After extensive research of wealthy people, I’ve found a segment of them very fascinating: People with tons of money who can’t get a girlfriend or are depressed since they have no friends and are lonely.
To those in this boat, I can understand why this result is perplexing. You thought money would solve everything. But the truth is that it doesn’t. Women and potential friends care about more factors in someone they want to hang out with than a number in your bank account. In fact, throwing money at people can attract the worst type of gold diggers, make you paranoid, and make it worse.
Friendships are born when people care about each other, have similar values, and similar interests. Money isn’t involved much in the equation except for maybe the commute to meet each other in communities or activities.
Women care about hygiene, humor, kindness, intelligence, fashion, confidence, and assertiveness. Money is just part of the equation and not that big a part as you think once you make a certain amount. Biologically, they only care about what that money represents — that you have resources to care for her. Emotionally, a woman won’t be triggered as much by a bank account balance compared to showing that you can provide for her with food. That’s one of a few reasons why poorly dressed, socially intelligence men with Ferrari’s aren’t the symbol for attractiveness. Having a bunch of paper isn’t the same as showing it. In the Mating Grounds podcast, a host recounted a story of a man he knew who was a filthy rich computer programmer.
But he slept in a crappy apartment with a mattress on the floor, dressed like crap, and showed no sign that he had money. He just stacked that money in the bank. Of course, his dating life was terrible. He wasn’t marketing himself well even if he had the goods.
Here are some clips about how money and success don’t solve everything.
The good news is that with money, you can afford to improve your fashion, social skills, kindness, caring, and so forth. You can buy the time to improve yourself and meet people and make friends. You can afford the personal trainers, yoga instructors, therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, style consultants, and so forth to fix your mental and physical world.
There’s a ton of TED Talks and scientific research on money’s relationship with happiness.
You don’t need much to find proof of happy people who are poor. Just look at some people in the poorest parts of your town that are smiling and happy. Wealth helps, and there are more happy people who are wealthy, but wealth doesn’t guarantee anything.
Science shows that happiness does help with more money, to a threshold. Once you hit about $75,000 (slightly above median income at the time of the study), the average increase of happiness on more money is almost nothing.
It makes sense since once basic necessities that cause unhappiness, like paying for rent, are taken care of, we move up in Maslow’s pyramid of needs.
Eventually, once you hit enough, people start looking for a job that they are passionate about and/or a greater purpose. That’s why a lot of billionaires look to non-profit.
It’s important to add that this correlation between income and happiness is an average. So that means that there are still going to be rich people who are angry or unhappy, there will be poor people who are unhappy and jealous, and there will be rich people who are still materialistic and don’t care about a higher purpose.
The Happiness Advantage is a great book that shows that the happier you are, the more successful you will be.
The equation is actually flipped. Most people think it’s the other way around! Only when I get rich… will I be happy!
You just need to point them to the poor people in your area who are laughing and joyous to show that this isn’t the case.
It’s a strange thing called hedonic adaptation that causes our children to take for granted all the luxuries they were born into. It’s what causes us to easily get used to fancy cars and mansions. The impact on happiness quickly diminishes and we get used to it.
I highly recommend the book The How of Happiness on ways you can increase long-term happiness. It isn’t buying new cars, it’s stuff like savoring the moment, having a gratitude journal, giving back, volunteering, religion, and more. You don’t have to do all of these listed, just the ones that suit your personality and preferences.
Finally, one incredible similarity I have found amongst the most successful people in the world is that they always have the perspective of “the money will come.”
What I mean by this is that they care more about solving a huge problem or being the best that they can be and they know the money will come.
Many small-minded people focus more on getting money.
- Bernie Mac said it in the video I showed you above. He focused on being the best comedian he could be.
- Elon Musk said it in an interview with Bill Gates in Hong Kong. Here’s the paraphrased version: “People are so focused on the money
but if you focus on solving a big enough problem and the money will come.”
- The best-selling personal finance author Ramit Sethi has said it numerous times and he’s referenced a few multi-millionaire entrepreneur friends who have the same idea.
It’s an awesome thing you should internalize. Most people don’t.
A Case Study
The millionaire YouTuber TechLead is the epitome of this dilemma. In his videos, he’s vulnerable and honest about his failures, which helps viewers learn and avoid those mistakes. When you watch his videos, you get the sense that he made the mistake of believing that getting rich would allow him to solve all his issues and relationships by throwing money at them. In the video below, I react to one of his videos and point out some of his limiting beliefs (which includes blaming New York City for being a bad place to make friends when it’s one of the most populated, activity-filled cities in the world).
In this episode of the Mating Grounds podcast, one of the hosts tells a chilling story of an engineer he knew in the 80’s who had half a million in the bank, making $120,000 a year (not inflation-adjusted). Yet he dressed like he was broke, had no fashion sense, slept on a futon, rented a $4,000 a year place, and complained he didn’t have a girlfriend. Money is just a number in the bank that most people don’t know about if you don’t use it.
That doesn’t mean you have to go to an extreme and blow all your cash, attracting gold diggers. But at least live an average lifestyle, if not above-average. Perception is everything, and if people see you looking broke or homeless, they’ll assume you are and be repulsed regardless of how many zeroes are in your Capital One bank account. This guy was saving money to make more, but he was losing in one big area of his life by sacrificing too much.
Another concern these people have is about how “no one likes them because they only want me for my money, and I won’t give them any.” As mentioned, no one knows how much you make. You don’t have a sign on your forehead with your bank account on it. Even if you dress better than average, with a J. Crew dress shirt and Brooks Brother suit, people may just assume you make $100,000 instead of $50,000. They’re not going to assume you’re making millions unless you’re head to toe in Gucci with a lambo.
The point being stop obsessing over money, most strangers will assume you’re average unless you make it painfully obvious to them you’re rich. I’ve been to plenty of meetup.com groups with strangers — from book clubs to board games meet ups to laser tag outtings — and the subject of money never came up, everyone was equal. We just did activities we all enjoyed, had fun, and said goodbye. Find stuff you like to do, care about others, observe why some people make friends better than you and learn, learn dating tips, decide on your values, and go to groups with similar values.
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