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Why ‘Dumb’ People Win and ‘Smart’ People Lose – Simple Financial Lesson

Why do students end up working for C students? If teachers mould the future generation and footballers only entertain people, why does a footballer make more money in a week than a teacher can make in a lifetime? Why the misplaced priority in our society?

You can replace the footballer with any profession that may seem to offer less intrinsic value like the run-way model, reality TV show star, Musician and other entertainers. And also replace the teacher with any other noble profession that actually benefits the society on a longer-term like doctors, lawyers, nurses, mathematicians, and so on. Why do these academically smart people end up losing in the game of wealth creation, while the academically dumb people win by miles ahead?

As unfair as it may seem, the reason the footballer earn ridiculously more money than a school teacher is because, the entertainer is offering value to millions of people at a time, while the teacher offers value to a few people at a time. A football match typically reaches millions of audience on the pitch and through live broadcast. So there are millions of eyeballs, therefore more money to be made. They also make money from endorsement deals outside the pitch, thanks to their large fan base.

But a teacher can only teach a few students at a time. In fact, through the entire career of an average teacher, she may only get to teach about 1,200 students. The teacher may seem to bring more value to the society by offering education, but the entertainer who bring momentary pleasure still take away the big checks.

There are three things you can do about this; complain about how our society rewards non-essential activities over essential ones, accept this as the reality. Or you can learn how to play the game. If you choose the third option, continue watching to learn how you too can play this game to your advantage.

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It’s a game of numbers

There are two ways to create wealth in the real economy: one way is to solve a problem for lots of people; the other way is to solve a problem for people who solve the problem for lots of people. Another way to put it is that if you want to make a million dollars, you can either sell a $100 product or service to 10,000 people or $10,000 product to 100 people; you can also be somewhere in the middle. The point is that wealth is a game of numbers.

Let’s be realistic; we are generally more attracted to entertainment than education, or health-related activities. There is a larger market for people in the entertainment and fashion profession because vanity sells. We will continue to have people like Kim Kardashian, Lionel Messy and Cardy B earning more in a week than the best doctors or teachers will earn in years.

The goal is not for teachers to compete with entertainers. I just want the teacher, the writer, the accountant to know that you too can play the number game of serving more people in your profession and generating more income.

For instance, writing may not seem like a career that can make you rich, but J.K. Rowling became a billionaire from selling over 400 million copies of the Harry Potter series. That made her the first person to become a billionaire from writing books.

Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif became celebrity doctors from the show ‘Botched’ on E! They took their plastic surgery procedure to TV, and reached millions of people. What was supposed to be a boring, uninteresting job became a source of edutainment for millions of people? Both doctors are worth millions of dollars today.

Many hard-working people in noble professions will have to live with what they can get from their job. But if you are privileged to information like this, you have a choice to do more for your life and family.

Depth Vs Breadth

The reason supposedly dumb people win while intelligent people lose is that intelligent people focus all their effort on the depth and little to no effort on breadth. If life was an oil field, intelligent people focus on discovering oil with little thoughts on how to distribute it. Whereas the ones you call dumb start getting people to buy the oil even before it’s discovered. A reporter for a major news outlet once asked Robert Kiyosaki for advice on how to become a published author. Robert without a thought told her to enrol for sales training. Noticing her disappointed with his response, he added, “There is a reason I’m a best-selling author, not a best-writing author”. It’s all a game of numbers. The idea is nothing without distribution.

The average intelligent person understands the importance of depth and breath. That is why they don’t hesitate to hire the person with depth. But the smart people while laying emphasis on depth often devalue the importance of breath. And that is why A students end up working for C students.

Depth is about how much knowledge you can acquire; breadth is about how far your knowledge can go in the society. This is why you see an average guy with average idea become wealthy while the intelligent and academically educated person continues to struggle. In the game of money, it’s not enough to be intelligent. You must be savvy with distribution of your intelligence.

Why you need to think like an entrepreneur

You see, everyone doesn’t have to start and run a business. But I believe everyone should think like an entrepreneur. And in this context, an entrepreneur is someone who identifies a need and takes financial risks to profit from the solution. An entrepreneur is not just concerned about having an intelligent idea or having a business that pays bills; entrepreneurs want to distribute their ideas or solutions to as many people as possible as efficiently as possible. This is where you need to think like an entrepreneur. You have to see your profession beyond what you do to earn a living. Your profession is your calling; it is what you profess to believe in. After all, that is where the word came from; ‘to profess’.

If your profession is what you profess to believe in, then you shouldn’t limit it to just something to meet your daily bread. It should be a mission to distribute your belief to as many people as you can possibly reach. A mathematics teacher should believe that mathematics is the most important subject because it helps students to understand and interpret the laws of nature. You may not agree with them, but the two plastic surgeons on Botched TV show believe they are doing a very important job of helping people regain their self-esteem. And they are using a TV show to distribute their profession.

Magic happens when you begin to see your profession as the noblest service to humanity. You’ll start thinking like an entrepreneur. You will start seeing your profession not just as something to pay your bills but a tool to change the world. Then you can start playing the number game.

Tools to help you play the number game

Playing the number game is not only fueled by greed; it can as well be fuel by a desire to serve as many people as possible. In the past, you and I couldn’t do anything about this. Today, we have technology tools that help you reach a large audience. I’m able to share this knowledge with you because of digital technology tools like YouTube and a website. I’ve always loved to teach and share knowledge. I discuss most of the things I write about with my friends. But that’s only a few people. By publishing articles on our website and uploading videos on YouTube, we are able to reach as many people as possible. That is playing the number game. There are many teachers on YouTube today, reaching millions of people. This is not possible in the classroom. Doctors are offering free advice online reaching hundreds of thousands of people while keeping their regular job. The more people they can reach, the more money they can make, and the more opportunity they can access. Regular people are creating online courses teaching what they know and reaching lots of people. It’s all about playing the number game.

You can choose to treat your profession as a means to pay your bills or you can accept it as a higher calling to serve. It’s a worthy cause to want your service to reach more people. It’s rather selfish to want to only serve a few people. So next time you wonder why entertainers are more rewarded than people who offer noble services to the society, remember; it’s a game of numbers. Whether this is fair or not is a different discussion. It’s better to be smart than to be a victim.

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