How many of you can remember the old movie called Network, where the raving lunatic TV Broadcaster in an impassioned plea on the air urged people to go to the window and yell out into the streets of America: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!?”
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m perhaps a lunatic radio broadcaster, but I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!
What has me in such a tizzy? In two words: Wealth Shaming! That’s right, I’m taking the issue out of the closet and I’m putting it in front of America for all to see. Particularly in this election year, America appears to be sickened and repulsed by the wealthy! In politics, we have a multi-millionaire, who made all of her money in public life, running against a billionaire, who made all of his money in private enterprise. Who gets castigated for being wealthy? Of course, the billionaire! Notice, not both candidates, because they are both wealthy, but the one who has the most money is perceived as being a bigger scoundrel, notwithstanding all other issues of character or behavior between the two. The top 1% of earners in America are seldom celebrated for their achievements, but often blamed for the woes of the entire culture in spite of what they may contribute in taxes, jobs, philanthropy and economic prosperity.
- Ask the Average, the Mediocre, the Lazy, the Poor, the Unmotivated Guy on the Street who is responsible for their life’s condition, they’ll tell you straight out: The 1%, the Man, that S.O.B. who has all the dough!
- Who should put food on their table when they can’t or won’t? Of course, the 1%!
- Who should pay for their kids to go to college? Of course, the 1%!
- Who should pay a disproportionate percentage of their earnings to the government? Of course, the 1%!
- Who should pay higher health insurance premiums so the lower wage earners or unemployed can pay nothing for health insurance? Of course, the 1%.
- Who should pay for public schools so even the poorest in our society can get a good education and find opportunity? Of course, the 1% who own most of the real estate, which is taxed to the hilt for the benefit of public education.
- Last, but not least, who should pay down the $20 trillion national debt? Of course, the 1%!
On my syndicated weekly radio show, Makin-It (www.makinitnow.com), I recently talked about a lecture that a college professor had given to his captive-audience students about American Exceptionalism. The whole premise of the lecture was that there is and never was such a thing as American Exceptionalism, that the American Dream is a myth, and more or less that getting rich and being rich is not only a misguided goal but also evil. No doubt the professor is not, never has been, and never will be rich! Nonetheless, he feels compelled to poison the minds of young people under his tutelage and short-circuit their dreams. In all fairness to the professor, I have heard the same garbage come from pulpits, from parents at the dinner table, and from the proverbial Guy on the Street.
What makes intelligent men and women, whether in academia, the ministry, or in the mainstream “middle class” hate the wealthy? Is it merely jealousy and envy, or does it go deeper?
First, let’s examine just who are the wealthy, this 1% of privileged individuals, and how did they get their out-of-proportion wealth? Furthermore, let’s look at why they are given such deference in our culture when in reality everybody hates them? Why do they travel in private jets while the rest of us line up like cattle at the airport for a discount ticket? Why are they in box seats while the rest of us are in the bleachers? Why do they have buildings and streets named after them? Why do they get a seat at the Board Table of Life while the rest of us feel like we are consigned to permanent latrine duty? It just isn’t fair, or is it?
The truth is life is extremely fair! Life gives you back exactly what you give it. Precisely what you strive for is precisely what you get. If you strive for wealth, you will get wealth. If you give love to the world, you will receive love from the world. If you give nothing, you receive nothing in return.
In my book, the Way of the Rich, I studied the wealthy over many years, and my empirical research led me to some inescapable conclusions about the rich: They are the hardest workers, the smartest, most talented people who got exactly what they earned in life. They are strivers and givers. They pay back and they pay forward. They teach their children the value of hard work and earning your own way. They often give anonymously, and they always give generously. In everything they do, they come early and they stay late. By and large, nothing is beneath them and not only does hard work and a challenge not scare them, but they thrive on it. In most cases they have it because they earned it and they deserve it! Sure, there are some who are wealthy only because of their birthright, but in America the majority of the wealthy today are those who did it on their own, who built great companies from scratch, and those who invented and reinvented themselves and became entrepreneurs and business owners. They went beyond working for wealth to creating wealth.
The truth is everybody wants to be rich! And the dirty little secret of life is that few are willing to put in the hours, take the risk, or work as hard as necessary to overcome the obstacles thrust in their path to excel above the rest in life. There is the parable that tells us that, “many are called but few are chosen.” We live in the greatest, the freest, the most opportunity filled nation that the world has ever known. We are the Chosen Ones! Those who are rich merely seized the opportunity put before them and pursued it with reckless abandon.
If you want to be wealthy, particularly if you are young, tune out all of the negative voices screaming at you that you can never make it, that you are not worthy, that you came from the wrong side of the tracks, that there just isn’t any opportunity left, that your station in life is to be consigned to the bottom rung of the ladder because some rich guy with a nefarious agenda has stepped on your head merely to advance his own wealth and prosperity, and most certainly never buy into the foolishness that wealth is evil. The next time someone advances that idea before you, look at them closely, examine their eyes, and realize that you are looking straight in the face of a loser. Losers are good for one thing in life, and that is losing! Take their advice, even when it is well-intended, and you are cosigning yourself to a life of losing.
So be a winner, go for it, give it everything you’ve got, get above the noise, and life will welcome you with open arms to that elite 1% Club!
Hear these and more ideas for successful living every week on my weekly radio show: Makin It! (www.makinitnow.com)