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Four Patterns Around Money

Interesting NY Times article from a couple years ago -- "Net Worth, Self-Worth and How We Look at Money."

It gives a brief summary of an academic paper that found four basic patterns around money:

1. Money avoidance2. Money worship3. Money status4. Money vigilance

The first was avoiding money by being worried about its negative effects, or thinking it's dirty to have. People with money avoidance tend to have low incomes, low net worths, and are young.

Money worship means people think that money will solve all their problems, which has its own negative effects. While these people get wealthier (obviously), it places a lot of personal self-worth on having money and leads to risky and neurotic behavior.

The Lateness/Success Parabola

X Axis: Successful, active, energetic, busy

Y Axis: How frequently the person is late

End result: Unsuccessful people are late for meetings, cancel, miss them, etc, frequently because they're disorganized, sloppy, etc. As you get to the middle of the curve and moderate/large success, people don't miss meetings or be late. Being late and disorganized is hugely negative correlated with success.

But here's the interesting question: Why does the frequency of lateness/cancellations go up on the high end of the curve again? I don't personally think that successful people are less conscientious; all of my experience shows the opposite, by and large. It's a popular media narrative, but seems largely unwarranted and untrue.

What is true is that people who are doing important and large-scale things will wind up with events that are orders of magnitude more important than whatever is scheduled, and thus really justifiably need to cancel. I had a good friend who is clockwork-on-time shoot me a message a few minutes before we were set to talk that he had to cancel because he had an important investor want to fund 25% of their target for a Series A round. Yeah, dude, no worries. Kill it.

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