5 Lessons You Learn Growing Up Rich

#2. A Topographic Map Can Save Your Life


Without fail, at some point every child of a well-to-do family will end up in the middle of the woods at night after choking someone out in a cabin. Sub specie aeternitatis. Oh, incidentally, dead languages will never be of any use to you, so you can stop learning them now.

When you find yourself surrounded by wilderness and trying to get home, your best friend can be a topographic map. Your kidnappers will probably have one with them in the off chance that they have to move or bury you somewhere when their plan falls apart. A topo map will not only show the fastest way home but also give you a three-dimensional understanding of the terrain using contour lines. Like the ridges of a fingerprint, these lines will show you the steepest, most dangerous areas between you and civilization.

Pictured: Everything you want to avoid.

Your best bet is to follow streams and rivers, though that will also lead you to the steepest drops if you are in the mountains. You always want to pick a path that runs parallel to streams but where the contour lines have the greatest distance between one another. Just stay off the roads -- that's exactly where they'll be looking once they realize you're gone.

If you take it slow and easy, living off the land along the way and sleeping in snow caves, there's a very good chance you will make it home again. If this seems like a lot of work, just remember that the first time is always the hardest. It will all be much easier for you on the next adventure where you're forced to save your own life, maybe on the lip of a volcano next time. Which brings us to the most important lesson of all ...

#1. No One Will Like You Unless You Lie About Your Life


Look, people don't like rich kids. I'm sorry. When the world knows you are wealthy, everyone will be looking for reasons to hate you, because you are the antithesis to the effort/reward relationship on which society is based; you have everything and you deserve nothing. You will never have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps because you have no bootstraps and no boots, only house slippers for when the heating system in the granite floors stops working.

As a walking, breathing reminder to the world that life is inherently unfair, you are forced to make friends the only way you can: by lying. Wealthy children have no choice but to make up fantastic stories about their peril-filled lives so that no one can ever accuse them of squandering what they've been given, or of being ungrateful.

"And when the last person had a heart attack, I was the only one left who could land the plane."

Kids don't have the ability to develop a charming personality or winning confidence because they are just kids, so they have to do the next best thing and make it all up. So go ahead and lie. Live a life of fictional adventure while you're young, and if you're concerned that I've now ruined your secret, don't worry -- everyone else got angry and stopped reading at jet packs.

You can follow Soren's web of deceit on Twitter or his patient effort to seduce you on Tumblr.

For more from Soren, check out Kidnapped by Drug Lords: My 3rd Worst Vacation in Mexico and Infiltrating the Green Movement: Undercover on the Bandwagon.

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Soren Bowie

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