Why You Should Stay Poor to Succeed Ep 388



Alex Hormozi, host of a business-focused podcast and owner of acquisition.com, dives into the concept of inversion thinking, a powerful problem-solving technique that involves tackling issues by considering how to achieve the opposite of the desired outcome. Hormozi emphasizes the need for self-approval over others' opinions and highlights 28 behaviors that keep people financially poor, such as delaying action, seeking advice from unsuccessful individuals, and prioritizing appearances over wealth. He stresses the importance of learning from failures, embracing discomfort, and focusing on actions that drive significant progress. Hormozi encourages entrepreneurs to uphold high standards, keep promises, and consistently work on what truly matters, ultimately advocating for spending less than one earns to build true wealth. He concludes by flipping the script on poverty, outlining positive actions that lead to success and fulfillment.

Summary Notes

Prioritizing Wealth over Opinions

  • Emphasizing the importance of valuing one's own approval over others' opinions.
  • Spending less and not seeking external validation are key to prioritizing being rich.
  • One must be willing to disregard the opinions of others to respect oneself.

You have to prioritize being rich, which means spending less, because you are not valuing the opinion of other people over your own, which, because you respect your own approval more than that of other people, you have to be willing to die to the opinion of others rather than dying to the opinion of yourself.

This quote highlights the necessity of self-approval in the journey to wealth, suggesting that wealth accumulation requires a focus on personal goals rather than external validation.

Inversion Thinking

  • Charlie Munger's concept of inversion thinking is used to solve problems by considering their opposites.
  • This method leverages the brain's natural tendency to identify problems more easily than solutions.
  • Inversion thinking has been applied successfully to various aspects of life, including business and marriage.

And the reason he gives it that way is that he believes in a process called inversion thinking, which is where you solve problems in reverse.

The quote introduces Munger's inversion thinking as a strategy for problem-solving by looking at the opposite of what one wants to achieve.

Alex Hormozi's Background

  • Alex Hormozi introduces himself and his company, acquisition.com.
  • The company has a portfolio that generates over $100 million a year.
  • Hormozi creates videos to share his knowledge and for personal enjoyment.

If you don't know who I am, my name is Alex Hormozi. I own acquisition.com. It's a portfolio of companies that is over $100 million a year.

This quote serves as a brief introduction to Alex Hormozi's professional background and his motivation for sharing business insights.


  • The first way to stay poor is to delay action by constantly planning to start "tomorrow."
  • Procrastination is presented as the most effective way to avoid financial success.

So the first and best way to stay poor is to start tomorrow.

The quote succinctly captures the idea that procrastination is a significant barrier to financial success.

Inaction After Learning

  • Reading extensively without implementing knowledge is a common pitfall.
  • Taking action on a single book's teachings can be more beneficial than reading many books without application.

The next one is to read lots of books and then do nothing.

This quote illustrates the point that acquiring knowledge without application is futile in the pursuit of wealth.

Seeking Advice from the Unsuccessful

  • Taking financial advice from poor people is counterproductive.
  • Surrounding oneself with unsuccessful individuals can lead to misguided judgments and poor decision-making.

Take advice from poor people on how to be rich.

The quote emphasizes the irony and ineffectiveness of seeking wealth-building advice from those who have not achieved it.

Choosing a Supportive Spouse

  • The importance of selecting a spouse who supports one's ambitions, rather than one who induces guilt for working hard.
  • A supportive partner is crucial for achieving one's dreams without resentment.

Pick a spouse who will make you feel guilty for working.

The quote warns against choosing a partner who discourages ambition and hard work, which can lead to a lack of progress and eventual resentment.

View of Failure

  • The detrimental effect of quitting after a single failure.
  • Understanding failure as a learning opportunity rather than a stopping point.

Fail once, quit forever.

This quote captures the idea that an incorrect perception of failure can lead to a permanent cessation of effort and a guaranteed path to staying poor.

Perception of Fairness

  • Believing the world is fair can lead to frustration and inaction.
  • Accepting life's challenges as character-building is more productive than complaining about fairness.

Think that the world is fair.

The quote challenges the notion of fairness and suggests that expecting fairness can lead to disappointment and stagnation.

Blaming Circumstances

  • Complaining about uncontrollable circumstances is unproductive.
  • Embracing one's past and its challenges is essential for personal growth and developing resilience.

