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Wealth Is an Equal Opportunity Game

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Popular myth today asserts the belief that CEOs are earning outrageous amounts. But that’s a narrow view. Let’s look at the facts.

It’s true that the best CEOs among us are making far more money today than they did 50 years ago. It’s a global market now, and opportunities are much larger for everyone today. In 2020, a CEO at one of the top 350 firms in the U.S. was paid on average $24.2 million, including all options that were redeemed in that year.

However, the best actors, musicians, and athletes earned more — much more. In 2021 the average pay for a top 10 actor was $29 million, a 10 top musician $230 million, and a top 50 athlete $280 million! The career choice and sacrifice required to become a top actor, musician, athlete, or entrepreneur in society leads to very few making it all the way. Nobody gets to the top for free. However, the opportunity is there for everyone. 

It helps if your parents are already established. In sports, Brett Hull was Bobby Hull’s son, Stephen Curry is Dell Curry’s son, and Payton and Eli Manning were Archie Manning’s boys. It happens for actors, as well. Dakota Johnson’s parents were Don Johnson and Melanie Griffiths, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen’s father is Martin Sheen, Angelina Jolie’s father is Jon Voight are both are Oscar winners. Music can also be a family business. Jakob Dylan followed his father’s footsteps, as did Carnie and Wendy Wilson, and Julian and Sean Lennon.

“Riches are not an end of life but an instrument of life.” – Henry Ward Beecher

You can see a pattern here. What we’re exposed to growing up can influence possibilities and opportunities for us as adults. My uncle was a physician and so are two of his children, and so, too, are some of their children. Many children follow in their parents’ footsteps, but it’s the exception, not the rule.  

Most CEOs, entrepreneurs, actors, musicians and athletes who made it to the top didn’t come from a privileged family. In fact, coming from privilege can be a burden to the next generation. For a young adult aged 26 with upper-middle-class parents, the odds of being diagnosed with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are two-to-three times higher than national rates in the United States.   

The truth is, anyone can grow up to be a millionaire or even a billionaire. In my native Canada, two-thirds of our millionaires are self-made. In fact, nearly half were either immigrants or first-generation Canadians. According to Forbes, 70 percent of the 400 wealthiest people in America made their money from scratch in their lifetime. In doing so, they created a lot of prosperity for those around them.    

It’s also true for other people who have worked hard to parlay their talent to the top of their profession. Sean Combs is worth $885 million in 2021. Coming from Harlem, he first earned money to buy sneakers on a paper route. LeBron James lived with four generations of his family in a single home near downtown Akron. Now he’s worth $500 million. J.K. Rowling, now a billionaire, was raising a daughter on public assistance while writing the first Harry Potter book in 1994. 

Who is helping to increase the wealth of these CEOs, athletes, actors, musicians and celebrities? You are — and you’re getting value in return. Every time you make a call on your iPhone, search for a place to eat on Google, post a picture of your dog on Instagram, watch the Super Bowl, or listen to a hit song on Spotify you’re enjoying the work of talented and hardworking people. You even helped the top 10 YouTubers average more than $30 million each in 2021.   

It isn’t a crime to earn money in exchange for value. It’s everywhere in society, and what the wealthy earn helps the pie to grow, not shrink. On average, people were many times poorer in the past than we are today. If we compare the economic prosperity of every region today with any earlier times, we see that each is richer than ever before in its history.  

The opportunity to become better at what you do exists for everyone. For a few, they’ll go all the way to becoming the best among us. We should celebrate the work and effort they put into their success, and celebrate, as well, how far we’ve come across all classes. 

Derek Bullen is Founder and CEO of S.i. Systems, one of the largest professional services companies in Canada, with thousands of information technology consultants working on projects for blue-chip corporations and government agencies across Canada. His new book is In Defence of Wealth: A Modest Rebuttal to the Charge the Rich Are Bad for Society (Barlow Books, 2022), and previously published High Velocity, a book to help new IT professionals develop their soft business skills. Learn more at bullenbooks.com.

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Success Advice

4 Key Areas for a Successful Marketing Strategy in 2023

By creating a cohesive experience across all channels, businesses can build customer trust and loyalty

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As we head into 2023, the marketing landscape is constantly evolving. To stay ahead of the game, it’s essential to understand the key trends and strategies that will shape the industry in the coming year.  (more…)

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Success Advice

7 Tips to Becoming a Successful Networker

Making yourself more memorable means you’ll have a better chance of making connections

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Corporate events have long been regarded as an important tool for broadening professional networks and expanding business. Yet it’s tough to stand out from the crowd when it comes to networking at these events. You’re not the only one at the event, which means you’re competing for attention with other attendees who are also trying to make a splash. (more…)

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The 2-Minute Rule: The Secret to Habit Success

By starting with a small, manageable task, it becomes much easier to build consistency

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It’s a given fact that we all want to build habits, goals that we want to achieve, and things that we want to change in our lives. However, on the other side of the coin, it can be hard to sustain motivation and consistency.  (more…)

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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