The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. (Proverbs 11:17)
When we read this proverb with the previous verse in mind, "Ruthless men retain riches," we may have a more clear understanding of its meaning. When we study the history of the world's barons and moguls we find that many, if not most, of them were ruthless men. And in their ruthlessness their souls and lives were troubled.
It does not have to be a matter of ruthlessness and riches or mercy and poverty. As it has been said, it need not be the tyranny of the "Or," but the genius of the "And." Why not simply replace ruthlessness with mercy?
Let us be diligent in our work and calling, but let us likewise be as diligent in showing mercy. This we do by bringing others along with us on our quests and journeys. Why have a measure of success with a bad heart and heartache, when we can have both success and peace?