T Nation

My Problem With Billionaires

Before I post this, let me admit two things from the beginning:

  1. I have always had a dislike for motivational “it’s all within you/you have the power/rah-rah/do-the-wave” kind of stuff (and am glad that no Company I have worked for has required this stuff).

  2. My investment “luck” (yes, “luck”) has been bad, but I’m doing okay.

Now…on to my point.

I am getting pretty weary of some Billionaire writing a book; or doing a commercial; or giving a speech; or talking about “having vision” , “believing in what you are doing”, “working hard” and “reaching for the American Dream” without giving [u]any[/u] validity or recognition to:

  1. Luck.

  2. Being in the right place at the right time.

  3. Luck.

  4. Stepping on, over and through a few people along the way.

  5. Luck.

Look, guys…I do believe that from the “Robbber Barrons” of the Guilded Age to todays Billionaires…some have had those admirable characteristics ( I’m thinking of Wendy’s Dave Thomas, and despite the Goriilla his company has become, Sam Walton)…but many have reached those pinnacles by being damn lucky.

Just a rant, guys…

I’m done…

Mufasa

Sorry but hard work, persistence and goals are the keys to long term success. Luck has virtually no say in this.

“Luck” in reality is a by-product of the above mentioned keys to success.

Only losers believe that pure luck is the key to success - no offence meant to you.

Mufasa, get some stuff from these guys. It will cure all your Motivational Trauma, guaranteed.

WHOA!

Read my post, gonta:

I did NOT say that luck was the key to success…nor did I discount other more admirable qualities…

But to discount luck and “being in the right place at the right time” as factors is very disengenuous…

Mufasa

My dad says luck is “preparation met with opportunity.”

[quote]gonta wrote:
Sorry but hard work, persistence and goals are the keys to long term success. Luck has virtually no say in this.
[/quote]

That isn’t altogether true. If you don’t know what to do, then it doesn’t matter if you “work hard.” If you flip burgers 18 hours a day for 10 years, no matter how good an employee you are, you’re never going to get rich that way. You might be made manager, and perhaps even eventually making a pretty decent income… but if you never learn the next steps, you won’t get anywhere. If you don’t know to save money, and how to make your investments grow, you will never do better than middle class.

What’re you investing in that your luck can be bad?

Maybe try Hedge Funds… they usually give some baller returns if you stick with some tried and true jobbies, then again your NW might be a little low for that.

Investment property is alwasy a risky bet… I don’t know what to say. You could always throw your money in a bond fund if your “luck” is real bad.

I don’t think people are successful because they’re lucky or “step-on, thru” people along the way. I don’t think Sam Walton shit on his people. Bill Gates isn’t a computer whiz, he’s a great businessman. A surefire way to not be successful is to attribute it to luck and just wait for it to happen upon you. Send BostonBarrister a PM and ask him if his LSAT was luck, or his BigLaw job was luck. Hell no!

I wanna goto law school. If I study enough for my LSAT I will get a 170+. I will get into a good law school. If I study while I’m there I will be able to land whatever job I want coming out of there (Maybe law, maybe consulting, maybe I-banking). Luck plays no part in the equation. I don’t hope to get a job that pays 100k+ by happenstance.

Oh, boy…

Some of you guys have not read my post…

  1. You are using arguments that are against things I didn’t say

Example…I used Sam Walton and Dave Thomas as examples of people who possessed more of those admirable qualities…

Also…I clearly said that hard work…motivation…vision…those are ALL important components of success…but they are not the [u]ONLY[/u] components…

  1. It’s easy to see why a lot of these motivational people are rich…and why Billionaires get richer

There obviously are plenty of people who buy it all…without at least acknowledging how lucky many of these people have been…

(And folks…if you have not read the true history of the “Robber Barrons” and many Billionaries…and you do not think that they didn’t destroy a few people along the way…then you have been in too many Convention Centers doing the “wave”…)

Mufasa

Another question…

Why are people so afraid of “luck”?

Is it because it is one part of the equation that they have no control over…and people hate the idea of not having complete control over their destiny and/or wealth?

Or is it pride?

I’m curious…

Mufasa

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
4) Stepping on, over and through a few people along the way.
[/quote]
You are all forgetting number 4.

Stepping on, over and through a few - even ALL people that do not serve your purpose - ON your way.

and I would say number 5 is

TALENT

then I’d go a step furhter and add number 4+5=

A talent to crew everybody who get in between you and your ambition everyday all the way.

Amen, come Lord Dollar.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
Another question…

Why are people so afraid of “luck”?

Is it because it is one part of the equation that they have no control over…and people hate the idea of not having complete control over their destiny and/or wealth?

Or is it pride?

