I like it when the “experts” say something can’t be done.
And I really like it when the “experts” say something can’t be done and then they back it up with statistics, proving why it can’t be done.
And I really, really like it when the “experts” say something can’t be done, back it up with statistics, and what they claim can’t be done has to do with building wealth.
That’s what I really, really, like. And then there’s what I love…
You see, I love it when the “experts” say something can’t be done, back it up with statistics, relate it to building wealth and… that it just so happens to be something that I’ve done!
Ah, sweet irony.
I admit that I do take a little good-natured pride in proving the naysayers dead wrong. But aside from the ribbing, there’s something more serious at play here. Something more serious than dispelling urban myths and poking fun at the experts’ misplaced prognostications.
And that’s this…
There’s a war going on.
Not a traditional war of bombs and tanks, or even a future war with the machines like in the movie Terminator, but a different type of war…a war for your mind. A battle being waged to convince you of something. A battle to get you to mentally surrender. A battle for you to give up on the idea of achieving the American Dream.
You see, the American Dream is under attack, especially in academia where some say that not only does the American Dream no longer exist, they say it never did.
To them, the idea that you can pull yourself up by your boot laces, improve your position in life, and build wealth is nothing but a fantasy. A mirage. They believe that the American Dream is nothing more than a pipe dream.
You are not allowed to speak of the American Dream
Last month, the University of California issued a new faculty training guide in which professors were warned not to make the following statements to students:
• “America is the land of opportunity”
• “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”
• “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”
These phrases are now considered banned speech.
But that’s not the half of it. There’s this…
Professor Gregory Clark of UC Davis published an essay last year arguing that “the American Dream was always an illusion.” He claims that the United States “has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden” and this is “shattering people’s dreams.”
His assertion is staggering to say the least.
He contends that most people in this country are born into a specific socioeconomic status and that you will stay there your entire lives. So will your children. So will your grandchildren. And so will your great-grandchildren.
After studying figures from the past 100 years and applying a formula to them, Mr. Clark concluded that disadvantaged Americans will not be granted more opportunities if they are hard-working.
That’s right, where you end-up in life financially has nothing to do with hard work, dedication, ambition and persistence. No, your financial destiny, according to Mr. Clark, is solely determined on one thing – the social status that you were born into.
And that, my friend, is why I started this blog a year and a half ago. To dispute this type of nonsense. To counter the garbage that spews daily from those that don’t know better. You know the people, they are sitting in an ivory tower trying to convince you that you can’t do something…most notably because they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do it themselves.
Enter the black swan
But their little apple cart is always turned over when someone does exactly what they say couldn’t be done. Indeed, their world is rocked when not one, not five or ten or a hundred, but thousands of people do exactly what they say can’t be done. I think the ancient Chinese proverb of “Never interrupt the man who is doing what you said couldn’t be done”, was invented especially for them!
Nassim Taleb wrote an excellent book a few years ago titled, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.” The idea of the black swan refers to the fact that, prior to the discovery of Australia, it was assumed by the “experts” that all swans were white, because no one (well, no European at least) had ever seen a black swan. Armed with statistics showing no presence of black swans, the experts loudly proclaimed that “there is no such thing as a black swan!”
That is, until a black swan walked through town one day. So much for the “no black swans” proclamation.
And that’s what I am – the black swan walking right in front of Mr. Clark. I’m someone who raised himself out of a low-income family through hard work and persistence and counter to what Mr. Clark said could be done, I transcended classes of wealth. You see, I’m living proof that the American Dream is not dead, but that it is alive and well!
Now, usually when the experts are faced with proof that their beloved theory is completely false, they tend to react in a very predictable fashion. Normally their explanation for people doing exactly what they said couldn’t be done is that all too worn-out platitude – “Well, there’s an exception to every rule.”
I’ve always thought that explanation was hilarious. Well, good professors, if there’s at least one exception to the rule, might there be others? And if there are other exceptions to the rule, might it not be a rule after all? Might it just be something else? Is it any mistake that the word ‘exceptional’ comes from the word ‘exception’?
To be fair, your future social status is impacted by your environment. If you are born into wealth, you are more likely to stay in wealth, all things being equal. If you were born into the middle class, you will most likely end up in the middle class. And if you are born into poverty, you will most likely tend to stay in poverty.
That is, unless and until… you do something about it.
Note: This is the end of part one. This entire article is long, much longer than my typical essays. Therefore, I have decided to break it into two parts, rather than make my dear readers have to read a small novel. 🙂 Please come back to the blog next week for the second half, and telling conclusion, of this article. You won’t want to miss it. Thanks! -Monty
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
Want even more myth-busting information about achieving financial freedom? Check-out these other articles from the archives:
How To Build Good Money Habits That Stick
20 Habits You Can Copy To Accelerate Your Success