Why aren’t you rich already?

by Mark on January 12, 2010 · 2 comments

Most of us have had dreams of being rich since we were young, and I am no different. As long as I can remember, I had a vision of being wealthy, and I was confident that I would achieve it. I’m sure that part of it was the naïve certainty that almost all children seem to possess. However, this certainty never left me even as I grew older. I have been very fortunate in one respect. I was brought up in a household that did not teach me that success is a matter of luck. I wasn’t taught that failure was the result of being a victim. I grew up believing that anyone could be successful, and I believe it now more than I ever did.

The evidence is overwhelming that, in this country at least, wealth and poverty are far more a result of what we do than what happens to us. Success and failure are not random events. This doesn’t mean that unfortunate events don’t happen to good people from time to time. It just means that long-term success and failure tend to be very predictable if you know what to look for. There seem to be certain consistent principles that underlie success and failure.

“Success is a matter of luck. Ask any failure.”

– Earl Wilson –

In my own life, I worked hard towards my goal of becoming wealthy. I studied finance, business, investing, and personal development voraciously. I worked long hours and dedicated myself to constantly improving my performance. I achieved notable short-term successes, such as becoming a corporate controller at the young age of 30. And yet I reached a point where not only was I still not wealthy, but I also managed to accumulate a lot of debt.

I will never forget that point in my life. I asked myself, how could this be? I know I am intelligent enough. I have studied and worked hard my whole life, and all I have to show for it is a bunch of debt! At that time, I was frustrated and mad as hell at myself for allowing myself to get to that point. I knew I was better than that, and I had no excuse for it. It was humbling, to say the least. Since that time, I have turned my financial situation around dramatically. I’m still working hard on my wealth goals, but now my progress is much more consistent, whereas previously my success would come in fits and starts. I’ve paid off all of my debt, and I continue to save up capital. More importantly, I now know what was holding me back in the past, and I have a clear path to my goals.

So how did I turn things around? It started when I really began asking myself the question that I alluded to in the title of this blog entry:

Why aren’t you rich already?

One day I was listening to the radio when I heard a story about a wealthy man acting as a mentor to a young man. The young man asked him for advice about becoming wealthy, and the wealthy man asked the young man simply: why aren’t you rich already? I thought it was an interesting question, one that I had never really thought to ask myself before. My thought process had begun, and the question bounced around in the back of my head for the next few months.

When things get bad enough, it is not uncommon to really think deeply about why things are the way they are, and for me it was no different. We tend to become much more contemplative. I began to focus on the question intensely. Why am I not rich already? Why am I in the position that I am in? What is holding me back from being successful?

For me, it wasn’t that I didn’t understand investing or business or how to do my job. I knew these things very well, which made my lack of financial success all the more frustrating. It wasn’t a lack of education, and it wasn’t bad luck. It wasn’t a lack of encouragement from family or friends. It wasn’t a bad childhood. It wasn’t any of these things.

My biggest breakthrough came when I finally began to ask myself a question that I had been unconsciously avoiding: what is it in me that is holding me back from being successful? By focusing intensely on these questions, I began to get some answers. There were several things that I learned during my soul searching. Some of the keys to success were external things about what to do and how to do it, but just as important were internal factors about why I do the things that I do. Everyone is different, but in my own case, one factor that was holding me back was a lack of patience. I learned that I had certain beliefs and thought processes that were impeding my progress. Luckily for me, the pain of my frustration really motivated me to change my thinking. It might sound strange, but that painful period in my life might be the best thing that could have happened to me.

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”

– Lance Armstrong (Every Second Counts) –


If you aren’t wealthy, but you want to be, begin by asking yourself why you aren’t rich already. You will find the reason if you ask the question persistently and with an attitude of open-mindedness and positive expectancy. You absolutely must be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to examine your character traits, your values, and your beliefs in addition to your investing style, career, your savings rate, etc. Do you do things you shouldn’t do? Are there things that you don’t do but know that you should do? Ask yourself why.

Do you think that you are just a pawn in the system? Do you blame others or your environment for your lack of wealth? Do you consistently talk yourself out of taking action by making rationalizations? Do you think that you aren’t smart enough? Is it that you don’t know where to start? Do you think wealthy people are evil? What are your beliefs about what it takes to become wealthy? What are your favorite excuses for why you aren’t wealthy?

Why aren’t you rich already?

The answers will get you started on the road to wealth.

Do you know why you aren’t rich already?


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