Most people think that top entrepreneurs or business owners are obsessed by money.
While it’s certainly up there on their list of priorities, I don’t think it’s the lead driver for many of them.
A recent book by British economist John Kay, entitled ‘Obliquity. Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly’ shows that many of the best performing businesses were built by people who didn’t pursue wealth as their holy grail.
It was purely a bi-product of their need to achieve, to change the world, to feel better about themselves, or to leave a legacy.
Kay shows that companies like Boeing, Ford and Microsoft were driven by much loftier goals than filthy lucre. And ironically that is precisely why they ended up making so much of it.
That money is somewhat down the priority list for many billionaires may shock a lot of people, but it won’t surprise those who have made a heap of dollars.
All the research shows that we quickly become used to living on a larger amount, and it then does virtually nothing to increase our happiness.
For example, in a business coaching study done by the king of happiness psychology, Ed Diener, members of the Forbes 400 Rich List reported only 1% greater happiness than the average American wage earner.
And what delights the rich, long term, if it isn’t money?
Well, in a piece in Fortune magazine recently, Warren Buffett wrote, “The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, long standing friends.”
Good reminders to those of us who may be slowly destroying our friendships as we desperately chase a few more dollars.