If you are reading this it's very likely you own a business, have some reasonable amount of financial strength/earning ability, or you will at some point in the future. Is it possible there are people who hate you because of what you've achieved, or the ambition you have?
The answer, unfortunately, is yes! Unquestionably! Indubitably! And without a doubt!
There are scores of people, throngs of folks who hate you. They immediately say you must be a thief to have what you have or you're greedy to want what you want.
“No one gets rich without climbing on the backs of other people!”
“No one can make it in business without trying to screw the people they deal with!”
To listen to these people you'd think anyone who has anything of value is Snydley Whiplash from the old Dudley Do-Rite cartoons. You know the guy with the black suit and hat and the black handlebar mustache who was forever tying Dudley's sweetheart to the train tracks.
Don't believe me? Well let me tell you a true story that happened to me just today. I friend and colleague of mine is in Chicago. Chi-Town, The Windy City, Home of stuffed Pizza (My stomach hurts just thinking about it!).
It is a beautiful city, and a very liberal state. Just a few days ago the state legislator voted to increase the income tax by 66%!
Just to be clear, the income tax for individuals in IL went from 3% to 5%, which is a 2/3rd's (or 66%) increase. You might say, “well hell 5%'s not bad.” but that's on top of local taxes, federal taxes, gas taxes, registration fees, tolls, property taxes, sin taxes, etc. etc. The list is too long to name here, and besides it is a HUGE tax increase.
So anyway, my friend (By the way his name is Paul DaCosta -PaulDacosta.com- and if you want to invest in Real Estate I suggest you look at his program. It's more like a partnership so you don't take all the risks and have none of the work.) was taking a ride in a cab. He's big about making conversation with the cab drivers, and he's a really casual guy. You'd never guess he owns and manages Millions of dollars worth of real estate in several different states.
So Paul asks the guy, “What do you think about this tax hike? Do you think it'll hurt your business?”
The cabbie responded, and I quote, “Screw those rich bastards. It should've been 100%. They steal their money!”
That's right, this sour puss, angry, unintelligent guy thinks the State should steal more money from “the rich.”
Before you blow this off as the rantings of one short sighted cabbie, I'm here to tell you that sentiment is far greater than you might believe. A majority of the people you run into hold this idea to one degree or another. Heck, I bet you even have this kind of belief stuck deep down in your subconscious somewhere.
Like it or don't like it, believe it or not, the truth is, this kind of thinking is a common denominator in our culture. We all were taught, at some point in our life, the rich must be taking advantage of others.
You might have a higher threshold than the cabbie I mentioned, but the assumption that anyone over a certain level is a thief is likely there.
Of course, here are the problems with that belief. First and foremost, when it comes to entrepreneurs, it's simply not true.
You might be able to make the argument about people who use government force to seize millions and billions, or to lock out competition.
If you got rich that way, perhaps there's an argument that you're a thief. But those guys are massive corporate hacks who do billions and billions in business each year.
Think Wall Street. There's not a true entrepreneur/capitalist in the upper management in any bank on 'The Street.” They're all fascist, that is they believe and want private property with government control.
Why? Because government control ensures a lack of competition, and keeps them dominate without the need to compete. In short, it locks up their oligarchy on the US banking system.
So maybe you can make an argument for some folks, but for entrepreneurs who run entrepreneurial businesses, that's not the case.
For you, my friend, the idea that you must've lied cheated and stolen is false, false, false. For the self made millionaire, multimillionaire, billionaire who made his or her money in honest trade, the cabbies description is just not true.
And here's the truth, most of the rich in our country are self made, they are folk who made their money with honest, hard work, proper wealth attraction, and giving more value than they received in payment.
Some started a business and went public, some franchised and got rich, some just worked hard and invested their money wisely. No matter the path they took, a vast majority of the rich/wealthy in our country got rich by honest hard work that helped hundreds, maybe thousands of other people.
And there's the key, and why I say the cabbie is a bit dim-witted. When you build a business, you help employ people, you spend money with businesses and those businesses employ other people. When you engage in honest trade and gain a benefit from it, you also give benefit.
You can't make money without helping others around you. Local businesses, national businesses, employees, vendors, etc.
No matter if you're a sales person or a business owner, all entrepreneurial people create value, or they go away.
Our good cabbie has a job as a cab driver because someone started a cab service. They put up their money, looked for investors to invest worked late into the night, likely drove the cabs themselves for many years. They had competition and had to work hard to make sure they got the call and not another company.
It's very likely the person who started the company started with nothing, as many entrepreneurs do.
He/She likely became rich as a result of a good endeavor and hard work.
And our ungrateful cab driver would tax more money away from the owner of the company because he/she “stole his/her money.” Not only is that immoral, it's dumb. Higher taxes always lead to less economic activity, which means the our cabbie friend could easily be out on the street.
And it's very likely you have the same idea about someone who earns or has a net worth over some number.
Maybe 250K/Yr is OK with you but a million is just too much! I mean how much does someone need?
A million good, then maybe 50 Million or 100 Million. I mean really, they should just stop being so greedy.
100 Mil good? Then how 'bout a billion net worth? Surely at that point there has to be something dishonest going on! I mean really, a billion dollars!?
At some point in the argument you're gonna find an uncomfortable feeling about how much money someone is making.
I'm not saying you should go for the same goals as those other people. You should strive for what you want, but at some point, somewhere as we go up the money ladder, you start feeling woozy.
The source of that woozy feeling is the same as the source of our cabbie's vitriol about “the rich.”
That woozy feeling is what's holding you back.
Here's the truth, and you can listen to me now and believe me later, as long as you have that woozy feeling, as long as you feel like it's only OK to make a certain amount of money, and anyone earning more than that number must be a thief, you are seriously hampering your ability to succeed in business.
The truth of the matter is, that woozy feeling is just as misplaced, just as ungrateful to the blessings you have, just as misguided and just as stupid as our cabbie friend's statement.
I'm not one to talk of always being “of service,” but here's the truth. In order to get rich you have to pull others with you. No you don't have to make them rich too. But you have to help others.
At some point you need to hire people. Well, when you do you make a huge difference for that persons and their family.
You will need to buy something to resell, some buy materials to manufacture something or offer a service, you'll need printing, advertising, and accounting services. Very likely you'll need legal services at some point.
When you start a business you create value, create wealth, spread money around the local community and the nation. You help make employees, vendors, etc wealthy.
The truth is the rich entrepreneur doesn't steal his money, he/she helps others make more money.
As George S. Clason wrote in The Richest Man In Babylon, “Wealth is created where man puts his attention.'
So get your mental road blocks out of the way. When you see an ultra rich person, and you feel that woozy feeling, remind yourself of all the good he/she did. All the people he/she employed, all the vendors he/she made rich, all the children that were able to go to college, all the families that were able to buy a house, all the employees who were able to retire wealthy*, think of all the people who that man or woman helped achieve their goals, and then see if that woozy feeling is still there.
And we haven't even talked about charities and who really supports them. Here's a hint, it ain't the poor!
Blow out your own road blocks, and you will find it easier to hit your goals, and you might even find you want something better for yourself when you realize getting something better means making yourself a more honest, more ethical, better person.
*I happen to have known the founder of Outback Steakhouse. As it turns out many of his original servers, in the original restaurant, who stayed with the company, ended up being millionaires because of stock he and his partners made available to employees. Imagine that, waiting tables in a low to mid level restaurant and becoming a millionaire. Wonder what those servers thing about the guys who owned the business?
Everte Farnell is a business philosopher, radio host, speaker, writer, and business consultant.