In Outliers, Malcom Gladwell points out those children born in wealthy families are taught something very important for their life: to be independent. As an attitude, being independent is crucial for success in society, because each individual has to stand up for him or herself. One must realize that in order to get what they want, they need to go out there and seek it for themselves.
Being born in a poor family, says Gladwell, means that children have less chances of being thought to question authority and defend themselves when they’re wronged. They learn to be submissive, which, thinking of how the world works, can act as a tremendous flaw.
In this post, I’ll go over a few things that result from being born wealthy and from being born poor. The thing I’d like you to keep in mind, however, is that there is variability, and the outcomes I outlined here are by no means the rule.
To Be Born Rich
Not Worrying about Money
That’s quite obvious, but how precisely is this helpful? Sadly, one of the biggest factors that cause arguments in any kind of relationship (ranging from child-parent relationships to partner-partner relationship) is money, and more precisely, their absence. When you have money, you have one less thing to argue about, generally speaking.
When you grow up in a wealthy family, making choices is like second nature to you. You’re asked from a very young age to pick what you want to eat, how you want to dress, what toys you want to play with, and the list goes on and on. This teaches you that you’re in control, and by the time you become an adult, you are completely used to what this feels like.
Forgetting to be Grateful
The problem with thinking that you’re entitled to choose is that you’re always going to think that way. Sometimes, however, the choice is not yours to make, or is simply not available at the time you want it. This can lead to frustration and that, in turn, can make you forget the good things you’re blessed to have.
Feeling Like You Don’t Have to Accomplish Anything
This is by no means always the case, but there are occasions in which children who were born in rich families don’t feel motivated to achieve anything in life. They already have it all, so why bother? This attitude tends to change in later years, but it does leave its mark by delaying achievement.
To Be Born Poor
Understanding the People around You
When you’re born in a family with limited financial power, you quickly learn that you’re more depended upon your environment than not. Part of that environment are the people around you, from whom you might require help. This is why, coming from a poor family you learn to communicate with and understand people better.
Awareness of the Small Things
When you don’t have money to spend on everything you’d like to have, you tend to turn your attention to things that don’t require money, and appreciate them more. In this manner, you learn to love nature and be grateful for the people around you.
Lack of money can cause a state of constant fear, and instability. If your parents are not capable to make ends meet, their stressed will likely reflect on you as well. I have seen people who grew up during the Second World War in Europe, who were extremely poor during their childhood. Even after the war passed, and they were able to become richer, they still feared losing their money.
Desire to Blend In
Dependence upon the environment, and the people in it, might cause you to want to be the same as everyone. This desire is driven in part by wishing to reach the standards of society (for being poor means being below the standard). When that standard is reached many feel compelled to remain within its boundaries, even if that means forsaking some parts that make you…well, you.
Does it mean that what is written here should be treated as fixed and bound to happen? Absolutely not! Besides individual differences, there is always one tool that you must be aware of: once you’ve become conscious of a certain problem, or a certain pattern of behavior, you can fix it. The problem lies not in being a certain way, but in not being aware of it.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not defined as the condition you were born in. You actions, and attitude towards life are the factors that define who you are. The rest is just part of your history.
Read More! Here are a few links to other articles on this topic:
Why Family Wealth Is A Curse (forbes.com)
Why Family Wealth Is A Blessing (forbes.com)
How the Rich are Different from the Poor I: Choice (psychologytoday.com)
How the Rich are Different from the Poor II: Empathy (psychologytoday.com)
These first four articles are the main sources I used for putting together this post. If you’re interested in this topic, be sure to read them.Finally, here are just two posts I found very interesting:
How Does It Feel To Be RICH? (luckisforlosers.wordpress.com)
21 Ways Rich People Think Differently (teremity.wordpress.com)