normal and acceptable for average people to do this, but not for the wealthy. It makes them “snobbish” and “arrogant.” When, really, they are just seeking out people with whom they share something in common.

The one simple, yet often overlooked key to success and wealth is to meet and make friends with people who inspire you and whom you’d like to take after. Become friends with the wealthy, smart and successful if you’d like to become one too!

14. Wealthy people understand the difference between assets and income.

It is the goal of someone seeking wealth to accumulate assets, not income. And once those assets are substantial, the wealthy live off of the income from those assets. Regular people strive to accumulate higher income, not assets. Thus they work until they retire, dependent upon that income. For the wealthy, assets, once accumulated, do the work of bringing in income.

15. The desire for wealth is finite.

As a poor person, you probably think – no way! Yet the wealthy reach a point at which they realize that there really is nothing more to buy to make them happier. How many cars, how many vacation homes, and how many airplanes does one need? At this point, time becomes the most valuable possession. Steve Jobs summed it up like this, “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Never forget that no matter how many dollars you have on your bank account.

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16. Family are not people who love you unconditionally.

Relatives of the wealthy family member often feel that they share the wealth with family members, especially when they are experiencing some financial difficulties. If the wealthy individual does share, it will never be enough. In all of their asking for money, moreover, none of these relatives will ask for investment or asset-building advice. Once you accumulate certain wealth, you quickly realize that not all of your family loves and keeps in touch with you because you are a great person. Some do it just for possible financial gain. Wealthy people know that family does not have to be just about those related by blood or marriage. Family can be those that are there for you, not for your money.

17. Wealthy parents teach their children about finances early

Children of the very wealthy, at least those who are self-made, have spent their early lives not being wealthy. They have thus had the early values training that came before the wealth did. Grandchildren are quite another matter. They have been born into wealth and can easily develop a sense of entitlement and superiority. However, those that became wealthy can be more vigilant in teaching their children how to save, invest, and appreciate hard work.

Featured photo credit: Fashion Male With Vest, Cigar And Smartphone/Ed Gregory via flickr.com

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Elena Prokopets

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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