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Why aren’t you rich?

Column box-John Mangun-Outside the Box

One of my favorite maxims is, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” It is one of those things particularly in science where we look for something that we think should be there and we cannot find it.

British astrophysicist Martin Rees, in his 2011 book From Here to Infinity: Scientific Horizons, used the slogan to suggest the possibility of an undiscovered, super-intelligent animal species on Earth and extraterrestrial intelligence elsewhere in the universe. By the same thinking, the 2019 Templeton Prize winner, the US-based physicist Marcelo Gleiser says that atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. Gleiser reasons that atheists are unscientific precisely because they assume that an absence of evidence of God’s existence is evidence of an absence of God.

The point is, that just because we have not “discovered” it, does not mean it does not exist. However, people distort that adage as the US did to justify the invasion of Iraq. Just because there was no proof that Saddam had “Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction” did not mean that he did not have WMDs. There were probably sound reasons to remove him from authority but possessing WMDs was not one of them.

The truth is that we limit ourselves every day by applying this idea: “The absence of evidence IS the evidence of absence.”

The primary rule for success is to do something that you like doing and that you are good at doing. Everyone that excelled at their “job” did so because they fulfilled both of those factors. You cannot get good at doing something unless you like doing it. Likewise, we rarely like doing something that we are not good at. That describes me and the game of golf.

Here is the hard truth. Most people are not financially independent because they have never believed that they “would be good” at it. And, the simplistic reverse: “I have never ‘liked’ being financially independent because I have never been good at it.”

Ask yourself, “Do I like making lots of money?” What you were probably thinking was, “Do I like HAVING lots of money?” Big difference.

Part of the problem is that we are conditioned to not have “making lots of money” as something we are allowed to “like doing.” And again, if you don’t like doing it, you probably will not be good at it.

I took one of those career assessment tests a long time ago. I had much higher than normal “key developmental indicators” to be a physician. Except for one. I do not like being around sick people. My bedside manner is so poor; don’t even ask me to visit you in the hospital. You might get sicker.

I have a friend who is a great doctor. She has the talent, the discipline for constantly increasing her knowledge, a genuine desire to heal people, is generous in giving a great amount of her time to the needy and is one of the richest people I know who is not the majority owner of a public company.

Her goal has always been to be completely financially independent and used her “doctor skill” to get there. “I like being a ‘rich doctor’ and I am good at being a ‘rich doctor.’”

“I guess I was not meant to be financially independent, otherwise I would be financially independent.” Again, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” You were meant to be whatever it is that you want to be. It is that simple. Now ask yourself, “What have I done today to become financially independent?”

Check out the list of the top 50 richest people in the Philippines. Notice any pattern? Almost all of them either have taken their companies public or have partnerships with public companies. Not one ever said, “I guess I was not meant to be financially independent otherwise I would be financially independent.”

E-mail me at mangun@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis provided by AAA Southeast Equities Inc.

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