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You can only become rich only when you don’t care about becoming rich

Was thinking about this the other day, about people who are rich… but never made getting rich as their #1 priority to becoming rich.

Sounds contradictory, but if we think about it, it makes a lot of sense that you can only be rich if you don’t care about becoming rich.


For one thing, people who don’t care about becoming or staying rich, are more willing to risk all of it. They’re the types that will bet their entire life savings on a business venture, or invest it in a company they believe in.

They don’t hoard the money and never risk their golden stash, in fear of losing it all.

Sure, they might lose every single red cent of their bet, but they can also come out on top and be that “lucky SOB” who saw the opportunity and ran with it.

The person that comes to mind for this is Howard Schultz of Starbucks.



If you have ever read his biography Pour your heart into it (my mini review of the book can be found here), you will immediately see that he basically did what the title says — he poured his entire heart and his savings into Starbucks, refusing to bend on his vision of bringing luxury coffee to the masses.

Everyone thought he was bonkers at first. Investors balked at the idea of people actually paying $3 for a cup of coffee, and he had to persuade them he was right.

Today, you don’t see any of that, because the company is thriving and doing well beyond expectations with a good future.

He didn’t care about becoming rich, that was never his goal in life… if that were the case, he would have kept his day job, which brings me to my second point.


Even if they don’t quit their day job and start trying to build a company or business, people who become rich are the ones who were never in it for the money to begin with.

They’re the ones who are passionate about their career, their calling, rather than just looking at the numbers and watching their net worth plod uphill.

It’s that passion that drives them to excellence and paves their way to riches, not necessarily that they want to be as greedy as heck and hoard every penny.

The most famous example is of course, Warren Buffett. He sees playing the stock market not as a way to get rich, it’s just a game to him. A fascinating game of numbers and beating the market by finding value in hidden corners.

Money, is just a way of keeping score. It was never the end result, and this guy is one of the richest people in the world.

Another one is Oprah Winfrey. She started off as a talk show host, and with her passion and gift for talking (literally!) she built an empire, and is a real mover and shaker. I hear that if your book makes it to Oprah’s list of reads, you are guaranteed to be rolling in the money by the truckloads.


The very last way people become rich for the sake of being rich, is to live on beans and rice, and to hoard every gold coin.

These folks are the ones who are scared to be poor and penniless, so they refuse to let themselves dip into any semblance of poverty, and live like misers.

I am not knocking this approach, but I daresay these folks don’t really make it into the major leagues that they dream of unless they ALSO fit into one of the categories above, namely passion.

Unless they have the passion and the drive, which is extremely difficult to muster when you hate your job and your life, you aren’t likely to become as rich as you hope to be.

Or maybe you’ll never be as rich as you want to be. It’ll never be enough for you, and isn’t that the most unsatisfying result of all?

Isn’t that strange — that hoping and wishing for something like being rich, and making it your ONLY goal is really the worst way to go about achieving it.



  • Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I think the vast majority of “rich” people are millionaire next door types. For the super rich, ya I agree they either have high risk tolerances, or were born into money.

  • Kemi

    I disagree with the idea that rich people don’t plan to become rich or make it their top priority. My experience of interacting with people who are in the top 1% is that they made it a priority and they planned some element of their rise. Some might give the appearance of it being accidental but it is not. Most self-made rich people planned; a passionate attitude towards their careers probably helped as well.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      So how do you explain the 99% who aren’t rich but care about becoming rich? My point was more that they were not focused on making a ton of money as soon as possible, starting businesses or working just for the money when they hate their lives and careers. They chose what they wanted to do and instead of chasing money, they chased passion instead. There are always exceptions but I have plenty of real life examples of people who desperately want to be rich and are not and those who did not care about the money and their passion translated into big bucks.

  • Taylor Lee

    Maybe it wasn’t their only goal to become rich, but successful business owners and public personalities don’t just become rich by accident. They all, I would assume, have some plan to monetize their passions else they could be the best coffee-maker, entrepreneur, etc. in the world, but still have a very modest revenue, revenue neutral, or failing business.

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