The Biggest Secret of the Rich (Part 1)

The following article is the first part of a series of four articles on the main reasons why many people are unable to emulate the ability of successful people.

The Big Secret of the Rich

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Want to know what the biggest secret of the rich is?

Are you ready for it?

Are you sure you want to hear it?


Well, Ok. Here it comes...

...The biggest secret of the rich is...[drum roll if you please]...hard work...

Disappointed? You shouldn't be, it's true. The majority of newly made rich people become rich through sheer hard work and determination. Now, some of you may feel a little cheated with my misleading question. Some of you may be furious (if a little extreme reaction) with me, exclaiming “We already knew that”, “Well that’s obvious”.

Fair enough. So my question to you is: “If it’s so obvious why aren't we all rich?”

It seems to me that there are three main reasons as to why we are not able to implement the one we thing we know will make us rich. These are:
These three core areas will form the basis for three follow up articles on each area, discussing how to counter these three excuses for not working hard to be successful.

In the meantime I believe it necessary to fully define 'hard work'.

Hard Work

There are two ways to get rich. You can get lucky, for example by winning the lottery. However I don't recommend this route. In the English lottery your odds of winning are more than 14 million to one, that is, extremely unlikely. In fact I have heard it quoted that you are more likely to be run over than to win the lottery (be reassured that this morbid thought is also highly unlikely). Alternatively you can  work extremely hard, pushing the limits of your natural ability. By hard work I mean putting all your efforts and pooling all your resources towards achieving your goals. I believe that anyone can become successful if only they would apply themselves to the field in which they have a comparative advantage (simply, focus on the area that they have a relatively natural greater ability in than other areas, as compared to other people).

When I say 'hard work', I don't mean getting up 5 days a week and working 9 until 5 and breezing through the day then coming home and switching off. I mean sustained maximum effort, not just at work but at home as well. When not working extremely hard to impress at work, to progress and boost your salary, you should be working on a side business, researching investments, learning how to improve yourself, and generally being productive.

Some of you may point towards the argument that many people who are successful in business, or get the promotions achieve their level of success through sheer good luck. They were in the right place at the right time. To this type of argument I pose another question: 

When someone gets a hole in one in golf, have they got lucky? 

Your immediate reaction is to say that of course they got lucky! Think of all the parameters and variables involved in someone getting a hole in one: angle the ball was hit, weight of club, type of club, direction of hit, strength of hit, amount of wind, gradient of the green. Anyone getting a hole in one has just got lucky and probably wouldn't be able to recreate such a feat.

Now let me ask you another question:

When Tiger Woods hits a hole in one, has he just got lucky?

The same reasoning should apply. The variables involved have to be so perfect that even the great Tiger Woods rarely hits a hole in one and probably couldn't recreate the hole in one on the same hole immediately after one success. So surely that is just luck as well. You could then take the argument to the ridiculous extreme and suggest that Tiger Woods is only successful in golf because he's regularly lucky. However, wouldn't we accept that Tiger Woods would get more hole in ones in his lifetime than you or I? If that is the case then why is that? He probably isn't a particularly lucky person, no more than you or I. Tiger Woods gets more hole in ones because  he practices for hours trying that shot and because he knows what's involved in achieving a hole in one from all his practice of the shot he is more likely to achieve it.

It is clearly the case that the more you practice, the more effort you put in to trying to be successful, the 'luckier' you get. But it doesn't happen by magic. Put the effort in and you increase your probability of reward many times over.

Please look out for the following three parts of this series on The Biggest Secrets of the Rich.

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Rob said...

Someone once said that you should always employ lucky people... there's often a reason for their luck. Alongside hard work, efficient use of that time is key, but people often put successful people on a pedestal and assume that it could not be them up at such great heights. Almost all successful people work hard and go through great lows before they succeed, be they a musician, footballer or businessman. It's grit and determination that gets them through.

Mr. Moneybanks said...

You're exactly right Rob. It really annoys me when people point to one of your successes in life (e.g. a new job/ promotion) and congratulate you by saying "you're so lucky". LUCKY!!!!????? I worked hard to get that job/ promotion. Luck has nothing to do with it!

WorkSaveLive said...

You're certainly on with this post. Here in the US, CNN did a survey of millionaires. 98% said a reason they got to where they were was because of FRUGALITY and 95% also attributed HARD WORK!

I read somewhere that the average millionaire works something like 40,000 hours before they get to that mark.

Mr. Moneybanks said...

Thanks WorkSaveLive. Can you post a link to that survey?

MyMoneyDesign said...

I’ve often heard that rich people don’t work harder, they work smarter. Instead of just getting a second job or working more overtime, they figure out other ways to make money above and beyond their current jobs. This is exactly what people do when they have rental homes, own stocks, operate blogs, etc. But none of this is easy, and it takes a lot of “hard work” to build each of these income streams.

Anonymous said...

I think hard work is a tough concept for some people to understand. I completely agree with you that hard work is the secret to wealth, but I'd also say it's a key ingredient to happiness as well. I find that on days I put in a lot of hard work on a project I'm working on, I have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. On days I just lounge around I'm not as happy or content with life.

Mr. Moneybanks said...

MyMoneyDesign: yes you're right. It is intelligent hard work (I'm thinking of coining it 'hard thought'). Working for the sake of working won't cut it. It's got to be directed properly and efficient.

yourlifeforless: Hard work is indeed something that is surprisingly difficult to define. It's more of an attitude than anything else. Also feel happier when I've had a productive day. The human spirit requires that sense of achievement.

Shilpan said...

There is an age-old adage: "Harder I work, luckier I get." It's true that most wealthy people get wealthy due to smart thinking and persistence. I like your style of conveying the message.

Mr. Moneybanks said...

Funnily enough @Shilpan, it's that quote that inspired my writing for this article.

Harri @ TotallyMoney said...

Hurrah! A post that flies in the face of the Simon Cowell-infused dystopia where wealth, 15 minutes of fame and short cuts are all intertwined.

Yes - hard work (and a good attitude to go with it) create success.

Mr. Moneybanks said...

Thanks Harri, Loving the Simon Cowell rant. Whilst I agree that there is not short cut to riches, I wouldn't agree that Cowell actually believes that there is a short cut to success by the very fact that he himself has worked incredibly hard to reach he level of wealth, fame and success that he has reached.