How to get mental toughness like the filthy rich
How to get mental toughness like the filthy rich

Steve Siebold talks to rich people. A lot. A founder of the US-based Siebold Success Network and publisher of the Mental Toughness blog, Steve teaches people about “the secret they call Tiger Mentality”. His 2010 book, How Rich People Think, based on hundreds of interviews with millionaires, helps you learn how to climb the social ladder.

Apparently, it’s all about the mindset. “While scholars and philosophers debate whether any of us has the right to be rich in a world where people are starving”, Steve writes, “the world class [thinker] continues moving closer to the level of prosperity they have convinced themselves they deserve. This is why some of the smartest people are among the poorest, while people of average intelligence build fortunes”.

Being half a moron can help. But don’t worry – it’s only one aspect of getting filthy rich. You still need to reflect. Just not in some direct fashion. “To a linear thinker, time is traded for money, which means the only way I can earn more money is to work more hours. This is sad, because after interviewing hundreds of rich people, I can tell you many of them don’t work at all.” 

Conventional wisdom isn’t always lamentable, but you need to have the right perspective on it. “The middle class [the average person] and the world class both believe the rich are selfish and self absorbed”, Steve says. “The difference is the middle class thinks it’s wrong while the world class thinks it’s right.”

You’d better believe that Steve knows his stuff. His clients include Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, Volvo, Philip Morris, GlaxoSmithKline and Harrah’s Casinos. And while his speaking fee ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 – which, according to his bio, places him in the top 1 percent of professional speakers worldwide – being mentored in “how to avoid the most common killer of champions” (pro-tip: it’s not exertion) definitely would be worth the price of admission.

What are the take-home lessons from How Rich People Think? Steve doesn’t lay it out quite this succinctly, but, basically, if you want to make the big league, six of the seven cardinal sins should be embraced: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony and sloth. Some people say that vengeance has its place. This is sad, because most of us know that vengeance is hard work. It’s an energy-sapper totally at odds with slothfulness; far more prudent to stay the indolent course if you want to be truly world class. Steve does this by spending his summers at Lake Lanier, Georgia, and his winters in Palm Beach, Florida.

Many people think that self-help and motivational books are full of baloney. This is also sad, because science backs up Steve. For example, researchers from the universities of California and Toronto in 2012 presented a paper, “Higher social class predicts increased unethical behaviour”, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Four separate laboratory studies found that rich people “were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize and endorse unethical behaviour at work than were lower class individuals”. One specific finding was that rich people are more likely to take lollies from children. 

That’s the secret they call Tiger Mentality right there. 

You want to remember such Mental Toughness next Halloween when you get bogged down in the loserish, sad and wealth-depleting thinking that has you wasting cold hard cash on chocolate and lollipops for five-year-olds. This is probably the most common killer of champions, which Steve warns about. Screw that. Get focused and serve the kids a teaspoon of cement in a nice warm mug of harden-the-fuck-up. Serve yourself one as well because, as Steve says, “Without the psychological chains binding them, champions earn all they can. When it comes to thinking about money, put your emotions on the shelf”. 

Amen – put them right next to the jelly babies you’re going to scoff as you giggle yourself to sleep in the knowledge that you have the one-up on toddlers. You can’t cook an omelette without breaking some eggs, so don’t kid yourself that you’ll ever be world class if you don’t have the fortitude to smack down a few preschoolers when the job needs to get done. If a little darling’s mother takes issue with it, remember a Siebold certainty: “Someone living a restricted existence can’t tell you how to live an unrestricted existence”. Don’t listen to the PC brigade – low-income sad sacks just don’t understand. The only vice they ever learned running on the treadmill of life’s failures was envy. 

Why are poor people, who are often more intelligent, so stupid when it comes to grasping the other deadly sins? On one hand, there is indoctrination. “By the time the average person becomes an adult, they’ve been brainwashed with dozens of [average person] beliefs and philosophies about money which virtually guarantees them a life of financial mediocrity”, Steve says, as Jesus weeps. On the other hand, there are bad habits: “The masses waste a substantial percentage of their mental energy worrying about money, while the champions are fearlessly directing their focus to becoming wealthier every day”. 

Addictions are tough to break. So never mind if you begin only by flogging candy from infants: every master once had to take baby steps. And there’s help. Steve founded Mental Toughness University, which offers a 12-month training course. “Low and marginal performers have nowhere to hide”, says the website. Expose weakness, hunt down the timid; these undesirables, who won’t break from the thinking of the average person, are good only for menial and low-paid tasks. They should wipe your arse for minimum wage. That’s how you get wins on the board after you get the candy.

The university curriculum is not displayed, but morning recitals of Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo wouldn’t be out of place. Not to teach you how to think, but to remind you of what you are to become: “I am no man, I am dynamite … I am by far the most terrible human being that has existed so far”.

Welcome to the ruling class.


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