Would people pay to reduce other people’s income? This was the question researchers set out to answer in a study published In the French Annales d’Economie et de Statistique. The answer shocked them; a rare glimpse into the nature of both people and wealth.
Here’s what happened, and the surprising and terrible mindset it revealed
Subjects were grouped together into clusters of four people and each individual given an equal amount of money. Next, they were made to gamble in ‘random’ computerized games, arranged to insure that the same two people always won, whilst the other two lost money on each round. Richer or poorer, each subject was given the opportunity to spend some of his or her money to reduce the wealth of his fellow subjects. Doing so would mean spending as much as 25 cents for every dollar taken away from his fellow players.
Surely no one would accept such an offer? After all, reducing someone else’s income does nothing to increase your own. Why do it?
And yet they did do it.
62 percent of them paid for the privilege of making their peers poorer. The most obvious conclusion was that wealth and success are relative. Within the closed system of the game, making others poorer, makes you richer. Relatively richer. That is to say, richer in comparison to others. 25 cents is a bargain to pay if it can reduce someone else’s income by a whole dollar. That was the reasoning.
People behave irrationally when It comes to money, and success.
It’s that old “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” mentality of the Wild West.
It’s also a common mindset among the poor. “Your success if my failure, so instead of help you up, I’ll pull you down.
Crabs do the same thing. Placed in a basket, they’d sooner prevent each other from climbing up than risk being left inside whilst others escape.
“I feel better about myself when I hear people speak badly of you. I feel more successful when i see you fail. I might not actually add anything to my own life, but if I look better in comparison to you, I’m happier. I’m even willing to lose a little to make sure you lose a lot. A little self-respect, a little, a little bit of my humanity, a little bit of my integrity, my sensitivity, and yes, a little bit of my money”.
This is why “haters gonna hate.”
Of course, this is not how the truly successful think.
In reality, you and I can both be successful, even at the same thing. Especially in business. In fact, if I give you a hand up, you may very well be the one to give me a hand up later when I most need it. If I protect, provide, forgive and give towards your success, I put in play all the invisible forces of prosperity that will make me a greater success down the line. With thoughts and acts of generosity towards you, I set in motion the powers of an abundance mindset and the benefits thereof.
Perhaps another question we should ask is, would you be willing to pay, to make someone else more successful?