The Real Price of Vilifying the 1%
Upfront, I support raising taxes as someone becomes more wealthy.
Anything to the contrary suggests there isn’t enough for all of us. That said, demonizing wealth is one of the most reliable ways to remain poor. We learn nothing of value by focusing on dysfunction. For example, I wanted to have a loving and committed relationship. I didn’t go to single friends for advice. I have a life mentor in a successful 28-year marriage. I follow his advice and listen to his every word. As a result, for the last 7 years, I have been in a deeply loving and rewarding relationship.
The notion of studying and following the guidance of success people has turned out to be far more valuable than listening to the mindset of people who are failing.
Then, we have the 1%.
Over time, I have discovered they are just as human as any of us. In fact, most of them have encountered more failures than the rest of us. They might be succeeding financially but they have romantic problems and health troubles. But, why on earth do so many of us demonize them?
I have observed that when we demonize anyone, we absolve ourselves of personal change.
I’m fortunate to have two mentors who are billionaires. In ten minutes with either of them, I have learned more about success than from dilligently spending a year in school. From my limited time with billionaires, I find they are far too busy to think about exploiting the rest of us. In fact, it has become clear blaming others consumes the very energy that it takes to become successful.
My mindset on the topic of wealth has shifted dramatically throughout the years. In our programs, I’ve observed thousands of people connecting with their purpose and the work that brings deeply personal meaning into their careers. I’ve learned that far too many of us don’t pursue what we love because of deeply embedded fears we will not make a living while also loving our work. Actually, a very different phenomenon occurs. Personalized vision compels us to learn and embrace changing ourselves. Today, our ability for nimble self-change is key to any form of sustainable change. But, changing ourselves also requires courage.
Is there discomfort? Of course, there is. Changing ourselves requires courage.
Blaming others for mediocrity justifies sitting on the sidelines. No courage is required to blame the wealthy for our problems. In fact, participating in this kind of black magic tends to poison our own probability of success. Why? Because blaming them shields us from looking at the hard work and courage required to become successful financially, romantically, and physically.
Many of the successful are asking far more rigorous questions such as, “How can I make my value indispensable to others?”
We are in the midst of the biggest retooling of work in world history! A lot of people are portraying this as bad news. Getting unchained from rote and monotonous work?
My role requires that I stay in a vortex of information on behalf of our individual and organizational clients. Today, we find that about half of our country’s workers characterize themselves as “underemployed.” That means about half our of the country is getting kicked by change and the others are trying to keep up.
What comes next is the entire call to action. The greatest indicator of whether or not someone will change in time and make it into an abundant future is hinged on one behavioral reaction:
Do we respond to fear by first seeking comfort or taking action?
Do we respond to taking risks with hope or taking action?
If the answer is comfort then the probability of success plummets. You see, the biological purpose of fear is to take action. When successful people take action, they usually get comfort afterward. The only forms of healthy comfort are support from someone else and/or education. But, if we seek comfort before taking action, nothing happens.
The biggest dysfunction taking place in modern politics comes from the fact that we have a whole new category of “leader.” They don’t tell us what we need to hear. They tell us what we want to hear with a promise to fix our problems for us and on our behalf. They are not telling us to change, to reeducate, to find new work, to stand up and walk away from shrinking industries.
My God, that would require courage! Because change, at least for everyone I know, produces all sorts of discomfort. This aversion to action by choosing the solace of comfort is squandering big portions of the world’s greatest talent pool by selling comfort at every turn.
Only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged. Most polls indicate that 60-80% of our citizens don’t like what they do for a living.
How do Americans cope with these terrible numbers?
We consume over 80% of the world’s legal and illegal drugs, an average of 87 pounds of added sugar per year, 13 and a half hours of “screen time” per day, and over 5 hours of Television, also per day.
America! These are the averages!
Based on numbers like this, huge portions of our citizens never get near valuable personal change because they get frightened, eat a layer cake, become mean-spirited, watch too much Television, spend hours on Candy Crush, drink, smoke, guzzle corn syrup, get high, move to another town while texting, sexually harass a subordinate, lie, workout for hours, run, and hide.
My readers know that I have been making posts about the legacy, quotes, speeches of John F Kennedy. He didn’t promise to fix us. He told us to do something, to get off of our butts and change the world. He didn’t go to focus groups to learn what we wanted to hear. He told us to take responsibility for our lives and for the world around us.
The hope that someone will come along and rescue us from mediocrity only breeds lower and lower expectations of our lives, behavior and the society around us.
Don’t demonize the rich! Generalizations like this imply there is something wrong about money.
Wealth is beautiful. Abundance is wonderful.
Boating is my thing. Years ago, we landed in the port of Horta in the Azores. The island is magnificent and everyone wanted to get ashore and see the sights. But the Perini Navi superyacht docked next to us inspired such awe that I sat down resting my lower jaw on my collarbone. Taking in the sheer magnificence of the moment, I didn’t think, “How many people did they have to screw in order to get that boat?” I thought, “How can I contribute so much that I buy that boat with cash?” Another was, “How can I generate enough money to charter it for a month?”
That will not happen based on who is in the White House or blaming my mediocrity on a rigged system. We ought to be reminding each other that the United States is still the country that offers the greatest opportunity for abundance. One of the reasons that so many people want to live here is that we have produced more billionaires than any other country on earth. We are still that part of the world where someone can arrive with absolutely nothing and win a Grammy award or launch a global brand. And yet, how many people are angry they bought into a promise only to open their tax return and find less money? When that average loss is around $200, perhaps it is time to wake up.
The cost of buying into a promise of fixing everything for us is far greater than $200 bucks.
Because we are waiting far too long to take action, to set aside hope in exchange progress, to check-out because the reality is so very dull, or to realize we have to change and don’t know how. Have we allowed change to become such a dark unknown that we run into our Television sets and settle for the frenzy of yet another day?
The price of demonizing any category of humanity is to also give up. When we want to make our lives better and go to the people who are succeeding in climbing similar mountains. Most will show us the way because someone somewhere did that for them as well.
We can change our world whenever we want.
Responding to that truth with cynicism and contempt won’t solve a thing. In fact, it will cast a shadow that makes it difficult if not hopeless that all of us have that power.
Don’t ever give that power to someone else.
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