Wealth and superstition, two seemingly unrelated concepts, have long intrigued individuals across societies and cultures. It is not uncommon to find that many affluent superstitious individuals harbor deep-rooted beliefs and engage in practices that may appear irrational to the outside world.
This peculiar connection between wealth and superstition raises intriguing questions: Why are wealthy people often superstitious? What drives them to seek solace in ancient rituals, mystical practices, and unconventional beliefs?
In this article, we embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries behind this phenomenon, exploring captivating stories and psychological insights that shed light on the intriguing relationship between wealth and superstition.
By delving into the realm of the wealthy and their superstitious inclinations, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of the human psyche and the fascinating ways in which it shapes our perceptions, behaviors, and pursuit of fortune.
Table of Contents
Superstition: The Mysterious Temple Incident
In a certain place, there was a temple with a thriving incense. One day, the temple’s abbot went out on business and didn’t return until late at night.
The next morning brought devastating news that the abbot had tragically passed away in a car accident. The traffic police determined that the abbot was solely responsible as he had been drink driving, crashing his off-road vehicle into a tree by the roadside, resulting in his untimely demise.
This unconventional form of passing away through drunk driving prompted the monks at the temple to keep silent and not spread the news. The abbot was given a funeral, attended by influential local figures who either showed up or sent condolences. However, during the funeral, two women arrived in tears, each with a child, claiming to be the abbot’s widows and demanding child support.
Everyone was astonished, and they proceeded to check the abbot’s bank accounts, discovering millions of dollars in savings. It turned out that the abbot had deep connections in the local community, and various officials and wealthy businessmen had come to offer him money. The meager temple donations were insignificant compared to the substantial wealth accumulated through these affluent friends, amounting to millions of dollars.
The same story can be interpreted differently by different people. What piques our interest is: Why do wealthy individuals give so much money to monks?
You might think that the abbot’s ability to amass millions through enticing customers is impressive. But there are individuals who are even more adept at it.
The Case of Chen Zhencong
Chen Zhencong (陈振聪), a former bartender who was practically penniless due to a failed business, had a stroke of luck when he crossed paths with Gong Ruxin, once hailed as the “Asian Female Billionaire.” Chen successfully gained Gong’s trust and, over the course of approximately ten years, she paid him a whopping 2.7 billion Hong Kong dollars in feng shui consulting fees.
With the money, Chen purchased two private jets. If it weren’t for Chen’s greed, forged will, and attempt to seize Gong’s entire inheritance, which ultimately exposed his misdeeds, he could have bought a third private jet.
While the abbot swindled many wealthy individuals and earned only millions, Chen deceived Gong Ruxin and acquired billions. (For those interested in the stories of Gong Ruxin and Chen Zhencong, feel free to google them)
Insights from a Wise Fortune Teller: The Psychology Behind Wealth and Superstition
A few years ago, we attended an event for bloggers, coincidentally sharing a room with an online fortune teller. This fortune teller cleverly brought his business online and achieved great success. He noticed that we were different from the curious masses outside.
Their immediate reaction upon encountering a fortune teller was to request a reading, much to the old man’s annoyance.
As for us, instead of seeking a fortune reading, we engaged him in discussions about profit models, target customers, and psychology. The fortune teller was delighted, feeling that we were one of his own, and finally let his guard down, revealing his true thoughts.
The fortune teller said:
In today’s world, the wealthy and powerful are more superstitious, while the lower class and farmers are also more superstitious. Only the middle-class office workers are less superstitious.
Therefore, if you want to conduct business successfully, you can only make money from the wealthy. While the poor may be willing to give you money, they simply don’t have much. The middle class, on the other hand, won’t believe in you, so you won’t be able to earn money from them.
This concept is not complicated, and can be termed as “a good man doesn’t make predictable money”.
Predictable money refers to the fixed salary earned by working a regular job, where the amount is the same each month. Unpredictable money, on the other hand, refers to income that is not fixed and can fluctuate, with the potential to make a fortune or lose it all.
The wealthy and the poor both earn unpredictable money, while the middle-class office workers earn predictable money, resulting in different behavioral patterns.
For the wealthy, the world is full of uncertainty, and the human mind seeks to find patterns within it. The addiction to gambling is also an expression of seeking patterns from random events. The wealthy are superstitious because they want to find patterns in unrelated events and are willing to pay for it, without batting an eye at fees amounting to tens or hundreds of thousands.
