Why Thinkers Grow Rich and Workoholics Stay Poor


This post is by Derek from Life and My Finances. Stay in the know with updates from all of our contributors by subscribing to our RSS Feed

When you’re at work, your boss probably isn’t too happy when he/she sees you standing around doing absolutely nothing. Unless your hands are busy with work, they assume that you’re just goofing off or being lazy. After all, production is measured in products produced, not in the number of times you blink.

When it comes to wealth though, I believe that the wealthy are the ones that are often idle and are seemingly do nothing and it’s the poor that never stop to think about what they’re actually doing. You may have heard this example, but it’s a classic and it explains my point perfectly.

Bruce is a bucket carrier for his village. Every day, he wakes up early in the morning, grabs his buckets and begins his walk toward the riverbed, which is miles away. Throughout the day, Bruce makes various trips to and from that riverbed to provide his community with fresh water.

For the workaholic, they would be thankful that they had a job and wouldn’t think any more about it. For the wealthy thinkers however, as they review their blisters after a hard day’s work, they would just continually think to themselves, “There must be a better way!” Within this scenario, the workaholic, poor thinker would carry those buckets for life, but after some time, the wealthy thinkers would finally come up with a solution, a pipeline. Instead of hauling those buckets all day, they’ll take the time to build a pipeline from the river to the village. Suddenly, they’re not observing blisters – they’re counting the continually growing mound of cash because of that continuous water flow into the village each day.


Stop and Think

If you want to be the wealthy pipeline builder, you have to slow down once in a while. It sounds counterintuitive at first I know, but doesn’t it ultimately make sense? Unless you stop and first observe what you’re doing, you’ll just continue to do things the same and you’ll stay broke for life.


While it’s important to stop and think, if you have no knowledge beyond what you’re already doing and you aren’t actively trying to learn more, then nothing new will spark in that noggin of yours. Instead of working yourself to the bone, try going to the library and picking up a book once in a while. If you’re not much of a reader, then perhaps you could find a documentary or an instructional video on something you’ve always wanted to learn. If you want to continue to grow in life, then you must continue to learn.

Act and Repeat

Once you learn to slow down once in a while and observe your process, and you learn more through books and videos, you now have the knowledge and the time to implement a new process or procedure, or perhaps it’s an entirely new business idea. Take action on your thoughts, and then repeat the process. Stop, think, learn, and act. If you follow this pattern through life, you’ll most certainly be joining the wealthy.

Finally,  as I said earlier, your thoughts need food to process.  One classic piece of research on millionaires in the US is The Millionaire Next Door. The book was written by a couple of marketing professors, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko.  Stanley and Danko’s book is key because they used actual interviews with millionaires to research how America’s rich became wealthy. What they found was that millionaires owned boring profitable businesses or were self-employed. They also found that millionaires took advantage of tax-deferred investing strategies and made decisions which emphasized saving and investing over conspicuous consumption. If you are seriously thinking about how to get rich, buy and read this book.

19 thoughts on “Why Thinkers Grow Rich and Workoholics Stay Poor

  1. Talk of epiphanies, you struck the nail smack on the head with this one! Thinking and planning is crucial for success as is stepping back from what one is doing to evaluate and see what can be improved. I think also stepping back once in a while allows us to make new connections, like the famous 20% “free time” at Google, allows people to think and come up with awesome innovations. Awesome post

  2. Workaholic people are focus on minding other people business. Their time is concentrate to perform well in order to get salary on time. Whereas, the thinker people are focus on looking for better opportunities. They think and plan their finances ahead of time in order to bulid solid foundation of their fortune.

  3. Good post and I agree that – basically – we need to constantly re-think our strategies and “work smarter”. I do have to disagree about your comment on the wealthy being idle though. Perhaps many who have inherited wealth could be considered idle, but my observation of people who have made themselves wealthy is that they are prepared to work harder than 90% of the population. Just my 2c.

    • daisy says:

      Great feedback – self made wealth is a whole different story than people who come into money. Thanks so much for leaving a comment!

  4. That’s true. When a workoholic goes to work they usually have a set goal which might be making money, impressing a boss for promotion etc not realizing that they are in robot mode. Once you slow down and are mindful of your surroundings you get a clearer picture of what is going on. It’s not easy for the workoholic to slow down though in most cases sometimes someone has to do it for them (in some cases something) in order to bring out their full potential. Great post.

  5. I never understood the people that feel like they need to stay at work for hours on end. I find that most of the people complain that they are so far behind spend half their day complaining about what they have to do.

    I think you are also right about the thinkers looking for better ways. Specifically, they get their work done and look for other ways to get ahead at the same time. Solid advice.

  6. Thinkers grow rich perhaps because they aren’t contented with what they have. They keep thinking of the different ways on how to earn more money or make more profits. On the other hand, workaholics stay poor perhaps because they are contented with that they have. All they want to do is focus on their jobs and do it well.

  7. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this year and what I an big rocks versus little rocks. Do I want to take all these little rocks (aka freelance jobs that don’t pay a lot but give me volume), or do I want to focus on big rocks (freelance jobs with bigger pay but I may have to wait awhile for some of those). In the meantime I could be learning new skills in between and thinking of ways to continue to grow the business. Otherwise if I’m just busy all the time picking up table scraps I have no time to just think how I want to grow. I’m too burned out. Good article!

  8. Very, very good points. I have to say that I am a thinker; however, I still remember one of my administrators telling me how she was absolutely overwhelmed with a task. Instead of sitting there and working 14 hour days she thought about it and figured out the set of competencies she is paid to apply – no need to say she was doing an excellent job.

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