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From prehistory to today, some humans seem to “have it all.” Maybe we should a take a second look at our obsession with equality, the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding.
Separating the Wimps from the Hunters
Even in our times we show a great deal of respect and admiration for those who are good hunters: head hunters, job hunters, partner hunters, and other type of hunters. While we are in awe of aggressive behavior, we denigrate the wimps. President Bush (41—not 43) was a war hero, yet he was a one-term president simply because he was painted (by the democrats) as a wimp. Likewise, David Letterman —a comic turned sex predator— not only survives a sex scandal, but his ratings go up! And women account for more than half of his viewership.
The patriarch Abraham (in Genesis) was a wealthy old man who owned more goats and camels than he or his sons could handle. And woe be to the son who didn’t pull his weight! Then we have Midas, Croesus, and Seneca—the first two were kings and the latter a wealthy politician. Midas had the magic touch to turn everything he touched into gold; inevitably he starved himself to death. Croesus —if we are to believe Herodotus— cast himself on a funeral pyre, having lost his empire to Cyrus. Seneca lent all his wealth to Caligula, but in the end Caligula forced him to commit suicide.
What do hunters have in common?
In the first place, what unifies these characters is the aura of aggression that envelopes them in their path to accumulating wealth.
Some might say, tongue in cheek, that happened long ago. True. But, even today in our age of communication and the Internet, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Dell, Michael Dell, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are no wimps by any stretch—geeks maybe, but not wimps.
Secondly, these fellows command respect not because they have a great family name, but because they are assertive and look so. And while we tolerate those who inherit wealth (David Rockefeller, Donald Trump, Steve Forbes, etc), we worship the self-made hunters and gatherers.
Before Bernard Madoff —the Ponzi bandit— fell from grace, he was courted by the rich who begged him to accept their savings. Bernie exuded confidence, poise, and lived a life of splendor that made Jay Gatsby look like a small-time crook.
Thirdly, the top of the rich become philanthropists. Midas, Croesus, and Seneca died poor, having given away all their property. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have given away their riches to a foundation. Do they know something we don’t? Or is it because they fear the injunction: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
The point is that wealth comes to those who lust for it. From assertiveness comes confidence, from confidence we develop poise, from poise we move to aggressiveness, and with aggressiveness we are one step close to lust for riches—to having it all.
In the olden times, to achieve moderate success all that was needed was a pinch of gumption, thick skin, and the gift of bag. Today one needs more than that if we want it all. We need to realize that we aren’t equal, that some possess qualities that makes them stand out above the rest—assertiveness, aggressiveness, and lust for wanting it all.
Success is for All of Us!
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The Best Leader?
How I Manage my Time
Adam Smith and Wealth
Boethius and Fortune
Employee of the Moth Everyday
If you are interested in seeing how I achieved personal success in the United States, you may find my book of short stories East of Tiffany's interesting. Some of the stories are based on my life as an executive, investment banker, and financial adviser to wealthy investors in the East Side of Manhattan.
Close to half-million people have read East of Tiffany's so far. Order your copy from either Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. See the link on the right sidebar.
Since English is my second language, Mary Duffy --a master of the English language-- aided me not only with the editing, but she also contributed her own stories. I love her writing in "When You Wish Upon a Star." This is a story based on a personal friend's life.
Senada Selmani, model Sentence Openers
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