Last Updated on August 14, 2020
Before we dive into what a wealthy mindset is, we first have to define wealth. No, wealth does not equal money. This seems like an obvious answer, but what actually is money? Money itself is inconsequential. The reason we often equate money to wealth is because of the value society has given it. We value money because it provides a standardized method with which we trade work for goods and services. If money didn’t have any assigned value, you could be sitting on the biggest pile of cash in the world, and your life wouldn’t be any different than it is right now.
The definition of wealth follows the same logic as money. Having money and being wealthy are not actually what we seek. At the root of it, wealth is freedom. Freedom to be able to live a lifestyle that you value. I’m not specifying a figure here, because the determination of wealth is about what you value as an individual. Having money for money’s sake does not necessarily provide any additional value to your life.
There are many things money simply cannot buy. Time, health, and love are three of the biggest ones. Sure, having extra money could allow you to pay for a housecleaner that would save you time on your weekly chores. You could purchase fancier at-home-gym equipment to better maintain your health. You might be able to go on more dates in order to find the love of your life. Having money can help you in saving time, being healthy, and finding love. The bottom line though, is that you can’t actually buy them. Time, health, and love don’t exist on a store shelf. Wealth is more than money. Wealth is the freedom to be able to live your life the way that you want to.
Now we understand the relationship between wealth, money, and value, let’s circle back to what a wealthy mindset is. For the reasons just described, a wealthy mindset is not a mindset to simply acquire more money. A wealthy mindset is one created to acquire and maintain the things that bring value to your life. Take it from one of the wealthiest people in the world:
“People seeking riches never have enough. Wealth is a state of mind. Wealthy people always have enough.”– Warren Buffett
If your aim is to accumulate money, your work will never end. You will never acquire enough money. If your aim is to attain wealth via the elements that bring value to your life, you will have achieved a wealthy mindset and be on your way to achieving the wealth you seek.
How can a wealthy mindset change your life?
Mindset is everything. I know you’ve probably seen a vague, quasi-inspirational poster hanging on an office wall with that statement written on it and thought – great, now what? Despite the fact that that poster didn’t really share anything helpful, the sentiment is still true.
The reason mindset is everything is because your mindset frames your thoughts. Your thoughts manifest into action. Your actions impact what you achieve through habit. Those habits shape the outcome of your life. In order to achieve wealth, you must build a wealthy mindset.
3 ways to change your mindset into a wealthy one
I’m in charge of my life vs. life is happening to me
There will always be things outside of your control. So kick, scream, cry, yell…do whatever you want to do to get it out of your system. Then stop wasting your own time. Time is the most valuable asset you have in life. You need to make the conscious decision to use your time on things you have the ability to effect.
If you continue with the mindset that life is simply happening to you, then nothing is in your control and why should you bother doing anything at all? In that scenario, the same outcome will occur regardless of what you do. Thinking this way lets you off the hook and pushes all the responsibility on to everyone else. It allows you to be the victim, and to label the rest of the world as a bully.
Wealthy people refuse to allow that to be the case. Instead, they embrace the idea that they are in charge of their own destiny. Sure, crappy things will still happen. But the sheer fact of embracing a mentality that puts you in the driver’s seat of your own life, acknowledges that you have the power to change things.
Helen Keller is known not because she was both deaf and blind. She is known because she refused to let life just happen to her. Overcoming her double disability, she went on to author multiple books, campaigned for support of people with disabilities around the world, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We know her name because of the time she spent on the things she could control, rather than the things she could not.
Embracing competition versus resenting it
There will always be someone in the world who is smarter than you, faster than you, prettier than you, and more successful than you. But what good does it really do to resent them for what they have? Focusing your attention on what other people have, won’t get you anywhere.
Zero Sum Game
Instead, wealthy people embrace the competition around them in the forms of inspiration, motivation, and opportunity. A wealthy mindset seizes the idea that life is not a zero sum game. A zero sum game requires that one person’s gain directly results in another person’s loss. With this mindset, there can only be one real “winner”.
Here’s an example of a zero sum game: Jack and Karen are employees at competing firms. Jack was able to acquire a new client and that meant there was one less client available for Karen to acquire. +1 (Jack) – 1 (Karen) = 0.
However, the zero sum game mentality assumes that bounds of possibility remain fixed. Realistically, there is not a finite amount of clients for Jack and Karen to compete for in the world. There may be more or less at any given time, but there is much that can be done to push the bounds of those limits.
Karen could seek to provide better, different, or new services to attract clients. While Karen is making moves, Jack could be harnessing the attention of a previously untapped clientele group. Each competitor draws inspiration, motivation, and opportunity from the other. The limits of the game grow larger as the players explore new and innovative ways to win.
Seeking the best way, rather than the “right” way
Those with a wealthy mindset do not let themselves fall into the trap of viewing one and only one “right” way to do things. Remember when the right way to be successful in life was to go to college? Well, that may be one way to succeed, but it’s not necessarily the only “right” way anymore.
In 2019 the average amount of student debt for an undergraduate degree in the US was $35,397. The average starting salary for a recent college graduate in 2019 was $50,944. More importantly, the average amount of time it takes students to pay off their student loan debt is almost 20 years. And, that’s just for undergraduate degrees. As of 2015, graduate degrees became as common as undergraduate degrees were in the 1960’s.
Conversely, the cost of an average 2-year skilled trade school in the US is 25% of the cost of a 4-year degree. Not only is the cost of entry drastically lower, it provides you the opportunity to earn an income 2 years earlier than your counterparts. Moreover, skilled trades have some of the greatest predicted industry job growth and demand.
All of this is not to say that you can’t be successful by following the so-called “right” path. Higher education is just one example of what doesn’t always pan out to be the best choice for everyone on their journey to wealth.
A wealthy mindset opens up possibilities
If you haven’t picked up on the theme yet, a wealthy mindset hinges on exploring what’s possible, rather than fixating on established boundaries. Focusing on what you can control in life, embracing competition, and disregarding the idea that there is only one “right” way to do things, is ultimately what will help you attain and maintain a wealthy mindset. By framing your mind with a wealthy mindset, you’ll be able to make concrete progress on the things that bring your life value.