- in Heart
I recently wrote about leverage as the key to generating significant wealth. I stand by every word in that post.
It's true. Without some form of leverage--such as huge amounts of attention, participating in large dollar flows, an insanely popular product, working for an unusually successful and competitive institution, or the combination of time and compound interest--you are not likely to ever accumulate enough assets to achieve financial independence.
As well, it is crucial to produce more than you consume if you want to become rich, as the difference becomes the savings that you can turn into investment. Another way to put this: A) produce (at scale), B) save the difference between your production and consumption, and C) invest wisely.
Rich Dudes Are Often Miserable Sods With Broken Marriages And Spoiled Kids
But today it's time for a reality check.
Have you noticed there are a ton of miserable rich dudes (and dudettes) in our world? I'm not saying that rich people are generally less happy. In fact, the truth is probably the opposite.
But the fact remains, just getting rich alone will not bring you a life of meaning and joy. There are other values at play.
If the blind pursuit of wealth is all that drives you (and this is exactly what drives quite a few wealthy people), you are putting yourself at risk. Why? Because a lot of other factors besides material comfort and even autonomy contribute to a satisfying life.
Let me give you a few examples that are crucial to a satisfying life.
It's Not Just About The Money
- Doing things you are good at. If you have positioned yourself in an industry where you make a lot of money, but it is actually pretty hard for you to do the job because it doesn't match your natural skill set, watch out. You might become a rich, miserable person. Or you will be perpetually stressed because the career just isn't a good match.
- Helping others. Contributing to the greater good. I am not arguing that you need to work for an NGO or something like that (though do if you want). Producing and distributing any type of high-quality product contributes directly to our entire community. But if you aren't helping others at all, watch out. Misery may be around the corner. We are just wired this way.
- Having a tribe. Participating in a team or community you like and respect. Being part of something that involves others whom you like, respect, admire, can learn from--as well as others whom you can eventually mentor as well is crucial. If you end up rich--but cut off from family, friends, your community at large, and not participating in any institutions--this can lead to feelings of isolation and the absence of joy. Again, we are wired for a certain amount of connection.
Another way to elaborate these non-financial values is to say we thrive best when we work as a piece of the whole. The quest for financial freedom sometimes obscures this truth.
Think of life as a chessboard. You are a piece of the overall whole (the chessboard). You should work to position yourself as the right piece (for you) in that whole--the one that matches your talents, interests, etc. Maybe you’re the CEO on the chessboard of life. Maybe you are a teacher. Maybe you focus on raising children. Maybe you work as a nurse. Or maybe you are an entrepreneur leading the charge.
The point here is that relentlessly and exclusively trying to fit yourself into some "money makers" template may not work unless you are truly wired that way.
Yes, Streak Towards Financial Independence, But Don't Make The Pursuit of Wealth Everything
Mighty Investor is all about building wealth and achieving financial autonomy. We always stress maximizing your career, working for great institutions, and focusing on earning power (or entrepreneurship).
But don't ever let these worthy goals obscure the larger, greater values that matter most to happiness--to doing what you are meant to do.
Embrace who you are. What you are. What you can do. What matters. Not just money-making and wealth building. Otherwise, you may find yourself having achieved financial independence, but lacking other clear goals and a sense of connection to anything or anyone. Watch out if that happens.
Money Is Just One Piece Of The Puzzle
So, remember the big picture. Otherwise, you might end up hyper-wealthy, but highly empty.
And that's not the goal for Mighty Investors.