I know you don’t want to hear a bunch of rich people telling you about how hard their life is.
Just wipe your tears with your money and get over yourself, right?
Despite what a lot of people seem to assume, there are all kinds of challenges that rich people face.
With wealth, comes complications.
I wanted to wrap my head around the challenges that people face as they “make it” in life. So, I did a little research.
Here are 5 major downsides of being successful.
It’s hard to raise your kids properly
Steve was a first-generation Armenian immigrant.
Steve came to America when he was a boy. His family was flat broke, and they lived in a house infested with raccoons.
Growing up, steve dreamt of a day when he could retire his parents and stop eating nasty-ass ramen noodles for dinner.
Naturally, steve became obsessed with the idea of making money. Out of school, he landed his first job, selling cleaning products door to door.
Initially, he struggled. The job was commission only, and people weren’t all that interested in the products.
But he resolved to figure it out. After years of rejection and improvement, he eventually became the slickest door-to-door salesman in the state.
He could sell sand to an Arab.
He could sell steak to a vegan.
He could sell a Quran to the pope.
He saved all of his commissions and eventually bought his first rental property. Then another. Then another.
He took nothing for granted, after all those years of hardship.
Fast forward 10 years, Steve had made it. He owned strip malls and apartment buildings all over the state. When his children were born, Steve tried to teach his kids everything he knew.
He told them how brutal the world can be.
He lectured them about the importance of saving money.
He taught them to never take anything for granted.
Steve’s kids didn’t grow up amongst the raccoons.
In the summer, they would get on a plane and fly all over the world.
In the winter, they didn’t actually get cold. They had heated floors, heated seats, and central heating.
Sh-t was plush.
If they were hungry, the housekeeper would cook them elaborate meals. They ate ramen too, but theirs was made from scratch!
They were given, from birth, the life that Steve sacrificed 40 years to build. How the hell are you supposed to teach kids like that what real hardship feels like?
Steve is a man that I just made up.
(I don’t think any Armenians are called Steve.)
I tell the story, to illustrate how hard it can be for successful people to be effective parents.
They want to give their kids the good life, but they don’t want to raise entitled little brats who crumble in the face of real hardship.
It’s almost impossible to get the balance just right.
It’s hard not to become way too comfortable
When a Spartan baby boy would cry for help in ancient Greece, his mother would ignore him.
As a toddler, the child spent long periods of time in darkness and solitude.
Throughout his adolescence, he was fed small meals. The idea was to keep him constantly hungry.
He walked barefoot from the day he was born, until the day he officially enrolled in military service.
The spartans weren’t perfect. They didn’t believe in democracy or science or philosophy like their Athenian rivals, and their inability to not go to war eventually caused their population to collapse.
Their army, though, was legendary.
Tales of Spartan skill and brutality spread throughout the empire.
At the battle of Thermopylae, an army of 1400 Greeks led by Spartans killed a reported 20 thousand Persian soldiers, before finally being defeated.
When you consider their lifestyle, the power of the Spartan forces makes sense.
For all of their flaws, Spartans understood the power of discomfort.
The power of discomfort
Maybe the Persian army isn’t coming for your women and children, but that doesn’t mean your life will be easy.
The day will come when you will be faced with unavoidable suffering.
Your health will deteriorate, your loved ones will die, someone will try to take your freedom.
You will face situations in this life that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
When you embrace discomfort, you are training your mind to be strong. You can keep going when others quit. You condition your being to thrive in difficulty.
As you make more and more money throughout your life, it’s easy to become comfortable.
To get soft and fat and sensitive.
If you’re not careful, although you’ll be nice and relaxed in the short term, as the years go by you’ll be a weak shell of your former self. You must find ways to stay driven and uncomfortable, which is tough when you’ve got it all.
“It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5 am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas”Marvin Hagler
It’s hard to know who’s being straight with you
Why do so many celebrities and successful people seem egotistical and out of touch?
Because that’s what happens to people surrounded by fake friends and yes men.
To understand what I mean, watch part of this video.
I apologize in advance — it’s a bit cringe — but it helps illustrate an important point about the downsides of fame and success.
Imagine every time you said anything at a party, even if it wasn’t funny, you had people around you laughing like that?
Before long, you’d start to think you were pretty special.
It would be hard to keep a level head with all of the disingenuous approval coming your way.
Although the problem of fake friends is hugely amplified with fame and celebrity culture, anyone with relative wealth will face their own version of this issue.
When you’re broke, you can’t really do anything for anyone beyond being their friend. So the people who do choose to be around you, are probably there because they actually like you as a person.
Also, because the relationship is genuine, they won’t just agree with you or laugh at your sh-tty jokes just for the sake of it.
If you’re being stupid, they’ll have no problem letting you know.
When you’re successful, things aren’t so easy. The snakes will seek you out. People who really like you, and people who want to leech off of you, will be extremely difficult to tell apart.
If you embarrass yourself or do something immoral, there’s a chance that people won’t let you know for fear of jeopardizing the relationship.
Friendship gets complicated as you become more successful.
It’s hard to know if it was all worth it
If you search “sacrifice quotes” on google, you’ll come across a tonne of great content with a certain message.
“Great achievement is born of great sacrifice”
“Let the rest do whatever, while you do whatever it takes”
“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it”
You get the idea. You gotta sacrifice certain things to achieve material success in life.
I’ve got no problem with this message. The problem is, how much sacrifice is too much? If you sacrifice seeing all of your kids grow up to build some huge business, is that actually worth it?
If you go through 4 marriages, killing yourself trying to make all this money, is that the most fulfilling path you can take?
People will have their opinions, but ultimately there is no answer.
You don’t know how fulfilling success will be exactly, and so you can’t know precisely what is worth giving up on your journey to the top.
Of course, if you’re really going to be one of life’s winners you can’t really weigh yourself down asking questions like this. You must decide what you think you want, given the information that you have, and then resolve to do whatever it takes to get it.
Fingers crossed, the success of your life ends up being worth all the sacrifices that you make.
It’s hard to get any empathy whatsoever
I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that rich people have it harder than poor people.
On average, that’s just obviously not true.
If that were the case, they’d all be handing their money out.
But one challenge of being rich is that when you have more money than others, you don’t get the same level of empathy from people that most of us get.
People assume certain things about your life and character.
You see this playing out in a small way in high school. No one wants to be seen as a rich kid. People are judged negatively if their parents have money and they grew up in a big house.
Of course, there’s no good reason to do this.
There are plenty of assholes on low incomes, and plenty of good people with money. To assume someone’s character based purely on their income is f-cked up, whether they are rich or poor.
But unfair though it is, it seems to be how things work. There’s a level of judgment that comes with the territory of becoming wealthy.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do whatever it takes to become successful in life.
By all means – get your money, give your family a great life, and make a name for yourself.
Just know that when you achieve these things, you’re going to be met with a whole new set of problems.
Don’t let these things put you off pursuing your ambitions, but you don’t want to be naive about the disadvantages of success.