Smart, Rich, and Right

There are people who peddle multi-level marketing products like there’s no tomorrow. They don’t understand what they’re selling, and they also don’t care. Whether the cream makes your skin smoother or more dry doesn’t matter — what matters is that you buy it. They will talk at their targets until they cave and hand over the cash, and they’ll do it all day long. A person like that will make boatloads of money, but they are neither smart nor right.

Others, instead of handing garbage from one person to another, devise their own crafty scheme. They make online courses about something they have experience with and build a clever funnel around them that gets people to click, watch, and buy. But if the primary goal is to fill their own pockets rather than truly help the customer, the outcome is not too different from the salesperson: You might be smart and rich, but you’re still not right.

Sadly, our deductive capabilities often tie themselves into a knot under the glare of large piles of money. We see someone who’s rich and think they must be smart for being loaded — and of course who’s smart must also be an ethical person. Actually, these three “features” are largely disconnected, and if anything, we should look for them from the ground up, not try to guess at them based on only the tip of the iceberg we can see.

If someone’s a good person, I couldn’t care less about their bank account or IQ. It’s nice to be around someone who shows empathy, care, and kindness, even if they can’t be your empire-building buddy. If someone’s right and smart, sometimes, their morals and their wits will be at odds. It’s hard both to live and see that struggle, but I can admire anyone who doesn’t let greed knock them off their horse.

Usually, in the long run, money works out well for those who fight to be both smart and right, but even when it doesn’t, it provides a kind of comfort being rich alone can never buy — because when it comes at the expense of smarts and ethics, you’ve sacrificed something no amount of dollars can replace.

Don’t automatically associate wealth with intelligence, and don’t think being smart makes someone right. Do your best to be a good person and to learn as much as you can, and hopefully, one day, you’ll have built the pyramid brick by brick: First you were right, then you were smart, and now you also happen to be rich.