Blame your circumstances and complain.

The quote implies that blaming one's circumstances is a surefire way to remain in a state of poverty, as it leads to inaction.

Dependency on Others for Rescue

  • Relying on external forces like the government or other people for salvation is a flawed strategy.
  • Self-reliance is key to escaping poverty.

Expect the government to save you.

This quote underscores the futility of waiting for external rescue and the importance of taking personal responsibility for one's financial well-being.

Valuing Others' Opinions Over Self-Belief

  • Allowing others' opinions to dictate one's sense of success can impede personal progress.
  • Self-declared success is a powerful mindset shift towards achieving wealth.

Value the opinion of others over your own.

The quote suggests that prioritizing others' opinions over one's own self-belief is a significant obstacle to achieving success and wealth.

Subjective Nature of Success

  • Success is perceived differently by individuals based on their own definitions and standards.
  • Billionaires may not feel successful, while those with less can feel like a great success.
  • Success is a choice and a matter of personal perspective.
  • One's own success can be realized by comparing oneself to those in less fortunate circumstances.

"People who are billionaires who don't feel like they are successful, and there are people who have almost no money and absolutely think that they're an amazing success."

This quote illustrates that success is subjective and not necessarily tied to financial status. It emphasizes that both the billionaire who doesn't feel successful and the financially struggling individual who does feel successful are correct based on their personal perspectives.

"It's our choice, right?"

This quote underlines the idea that individuals have the power to define their own success. It suggests that success is a personal decision rather than an objective measure.

"You can accept and you can become successful today, because if you look at yourself compared to people in a much worse off scenario, they would love to have your life."

This quote suggests that recognizing one's own success can come from understanding and appreciating one's circumstances relative to those less fortunate.

"The success is a process rather than an outcome."

This quote emphasizes that success should be viewed as an ongoing journey aligned with one's values and efforts, rather than a final destination or specific achievement.

Avoidance of Discomfort

  • Avoiding discomfort is a common reason for not pursuing growth or taking risks.
  • Discomfort often comes from self-judgment about not being skilled in new endeavors.
  • Embracing discomfort is crucial for personal and financial growth.

"A lot of us, we have new things. You have to take risks, you have to learn things. And it's uncomfortable because you will suck, right?"

This quote points out that learning new skills and taking risks is inherently uncomfortable because initial failure is normal. The discomfort is part of the growth process.

"The discomfort that they're feeling is the judgment they impose upon themselves about not being good at something they've never done before."

This quote identifies the source of discomfort as self-imposed judgment, which is irrational because it's normal not to excel immediately at unfamiliar tasks.

Tolerance of Mediocrity

  • Tolerating mediocrity, whether in oneself or others, leads to a decline in standards and results.
  • Successful individuals and leaders do not accept mediocrity; they strive for excellence.
  • Raising one's own standards is essential to inspire and lead others effectively.

"If you tolerate mediocrity from others, you will beget more mediocrity."

This quote warns that accepting subpar performance leads to a culture of mediocrity, which can perpetuate and worsen over time.

"They hold a standard. And here's the catch, that they themselves stay above, which means you must raise your own standard so that you can model what it looks like for other people around you to hold themselves, right?"

This quote explains that successful leaders not only set high standards but also adhere to them personally. This sets an example for others to follow and upholds a culture of excellence.

Breaking Promises

  • Making and then breaking promises, especially to oneself, diminishes self-respect and reputation.
  • Consistently keeping promises is key to maintaining personal integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Self-respect is tied to personal accountability and the knowledge of one's own potential efforts.

"You make promises to yourself and you break promises to yourself."

This quote highlights the importance of self-commitment and the negative impact of failing to honor one's own promises.

"I think your own respect is the hardest to earn because you know how hard you could have pushed."

This quote reflects on the difficulty of earning self-respect, as one is fully aware of their own potential and when they fall short of it.

Waiting for Perfect Conditions

  • Waiting for the perfect moment or conditions to act is a barrier to success.
  • Perfect conditions are an illusion; they do not exist.
  • Starting under imperfect conditions builds resilience and adaptability for future challenges.

"You got to wait for everything to be perfectly aligned for you to be successful."

This quote sarcastically criticizes the idea that success requires perfect circumstances, suggesting that such a belief is a sure way to remain unsuccessful.