I’m curious…

It’s both. A+b= It’s pride in the illusion of being in complete control over their destiny = I am competent.

and maybe fear that if luck is acknowledged then I mustn’t be good enough because it hasn’t happened to me

Mufasa[/quote]

It’s both. A+b= It’s pride in the illusion of being in complete control over our destiny= I am competent.

And maybe fear that if luck is acknowledged then I mustn’t be good enough because it hasn’t happened to me.

Thanks, AlphaF!

Look guys…I am no Lard Ass who sits around whining about what I do and don’t have…

And I most definitely don’t sit around envying what others have…

I just want one…just [/u]one[/u] of these guys to start a speech…or preface a book…with “You know what? I have been one of the most lucky/blessed people in the World…”

(Note: Maybe some have…but not many…)

Mufasa

I think there is a tendency for those who have not been financially successful to look at some who are and claim that it’s luck, or a combination of luck and being ruthless. I don’t think anything could be further from the truth!

It was once said that “Chance favors the prepared mind.” If you save your money, get the proper education (which does not have to be formal) and actually seek an opportunity to invest in a business opportunity is that luck?

While I am far from a rich man, I have had some success in investing in realestate (apartment houses). It was quite a lot of work, I saved as much as I could and went into debt to borrow even more. I worked many, many 12 hour days actually fixing doing the repair work myself in order to save on construction costs. When I would invest more, instead of spending it foolishly.

Those who are seriously wealththy (who did not inherit it) did almost the same thing, but on a much larger scale. You mentioned two: Dave Thomas and Sam Walton. Their stories are in print and tape, and by now legendary. However, there are many more with the same sort of story. Every “chain” started with one link by someone who had a dream. Next time you drive down the street take a look around. Everything you see is related to business! Not just the obvious like the corner chain store, but even things like street lights. Someone designed that street light, it was marketed by a company and someone somewhere has reaped a reward.

Saving, taking a risk, working hard, working smart. The overwhelming majority did not “Step on anyone” and it’s darn near pure ignorance to think that is the case. Perhaps some of you have been watching to much TV, or listening to your Uncle Harry who is bitter because he never made it. I have no idea.

America is about opportunity. You can truly start out with nothing and become a Millionaire (or at least well off) if that’s your goal. Believing anything else will only serve to prevent that very thing from happening!

Don’t be like the guy in the Gym who says “Sure it’s easy for him to build muscle, he’s lucky. I have bad genetics I’ll never build any muscle.” Really? Well how much do you want it?

Luck? Yea, I’m lucky to have been born in America!

The Harder (and SMARTER) I work,

The Luckier I get

sigh!

(Obviously I need to either work on my communication skills…or attend a Motivational Retreat!)

Okay, Zeb:

What special “skill” did you have; what special “thing” did you do; or how hard did you work in order to assure that you were born in America…and not in the middle of a Refugee camp in the Congo?

Mufasa

First, most people are rich through inheritance.

Second, WalMart closes stores rather than let unions come in. They start employee training with anti-union propaganda. The keep a bunch of employees at 35 hours a week so they get no benefits. If you work at WalMart, you probably don’t have health insurance. Which means you’ve been stepped on bigtime. And of course if someone says, “Hey, don’t work there then.” Remember that all the other businesses were closed in (insert town) as a result of Walmart moving in.

WalMart is a good example of the greatest danger America faces today: Corporate Power. There are now over 50 million people without medical insurance in the US and the US life expectancy is now down to 24th best in the world. That means Americans are being killed. And Sam Walton was someone very responsible for that.

It’s all about taking calculated risks. Knowing that you might fall on your ass, but also knowing that hard work will make that fall a little less painful, but if the risk does pay off it outweighs the potential failure.

[quote]Jay Sherman wrote:
First, most people are rich through inheritance.

Second, WalMart closes stores rather than let unions come in. They start employee training with anti-union propaganda. The keep a bunch of employees at 35 hours a week so they get no benefits. If you work at WalMart, you probably don’t have health insurance. Which means you’ve been stepped on bigtime. And of course if someone says, “Hey, don’t work there then.” Remember that all the other businesses were closed in (insert town) as a result of Walmart moving in.

WalMart is a good example of the greatest danger America faces today: Corporate Power. There are now over 50 million people without medical insurance in the US and the US life expectancy is now down to 24th best in the world. That means Americans are being killed. And Sam Walton was someone very responsible for that.[/quote]

good post.

Many Americans do work hard. However they will never be rich. They have the will, but not the means. If you have to work 40 hours a week to SURVIVE, you will not have the ability to divulge into entrepeneurship, the stock-market or capitalism itself really. Many who work at Wal-Mart might as well be paid in gift cards to spend at the store.

[quote]Jay Sherman wrote:
That means Americans are being killed. And Sam Walton was someone very responsible for that.[/quote]

C’mon Jay Sherman.

"…The Harder (and SMARTER) I work,

The Luckier I get…"

I can agree with that, Zen!

Mufasa