Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Money and Brains

Wealth is one way of measuring human accomplishment. It certainly is not the only measure nor does it measure all meaningful accomplishment, but what it lacks in breadth and quality it makes up for in ease of use.

What part of human nature is responsible for the creation of wealth? Is it intelligence? Determination? The willingness to risk failure and humiliation? The need for independence and control? Greed?

The question is an important one, both for individuals trying to take care of themselves and their families, and for societies trying to overcome mankind's natural state of poverty. The various answers determine various paths of action.

One study concludes that perseverance and determination are more important inputs for achievement than intelligence. Wasted genius is proverbial. Thomas Edison was right: "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."

Another article confirms what we all know: you don't have to be smart to be wealthy. "If you're an individual with relatively low intelligence, you shouldn't really believe that you're handicapped in achieving wealth," the author concludes. "Similarly, if you're intelligent, you shouldn't think you have an advantage in living the rich life."

Well, if being wealthy does not necessarily mean that you are smart, and not having money does not necessarily mean that you are stupid, at least we know with scientific certainty that money can buy happiness.

That is an accomplishment worth paying for.

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