"If you need perfect conditions to be successful, the moment the conditions change, you will stop being successful."

This quote warns that reliance on perfect conditions is unsustainable because circumstances are always changing. Success requires the ability to thrive despite imperfections.

Prioritizing Appearances Over Substance

  • Prioritizing the appearance of wealth over actual financial stability is a common mistake.
  • True wealth involves spending less and investing more, not just looking wealthy.
  • Valuing one's own approval over the opinions of others is crucial for financial success.

"You have to prioritize being rich, which means spending less for a long period of time, because you are not valuing the opinion of other people over your own."

This quote suggests that true wealth comes from prudent financial behavior and self-reliance rather than seeking approval from others through displays of wealth.

"You have to be willing to die to the opinion of others rather than dying to the opinion of yourself."

This quote emphasizes the importance of self-respect and personal values over societal judgments and the superficial need to appear wealthy.

Avoiding Essential Work

  • Focusing on busywork instead of impactful tasks is a common way to avoid progress.
  • Wealthy individuals prioritize tasks that have the greatest impact on their goals.
  • Eliminating non-essential tasks is key to moving forward and achieving success.

"This is a great way to stay poor, is that you work all day long, you're busy, you're full of activity, you're doing stuff, and nothing important moves forward."

This quote criticizes the tendency to confuse being busy with being productive, pointing out that activity without progress is a path to stagnation.

"They're doing the right stuff and they're making sure, better stated, making sure the right stuff gets done in general, whether or not it's them or someone else, alright?"

This quote highlights the importance of focusing on tasks that truly matter for success, whether carried out by oneself or delegated to others. It's the impact of the work, not the quantity, that counts.

Breaking Promises

  • Making and breaking promises to oneself is akin to doing so to others.
  • Failure to follow through on commitments can be detrimental to trust and success.

Say you're going to do something and then don't do it. This is just like making and breaking promises to others himself.

This quote emphasizes the importance of keeping one's word, highlighting that not doing what you say you will is comparable to breaking a promise to someone else.

Conformity and Wealth

  • Following the masses can inhibit wealth accumulation, as most people are not in the 1%.
  • Seeking approval from or mimicking the majority, who may not be wealthy, is counterproductive.

Great way to stay poor is do what everyone else is doing, right? Because if you're doing what everyone else is doing, most people are not in the 1%.

Alex Hormozi suggests that emulating the financial habits of the majority is not conducive to becoming wealthy, as most people do not achieve significant financial success.

Podcast Support

  • The speaker does not run ads or sell products and asks for support via ratings and reviews.
  • Sharing the podcast can help more entrepreneurs succeed and improve their businesses.

The only ask that I can ever have of you guys is that you help me spread the word so we can help more entrepreneurs make more money.

Alex Hormozi requests that listeners support the podcast by leaving reviews and sharing it, which can have a positive impact on other entrepreneurs.

Effort vs. Requirements

  • Merely doing one's best may not be enough if it falls short of what is required.
  • To achieve success, one must exceed what is required and continuously improve.

Do your best, not what it takes. Because the reality is a lot of times your best may suck and what is required is what is required.

This quote stresses the distinction between doing one's best and doing what is necessary to succeed. It suggests that one should strive to exceed minimum requirements.

Inaction and Procrastination

  • Talking about goals and preparations without taking action is unproductive.
  • Actual work is often neglected in favor of discussing or planning for it.

Talk more. Do less. Post about your goals. Post about your affirmations.

Alex Hormozi criticizes the tendency to discuss ambitions without following through with concrete actions, which can hinder progress.

Perpetual Novelty Seeking

  • Constantly starting new projects without finishing them leads to a cycle of incomplete efforts.
  • This behavior stems from initial optimism that fades upon realizing the effort required.

Start something new today, start something new tomorrow. Repeat.

The quote illustrates the unproductive habit of chasing new ventures without seeing any through to completion, leading to a lack of achievement.

External Validation

  • Valuing others' opinions over one's own can lead to poor self-assessment and hinder success.
  • Self-belief is crucial for progress and wealth accumulation.

Believe what other people think about you more than what you think about you.

Alex Hormozi warns against prioritizing external opinions over self-perception, which can prevent personal and financial growth.

Repetition of Mistakes

  • Repeating the same mistakes leads to stagnation and prevents improvement.
  • Recognizing and learning from errors is essential for progress.

