Even if you set the financial bar lower, Shawn Achor’s research at Harvard reveals college grades are not at all predictive of later financial success. A study of millionaires revealed their average GPA was 2.9.
Yet, parents with financial resources are doubling down with pressure exerted on their kids to look good for college. One result is a stunning drop in the number of teens working dead-end summer jobs like their parents did. Those very discomforts - I call the 300-hour rule - play a large role in the desire to earn unusual success later. We may be cursing the next generation with the biggest obstacle for most great stories to ever begin: comfort.
In 1962, psychologist Victor Goertzel published a book called “Cradles of Eminence: A Provocative Study of the Childhoods of Over 400 Famous Twentieth-Century Men and Women.” They selected individuals who had had at least two biographies written about them and who had made a positive contribution to society. They found that less than 15% of their famous men and women had been raised in supportive, untroubled homes, with another 10% in a mixed setting. Of the 400, a full 75% grew up in a family burdened by a severe problem: poverty, abuse, absent parents, alcoholism, serious illness or some other misfortune.
I have zero interest in politics, but always wonder why this incomplete trigger for never ending debates -
“The disparity between rich and poor is huge, and the participants are…”
-leaves out the most important part. These three words should always complete that sentence as a powerful reminder, no matter which side you are on.
“…constantly changing places.”
Beware or be encouraged. Energy wasted debating what is fair could be re-directed to fuel the fire in bellies to move up, or mind-sharpening risk for not falling down.
If there is ever a contest to pick which word has done the most damage to people’s thinking, and actions to carry out that thinking, my nomination would be the word “fair.” - Thomas Sowell
How else could a homeless man own a business, but lose all its funding, then become homeless a second time living in a car, then become a multi-billionaire?
John Paul Dejoria is a first generation American, born to Greek and Italian immigrants. His dad left when he was 2. He grew up working early and often. “I loved the fact at the age of 7 that I could make a flower pot and sell it for fifty cents,” he said.
He began his career as a door to door salesman at age 9 with Christmas cards. At 11, he got a paper route but gave his mom all the money. “I was just happy to work and proud I had a job,” he explained. But his childhood was more than troubled, and he drifted in and out of biker gangs in east Los Angeles and was, for a time, homeless.
After high school, Dejoria joined the Navy at 17. When he got out, he sold encyclopedias and office equipment, repaired bikes, drove a tow truck, and worked as a janitor. He could not earn enough income to afford any kind of home. His wife left him and took what little money they had. He was homeless again, living out of his car this time. He collected soda pop bottles to return, so he and his infant son had any money at all.
One of the door to door products he peddled was shampoo. He learned that industry was particularly wide open to better products. But then he got fired from his first job in the hair care business.
This is one of my favorite parts to stop and think about. The most uncrowded path to profound wealth is often subtle improvements in an existing industry so beautifully boring as to not attract attention from those attempting to sharpen a unicorn horn instead.