To most, money is a tool. We imagine it as a device that is universally useful; a master key to open any door. With it, we can do anything; and without it, nothing.

With this understanding, we spend much of our lives in the pursuit of it. Yet, the more we chase, the further it becomes out of reach. Even when we acquire it, it is like any other measurable goal: we are left wanting more. Why settle for 10 when you could have 20? What’s 20 when you could have 50?

This is the mentality of the rich.

It is not your bank balance that makes you rich or wealthy, but your mindset.

In this post, we will explore why changing your mindset is the key to wealth, and how its rewards are infinitely greater than riches.

Get rich, die trying

Those that chase money may be rich, but never wealthy.

To the rich, money rules all.

They hunt it relentlessly, like a bull after a matador’s red flag flapping in the breeze. Once they’ve had a taste, they will whip around for another charge, hoping to take it down once-and-for-all.

How the rich acquire their money is not so important; it’s the final result that matters.

Their results must be tangible, measurable and concrete. This explains their preference for physical rewards; things that can be touched, seen, felt, smelled or tasted: bulging bank balances, luxury lifestyle choices (exclusively priced houses, cars, vacations…)

Their belief in the power of money is absolute, and will drive them to the ends of the earth. They are so fixated on it, they miss out on the beauty of both the journey and the final destination.

To explain this mindset, let’s picture Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.

Having thrown the Olympic record book out the window, Bolt has experienced countless benefits on account of his efforts: fame, fortune, an incredible physique, not to mention the less tangible benefits: personal accomplishment, achievement, influence…

Now, imagine that throughout his whole sprinting career, Usain’s MAIN objective was to have a jaw-dropping 6-pack; something truly spartan, enough to make Zeus want to trade his throne for an AbMaster.

While killer abs came to him naturally, would he have become the world’s fastest man if they were his focus? Unlikely.

While this example might seem laughable, having money as your core objective is just as insane. In trying to get rich, you are chasing a by-product.

Money: the by-product of value

Money is a by-product, or as J.D. Roth puts it, a “side effect”.

Of what, exactly?

Just as a cough is one of the results of a cold, money is but ONE by-product of creating value.

Mark Zuckerburg did not earn $74 billion trying to become rich. Had this been the case, he almost certainly would have accepted a $1 billion buyout offer by Yahoo in 2006, back when Facebook was worth just $20 million (with less than 10 million users).

Mark’s mission was not complete; his belief in the value of his product was greater than a billion dollars. How’s that for moral fortitude? That’s the power of a wealth mindset.

Facebook has since grown to a global empire altering the lives of the world’s 2 billion users, not to mention non-users. Opinions of Facebook aside, it can be said that Mark has created value.

Yet, too many of us identify money itself as being of value, and pursue it at all costs. In the process we sacrifice our health, happiness, relationships, and almost everything of real value; the things that bring us lasting satisfaction.

The rich misunderstand the wealthy, wrongly mistaking their bank balances as the source of their value. With this warped reality in mind, they feel validated in the pursuit of riches.

Yet ironically, money comes much easier to the wealthy, who do not hold it as the apple of their eye.

They get rich without trying.

The mindset of the wealthy

The wealthy strive to contribute, to develop, to offer something greater to society; to create value. And it is value that people recognize, not riches.

This why the wealthy are remembered, and the rich quickly forgotten.

With a $12.5 billion net worth, Kirsten Rausing’s fortune is twenty times J.K. Rowling’s humble $650 million. But will a leading shareholder’s legacy outlast Harry Potter? Time will tell.

See, money is just one of the many by-products of creating value. And to the wealthy, it is a by-product that is no more important than any other of their motivations: the desire to innovate, to create, to help others…

Yes, most wealthy individuals have talent; a vision; inspiration. But ultimately, it is their mindset that enable them to succeed. Nothing more, nothing less.

Start to think like a wealthy individual, and you will soon have a taste of all of these rewards, money included. In stoically keeping his wealth mindset, Mark became the 5th richest person on the planet.

Your mind is your wealth, your wealth is your mind

To start experiencing these rewards, focus your energies on creating value, whatever your situation.

Not just entrepreneurs and people in positions of power create value. A solo mother, J.K. Rowling spent 5 years on welfare writing her bestselling novel, suffering 12 publisher’s denials before it was accepted.

If you are an employee, make yourself invaluable to your company. Bring something to the table no one else can offer- you will soon be indispensable, forge powerful relationships, be rewarded financially, and that’s just the beginning.

If wealth is your path, create value and your rewards shall be far greater than money. The wealthy do not chase money, yet are rewarded in ways the rich cannot imagine.

If money is still your final goal after reading this, wealth will get you there. Trying to become rich is like deliberately wading into quicksand and struggling to escape. The more you try for it, the deeper you sink.

Wealth or riches, the choice is yours.

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