Make a mistake, then wait. Repeat the mistake.

This quote advises against the continuous repetition of errors, suggesting that learning from mistakes is key to avoiding a cycle of poor outcomes.


  • Being easily replaceable limits career advancement and income potential.
  • Developing unique skills and knowledge can make one less replaceable and more valuable.

Be replaceable. All right? This is a great way to stay poor.

Alex Hormozi references a quote from Navarrova, emphasizing that being easily replaceable is not conducive to wealth accumulation.

Abandoning Successful Strategies

  • Abandoning methods that have proven successful is a sure way to hinder financial progress.
  • Consistency in effective strategies is key to sustaining success.

Find something that works. Dear God, find something that works and then stop doing it.

The quote highlights the irrationality of ceasing to employ successful strategies, which can lead to financial instability.

Personal Responsibility and Self-Reliance

  • Individuals know what to do to achieve their goals but often choose not to do it.
  • Taking personal responsibility for one's own financial well-being is crucial.
  • Self-reliance is key; expecting others to save you is a sure way to remain unsuccessful.

"You had the ability. You knew what to do, and you just chose not to do it."

This quote emphasizes the importance of personal agency and the common knowledge individuals have about what is necessary to achieve goals, yet they often fail to act on that knowledge.

Simplicity of Action

  • Achieving goals can be straightforward, such as losing weight by eating healthily and exercising, or making money by reaching out and selling.
  • People complicate success by overthinking instead of taking simple, consistent actions.

"Most people do know what to do. People are like, I don't know how to lose weight. I'm like, yeah, you do. Stop eating shit and move."

Alex Hormozi points out that most people are aware of the basic steps needed to reach their goals but fail to implement these simple actions.

The Importance of Persistence

  • Finding a strategy that works and sticking with it is critical for success.
  • Many people stop doing what works for them, which is a mistake.

"Find something that works. So a lot of you do know something that works and then stop doing it."

The quote suggests that once individuals find a successful strategy, they should continue to apply it rather than abandoning it prematurely.

Hiring Practices

  • Hiring incompetent people is a guaranteed way to fail in business and remain poor.
  • Surrounding oneself with smart individuals is essential for success and growth.

"Hire dumb people. Excellent way to stay poor and have a bad business."

This sarcastic advice from Alex Hormozi highlights the negative impact of poor hiring decisions on business success and personal wealth.

Openness to Learning

  • Assuming you are always right is a barrier to success and learning.
  • Successful people have a strong desire to learn and the humility to acknowledge they don't know everything.

"Assume you are always right. How many people here you're watching this know someone who always just think they're right and they're not successful?"

Alex Hormozi challenges the mindset of always being right, suggesting that it is a common trait among unsuccessful individuals.

Financial Discipline

  • Spending more than you earn is a surefire way to remain poor, regardless of income level.
  • Controlling spending and living within one's means is key to financial success.

"Spend more than you make. And the beautiful part about this is that it doesn't matter how much you make, if you spend more than it, you can be poor."

The quote emphasizes the importance of financial discipline and the dangers of overspending in relation to personal wealth.

Inversion Thinking

  • Thinking about ways to destroy something can help avoid pitfalls and lead to success by accident.
  • Avoiding mistakes is as important as taking the right actions.

"Think about the ways to destroy it. I just gave you 28 different ways that you can be poor, right? When you reverse them and you make those the rules for living that. That you have, then what happens is you succeed by accident, because you avoid the pitfalls."

Alex Hormozi introduces the concept of inversion thinking, where considering the actions that lead to failure can guide individuals to success by helping them avoid those actions.

Positive Actions for Success

  • Read books and apply the knowledge within.
  • Take advice from successful individuals.
  • Choose a supportive spouse.
  • Persist through failure.
  • Value your own opinion and seek out discomfort.
  • Strive for excellence and keep promises.
  • Act despite imperfect conditions.
  • Focus on important tasks and follow through on commitments.
  • Be unique and irreplaceable.
  • Hire smart people and be open to learning.
  • Spend less than you earn.

"Start today. Read books. Do the stuff that's in the books. Take advice from rich people on how to be rich."

Alex Hormozi provides a list of positive actions that, when the rules of poverty are inverted, can lead to success, emphasizing the importance of education, mentorship, and action.

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