On average, Rich people get more practice making decisions, are less stressed when making a decision, and are more emotionally detached from the decision, allowing them to use more logical reasoning to make a good decision. They are also better educated, and so have more knowledge with which to make a better decision with. All these factors make the Rich better at making decisions than the Poor. By learning what sets the Poor back and what helps the Rich succeed, you can benefit by applying the lessons to your life and improving yourself. Here’s a more in-depth examination:
Rich people can afford to be in more activities than poor people, and they are more likely to be involved in helping to organize or run events or organizations, placing them in a position to face more decisions in general. Practice makes perfect, and the Rich get a lot more practice than the Poor.
A consequence of this unequal distribution of decision making is that the Poor, by facing so few decisions, are more affected by each one. There are several reasons for this: impact, memory, and money. When you have $10, making a $1 decision is difficult; when you have $100, it’s easier to make a decision about $1. Same idea. Also, if you only make one decision a day, you’re going to remember that one decision, whereas if you make 20 in a day, you are more likely to forget most of them. Finally, Poor people dwell longer on the decisions, classically conditioning (wiki) themselves to feel certain emotions when faced with a decision. They dwell on past decisions more because they don’t get many opportunities for upward mobility, so the few times they did have an opportunity stand out. These emotions toward past decisions are usually negative, because it is unlikely for them to be making good decisions due to all the reasons we’ve covered. In fact, the fact that they are still poor is a daily reminder of their poor decision making. All this translates into stress that would affect anyone’s ability, Rich or Poor, to make a good decision, and this stress, anxiety, and negative emotional state are all triggered by decisions, which significantly reduces a Poor person’s chance at improving their decision making. Rich people are less at risk for this because Rich people make many decisions that change the course of their lives, and constantly make new ones to flush out any bad memories of the old. This contributes to the Poor being stuck mentally and emotionally in the past and being unable to move forward and progress, which in turn keeps them poor.
The role of emotion in decision making is also fundamentally different: for the Rich, they believe that the best decisions are made using critical thinking, and leaders are honored for remaining calm under pressure (How Successful People Stay Calm – Forbes). For the poor, since they are uneducated, they don’t have the knowledge or frameworks to think with logic anyway, so instead they rely on the only thing they have to make decisions: gut feelings and emotions. This is why a crafty salesman will succeed at manipulating a poor person, because the poor person will be led on by the feel good tactics of sales, but will never trick a smart and savvy investor who uses numbers and financial intelligence to make purchases. Thus, a Poor person is more likely to be taken advantage of than a Rich person, making the chances of a Poor person making a good decision even worse.
Read more about articles in the Rich vs. Poor Series here.