Being Rich Isn’t Enough—Here’s What Really Matters

Mon, Jan 29, 2024

PSA: It’s okay to want money.

It’s okay to want money without explaining to people why you want money.

It’s okay to want money for the sake of itself.

You owe zero explanations or apologies.

My only hope for you on your path to getting rich is that you aim for “rich and…”

Like it or not, money is how we keep score. That’s the KPI society has chosen to determine whether or not the thing you’re doing is of value to other humans.

Money represents the value you’ve provided to other people.

Want money? Create value.

Think about the people who have made the most money.

I’m not saying they’re better people (obviously), but they’ve definitely found ways to provide the most value at scale.

That’s the promise of entrepreneurship: The money flows in direct proportion to the impact.

Everyone in the developed world has bought something from Bezos’ marketplace on a device designed by Jobs through search results delivered by Page’s algorithm using money from Thiel’s online processor while at a stoplight sitting in or next to a car developed by Musk.

Their impact is almost incalculable. Almost. We’ve chosen to calculate it by the money they’ve made. Even so, at least one name on the list above triggered a negative feeling for you. How we feel about them should be beside the point. And yet…


The new collective narrative is that aiming for wealth is wrong, and money is evil.

If your business isn’t actively saving baby dolphins, then you’re a soulless capitalist who is ruining the world, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

We’re rooting wealth creation in shame.

I refuse to accept that narrative. I preface with this because I don’t want what I’m about to say to be confused as something that’s complicit with this wealth-shaming societal ethos we’ve all allowed to permeate our collective consciousness. That huge disclaimer in place…

My buddy Mike Wagner said something that hit home:

“All I ever wanted to be was rich. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than the alternative. I just should’ve set my sights a little higher.”

I think most entrepreneurs make this mistake; I know I did. And it set me up for a rude awakening.


Wanting money is okay. Only wanting money is shortsighted.

When I finally got “my number,” I was shell-shocked at my complete lack of satiation.

Thrilled with the money? Yes. Completely whole as a person? Far from it.

I know it’s silly and probably childish, but it was such a surprise.


Do yourself the favor of figuring out your “and.”

If you’re unsure, start writing without intention: “I want to be rich and…” and see how your pencil dances. I bet it takes you places that surprise you. This helps define the parameters for your wealth creation.

If you don’t know your “ands,” your standards for yourself are too broad.

You’ll do anything within your principles to achieve your financial goals. Just because it’s within your principles doesn’t mean it’s aligned with where you ultimately want to end up.

Most interesting, adding the guardrails of your “ands” actually helps accelerate your wealth creation. Like bumpers at a bowling alley, you’re restricting where the ball can go, which helps drive it down the lane more effectively.

So, start now! I’d love to know what your “ands” are.

Hit me in the comments.

I’ve got a prize for the most creative response.