“All things are hidden in their opposites – gain in loss, gifts in refusal, honour in humiliation, wealth in poverty, strength in weakness … life in death, victory in defeat, power in powerlessness, and so on. Therefore, if a man wish to find, let him be content to lose.”

Mulay Al ‘Arabi Ad-Drqawi


“The most dangerous creation in the world, in any society, is the man with nothing to lose. “

Al Freeman Jr.

“the second most dangerous creation in the world, in any society, is the man who feels like he is going to lose what he has.”



There are gobs of articles about how much people strive to avoid loss even incorporating an aversion to loss into decision making. But I also opened with a piece of research to point out this isn’t really true, scientifically, to make a point that we create loss avoidance narratives in some unhealthy ways.
Which leads me to social proof. In today’s I am leaning more into identity rather than any real “win versus loss” decision. In other words, I am discussing the wacky world of expectations and the absurd levels people go through to maintain wealth status. Yeah. I am discussing money and wealthy people. Dealing with the wealthy people can often be like dealing with paranoid schizophrenics. On one aspect they flaunt their wealth with absurd confidence and on another aspect they are constantly looking over their shoulder for someone or something that will take it all away. They end up with all this money, but it’s almost as if as soon as they’ve got it, they start worrying about losing it. Or somebody taking it away from them. And it scares the shit out of them (despite their confident façade). It’s almost like even though they act like they are deserving of their status, they don’t really think they would get THIS high so once they do achieve such great heights all they start thinking about is what the fall would be like. For them that feeling is like a background program running on your computer that never stops running and constantly drains the battery even when the computer is not in use. It reminds me of something that Gabriel Garcia Marquez said: “we all have public lives, and private lives, and secret lives.” True or not, all wealthy people have a secret life. That said. I believe what most wealthy people are scared shitless about is that their own wealth demise, which they seem to constantly be looking for, will come out of their secret lives. The weird thing is that their obsessive confidence and status identity stances almost encourage everyone to think the wealth bluster is covering up some secret. Anyway. Inevitably the fear of loss is both defining and a consuming thing.

Which leads me to bitterness.

Most of the wealthy people I have glanced off of have a thread of bitterness and cynicism about the world despite the fact they are not only living the good life they are clearly living life better than the majority of people. They struggle to envision a happy ending. Within that thought, tucked somewhere below the fear of losing, is a simmering blend of outrage and hurt at the state of the world relentlessly pursuing their wealth. At that point you can feel a bit of bitterness and sadness, a sense of ill fate lodged in these people. In an interesting twist of irony, they have simultaneously accepted the ‘die had been cast’ with regard to their success and feel like the die are constantly being rigged against them by others seeking to ‘win away’ their cast in life.

Which leads me to the consequences of fear of losing.

Wealth often translates into a fundamental belief in some fundamental rights – which are typically grounded in some extreme ‘self ownership’ ideals. This also means a constant belief that everyone is always trying to take their money and give it to someone else. This includes the government, but cascades down to the ‘lazy’, welfare queen, socialism grabbers.

In their minds they see the ‘grabbers’ espousing the marketplace is unfair while they see the marketplace as fair with winners who deserve all the winnings and losers who deserve all of their losing. That said. While I don’t believe that the world, nor the marketplace, is fair, the wealthy people HAVE to believe it is fair to attach to their fear of losing something. Why? Because then the only way they lose is by being a victim not of their own circumstances, but of others efforts. This begets a winner-take-all competitiveness and within that concept resides a constant fear of losing. This gets a bit worse. What I mean by that is the nefarious mental jujitsu of “if this, then that” inevitability. If I lose this, what’s next? This means a wealthy person treats every slight loss as a potential precursor to losing it all. To be clear. Most things that start, stop. There is no “slippery slope.” But that gets in the way of the internal narrative so the wealthy walk around increasingly paranoid of losing, well, anything. This constant paranoia makes them douchebags to be around and generally unhelpful in creating positive solutions for a better society. I would be remiss if I didn’t end this with pointing out that losing anything you have gained is painful – to everyone. All I am suggesting is some perspective is lost among the extremely wealthy. Ok. What I am suggesting is that a LOT of perspective is lost among the extremely wealthy. And that lost perspective is unhealthy for not only them, but society. Ponder.

Written by Bruce