When you’re rich, the opportunities presented to you are of higher quality. You can buy a toy that can last a year because you can pay for the quality. When you’re poor, the toy you can afford is likely already broken, or will be broken within a few days of you playing with it.
This extrapolates into clothing, jobs, friends, etc. Rich people have better options, so they need fewer of them to survive. If you know your knife is always going to cut through your food, and you can invest in a knife sharpening kit and a good knife cover and case, then you only need one knife. If you don’t have a case, you don’t have a sharpener, and you don’t have a good knife that works all the time, then you need many knives so that if one doesn’t work you can try a different knife.
The same idea comes with friends.
If you have one friend who you know you can reliably count on to take care of you in any situation, then you just need that one friend.
If you have 5 situations and each friend can only take care of one situation, but they can reliably take care of the situation they are good at, then you just need 5 friends.
If your friend is not guaranteed to be available at all times, then you need back up friends in case you need help in a situation, but the friend you have for that situation is busy.
The less reliable your tools, the more tools you need. The more tools you need, the more effort and energy you have to spend to buy and maintain those tools, and the less energy and time you have to invest in yourself or in growth or in other things. As a result, the poor suffer from having to be inefficient in their investments, and they suffer from having to have huge redundancies and huge diversity in their portfolio that brings down their overall returns, and they suffer from not having to opportunity to focus their energies on a few things. That lack of focus basically ensures that they will never achieve something great, and will remain poor.
It is quite cruel for the rich to say that the poor are poor due to lack of focus, when the poor do not have the opportunity at all to choose focus without at the same time choosing risk. Focus on one friend and if that one friend fails, there’s no-one else. Rich people don’t have this problem: their one friend (say health insurance with priority everything) is much more reliable and won’t fail (like a limited HMO health insurance that has no-doctors in network near you).
Read more about articles in the Rich vs. Poor Series here.