“I believe the ability to think is blessed. If you can think about a situation, you can deal with it. The big struggle is to keep your head clear enough to think.”

– Richard Pryor

Model, Faerie… from a recent family session
Faerie, from our original shoot in ’08

Can you think of any time in human history where social classes did not exist? How about in any culture? I haven’t done my research on this, so know that I am purely speculating here, but I believe that since the dawn of time, man has been at a minimum, classified as either rich, poor, or somewhere along that spectrum. I did fairly well in Economics, with the exception of Managerial Econ in grad school, where I got the only C of my MBA. In my defense, that class …sorry, I digress. I learned enough in the several Economics classes I took to know that in America, the majority of us fall into the mid-range area, or middle class. It’s probably like that in most of the developed democratic countries. On a global scale however, the majority of humans fall to the left of the spectrum on the poor side. These folk look at our poor in the U.S. like we look at Warren Buffett. To them WE are plenty rich! If for no other reason than the fact that we have clean water available to us on demand. Few and I mean VERY few are in the rich category. However, if you concentrate for a second on the rich end, you’ll find some interesting facts.

1. Of all the billionaires in the world, 41% are from the U.S. or Western Europe.
2. 1% of the wealthy control HOLD ON A SECOND…

I’m getting off my point, I think. I was about to list all these sources of income distribution and inequality, but all that does is spur debate over socialism and a distaste for the wealthy and that’s not where I want to go. So let me keep this simple by getting directly to my point. My point is that when you really think about it, if you live in a free society, you have reason and just cause to be happy about your opportunities to aspire to BE more and DO more, by KNOWING more. Yes…there will always be rich and poor. HOWEVER, there is no better time in the history of mankind for you to decide which end of that spectrum you want to be on! You’re not following…?

Okay, look at it this way. Yes…about 1% of the rich control more than 40% of the world’s wealth. But tell me where else in man’s history has he (or she) been able to affect his status in society than right now in this country or anywhere in the free world for that matter? If you lived in the 13th century and you were an average citizen, not of royal blood, how many opportunities did you have to affect your status in life? About 2 and that required you to advance in the service of the military or become the world’s greatest salesman. All the way up until the 20th Century, most everyone lived the life of the worker ant or bee. You were born to labor until you died for the service of the queen bee.

But look at today. Yes, the economic conditions of life are deplorable right now. But when you look at the bridge between the rich and poor, there are two things you notice about it. ONE, its wider than ever before. Check your Census data on that. But more importantly, TWO, it’s a two-way street now! More than ever, more poor people are becoming wealthy by their own accord. Visa versa, the rich do not have a life-time membership into Club Exclusivity. How many have you heard about that have lost their wealth via Wall Street, banking, or mortgage failures. Or worse, Bernie Madoff victims?

Google and Facebook are less than a decade old and stemmed from an original idea, yet they are two powerhouses in business today. Microsoft is not the forerunner they used to be. I often send my kids news reports of mere children who create an idea and net millions in revenue in just a few years. When have you ever heard of such a thing for a child who wasn’t in the entertainment business? Technology has leveled out the board a little in this game of life. It takes an idea and the wisdom to cultivate that idea. Both of which require a brain. And you know what…everybody reading this blog right now has a brain and chances are you live in a free democratic society. If you reside in America or Western Europe especially, then why can we not have a change in attitude and perspective on life? We get people that immigrate here from other countries who are willing to sell all, risk all, and do all that it takes to get within our shores for a chance at a better life. The value a U.S. citizenship more than anything but family. I wonder what it is that they see in the opportunities in our country that we do not. Change your mind and way of thinking, people. Let’s move beyond this monetary conundrum that we find ourselves in. If you want the economy to change, start with yourself. Whether good times or bad, you should still prosper. Make it happen. Do it with me.

“You see?…See? See what a man can do? Never mind you can’t tell one letter from another, never mind you born a slave, never mind you lose your name, never mind your daddy dead, never mind nothing. Here… this here is what a man can do if he puts his mind to it and his back in it. Stop sniveling. Stop picking around the edges of this world. Take advantage, and if you can’t take advantage, take disadvantage. We live here. On this planet, this nation, in this country right here. Nobody starving in my home; nobody crying crying in my home, and if I got a home, you got one too! Grab it! Grab this land! Take it, hold it, my brothers, make it, my brothers, shake it, squeeze it, turn it, twist it, beat it, kick it, kiss it, whip it, stomp it, dig it, plow it, seed it, reap it, rent it, buy it, sell it, own it, build it, multiply it, and pass it on — can you hear me? Pass it on!” 

—Reverend Cooper talking to Milkman and some friends in Toni Morrison’s book,”Song of Solomon”

I love this first video by Rob Dyrdek “You’ve Got to Make Your Own Luck”. (Even though I don’t believe in luck, the concept is sound.)