Flipping the Unbalanced Coin of Success – Mindset re-Stacking
There is a coin of success. Flip it and you can tell anyone’s future.
The trick is that one side is 10 1/5 times larger than the other.
In our society, there are a few numbers that repeat. One of these is the tiny number of people who will make a success out of their lives and the huge number which simply goes along with everyone else.
Earl Nightingale said this in 1956:
“Let’s take 100 people who start even at the age of 25, do you have any idea what will happen to those men and women by the time they’re 65? These 100 people believe they’re going to be successful. If you would ask any of these if they wanted to be successful, you’d find out they did. They are eager toward life, there is a certain sparkle in their eye, an erectness to their carriage, and life seems like a pretty interesting adventure to them.
“But by the time they’re 65, only one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, and 54 will be broke.”
These numbers and percentages haven’t changed much since they started being tracked. You can look these up yourself. The Social Security Administration has these statistics for 2015 (see Appendix for link):
Nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
Social Security benefits represent about 39% of the income of the elderly.
That isn’t financial independence. That doesn’t cover people who are still working so they can maintain their quality of life.
You can find other numbers that say similar things. The widely touted “1% of the population control 95% of the wealth” is another. Like most widely repeated conventional wisdom statistics, this doesn’t add up.
The closest I was able to track this down was to a report that translated another report into “The top 1% now owns half the world’s wealth” (See Fortune.com link in Appendix.)
Read that more closely, and you’ll see it says (paragraph 2): “Worldwide, there are 34 million people who have a U.S. dollar net worth of at least $1 million, or 0.7% of the global adult population, and they account for 45% of global wealth.” (Their next sentence fudges it a bit more to arrive at their headline.)
The point is that just becoming a millionaire (which isn’t worth as much as it used to be) puts you into an elite class.
One funny observation Earl Nightingale once made was that if you took ten percent of your income every week from the day you started working until 40 years later and never spent it, but saved at a high interest (or reinvested into something with at least a 10% dividend every year) you’d wind up a millionaire by the time you retired.
And then you could live off the interest and arrange to give it all away when you died.
I call it funny only because no one mentions this tidbit in our schooling. If they did, they’d have a society full of millionaires. And if you had a million dollars sitting earning interest for you every month, do you think you’d have to activate your Social Security?
If you track down that actual Credit Suisse report (link in Appendix) you’d find a very interesting fact. The United States still enjoys a very unique role in the world. It is far, far richer than the other countries. Something the media refuses to acknowledge, but Earl Nightingale referred to over and over.
The reason the U.S. is rich is because it’s a nation devoted to choice. We have those unique guarantees in our laws, and are the only nation on earth that claims the “pursuit of happiness” in its founding documents.
We are the most prosperous country on Earth mostly because of what we believe. All these Freedoms guaranteed in writing and so on. Ever thought it strange that the countries which incorporate those types of freedom into their governing bodies seem to be more resilient than the rest?
Would you like to look at the difference between North and South Korea again?
Look, I haven’t found a bunch of studies that shows where that exact 95%/5% split actually happens.
But dredging up a bunch of studies wouldn’t prove much to you at this point. It would actually be a bit contrary to what we’ve already gone over.
The 95/5 split tends to give you a model that might work to explain a lot of things in this world. It might give you an idea of how valuable a lot of that data you’ve been carrying around actually is. And how much testing you need to do in order to sort out your life.
Here’s the bottom line:
Did that idea make you feel better?
Try that as a test for now, for all you know and understand to be “true.”
The other ways to look at this are:
1) Does it make your life simpler? Or
2) Does it bring you more peace?
All those questions say the same thing.