For the middle-class office workers, the world is predictable. If they study hard, they can get into a good university, which leads to a good job, high salary, and the ability to buy a house through a mortgage. This established path has become their belief. The middle class is particularly afraid of uncertainty and, as a result, they are willing to give up various opportunities in pursuit of stability.
The Experiment That Reveals Our Conditioned Reflexes
Let us explain through two experiments.
You’ve surely heard of Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment (巴甫洛夫条件反射实验), where a bell is rung before feeding a dog. Over time, the dog begins to salivate upon hearing the bell. Now, let’s talk about another form of conditioning. Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner conducted an experiment where he fed pigeons in a completely random manner.
After some time, he made a surprising discovery—these pigeons became “neurotic.” Some pigeons would repeatedly shake their heads in a specific direction, while others constantly turned clockwise or danced as if possessed.
Each pigeon developed its own conditioned reflex system, believing that by repeating a certain behavior, it would be rewarded with food. And indeed, they did receive food, further reinforcing these behaviors.
Skinner’s neurotic pigeons represent the behavioral pattern of wealthy individuals, while Pavlov’s dogs represent the middle class.
The Case of Jack Ma and the Glass Ceiling of the Middle Class
When Jack Ma went to visit Master Wang Lin, it caused a stir throughout the internet. Why did this happen? To put it simply, Jack Ma’s fans belong to the middle class, and they are like Pavlov’s dogs.
They couldn’t accept the fact that their idol went to visit someone they considered a fraud. However, Skinner’s pigeons can be understood, as long as a solution is found—trying different paths wouldn’t hurt since there’s nothing to lose.
Let us speak impartially. What is the glass ceiling for the middle class? It’s themselves. They pursue stability and fear uncertainty, which ensures that they cannot ascend. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
As the saying goes, “Don’t just see the thief eating meat, but not the thief’s suffering.” Pursuing stability ensures that at least you won’t go bankrupt, while countless examples exist of wealthy people becoming poor in an instant.
Choosing Your Path in a World of Uncertainty
If you are a young person just entering society, you should have a plan for your future. Suppose you want to lead a safe and stable life. In that case, you should choose the normal mode, which entails working as an employee, earning money, buying a house, and supporting your family while rejecting all forms of uncertainty—this is the choice made by the majority.
However, if you desire a life that is not tranquil or stable, then you should choose the challenging mode. This means actively embracing uncertainty and, no matter what methods you use, as long as you avoid getting caught and earn significant money, you will become an object of envy. But at the same time, you must accept an additional attribute—superstition.
This attribute enables you to do things you wouldn’t dare to do otherwise, just like the Boxers shouting ‘invulnerable to knives and bullets’ as they charge into enemy camps.
Once you embrace superstition, you’ll have the courage to invest in things you wouldn’t have dared before. And when your investments succeed, your superstition will grow stronger.
Now that you’ve explored the intriguing connection between wealth and superstition, we invite you to reflect: Are superstitions simply unfounded beliefs or powerful tools that shape our perception of success? How does this newfound understanding influence your own views on wealth, fortune, and the role of superstitions in achieving prosperity?
Do wealthy people really believe in superstitions?
Yes, many wealthy individuals embrace superstitions as a way to enhance their success and maintain a positive mindset. Superstitions can serve as symbolic reminders and rituals that help cultivate a mindset of abundance and good fortune.
What are some common superstitions associated with wealth and prosperity?
Common superstitions related to wealth include carrying lucky charms or talismans, practicing feng shui principles in home or office design, and following specific rituals or beliefs for financial success, such as not lending money on Tuesdays or avoiding the number 4.
Are there any famous examples of wealthy individuals who are superstitious?
Yes, many notable figures in business, sports, and entertainment embrace superstitions. For instance, billionaire investor Warren Buffett is known for wearing a specific tie during important business deals, while professional golfer Tiger Woods is believed to have specific routines and rituals on the golf course for luck.
Can superstitions really impact financial success?
Superstitions can have a psychological impact on individuals, influencing their mindset, confidence, and decision-making. While superstitions themselves may not directly cause financial success, they can contribute to a positive mindset and a sense of control, which can have indirect effects on one’s actions and opportunities.
How can I incorporate positive superstitions into my life to enhance wealth and success?
To incorporate positive superstitions, you can identify symbols or rituals that hold personal meaning and make them part of your daily routine. This could involve wearing a lucky item of clothing, visualizing your financial goals, or adopting practices like gratitude or affirmations to cultivate a positive mindset towards wealth and success.