Celebrating Random Luck Instead of the Success that Comes From Effort?


Apr 25 • Social Media • 5903 Views • No Comments

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After getting back to Indiana last night from a speech in San Antonio, I was getting a little work done around the house this morning and had on my favorite radio program, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio.

Colin started his program today with some ideas I thought were really compelling. Commenting that we would probably see the next few day’s news filled with stories about the winners of the biggest lottery in history, Colin asked something to the effect of:

“Why do we in America celebrate money won (like lottery winners), and not money earned (by those who achieve)?”

So, I Tweeted out that question — along with my one-word commentary, “BRILLIANT.”

I was unprepared for the firestorm that happened next. There were more replies than I ever could’ve imagined… over two-hundred, in fact. Here are a few, for example:

  • @rlolson223h “because billionaires are disgusting sociopaths who have crushed thousands of others to get theirs”
  • @ukbrian2704h “Congrats, you’re deep we get it. People had fun with it-shame on society.”
  • @DanJoffe173h “Easy. We can relate to someone winning a lottery but not to a bum making a $100m to play a game we pay for.”
  • @Pats12bill said, “Cuz I’ll never make that much.”
  • @happydavid813h “because most of us can relate to luck more so than designed achievement”
  • @craig_samuels3h “Because no real person wins the mega millions type lottery. Just hired actors playing winners.”
  • @rolliby2h “Poor people feel they don’t have a chance to work and succeed, but DO have a ‘chance’ to WIN”
  • @WillHarahan4h “bc anyone can buy a lottery ticket, most don’t have the work ethic to achieve great things.”
  • @T_RoyCarlson4h “because most of public is lazy, and lotto winning celebrates that.”
  • @Michelle_NFL4h “Because people like to think it could happen to them. Many people know they could never earn that much.”
  • @ChadSmith_nwa4h “and to make it worse Money Earners get demonized half the time.”

Things even got political in several of the posts:

  • @2013devils4h “liberals do not want people to be successful… except themselves”
  • @USCAlumnus14h “We do celebrate money earned – by taxing the hell out of it!”
  • @skliesen4h “because those on one side of aisle would have us believe both are lucky to be rich.”
  • @huskypals4h “because our president and media has vilified personal success for years now. Sad.”

Several — including my Social Media friend, @MikeCane — pointed out that networks like CNBC and publications like Forbes exist to report, in part, the stories of earned success and achievement in the business community.

(Although, I think that when you view some of the programs on CNBC and read some of the articles in the so-called “business press,” you discover they report — with extraordinary zeal and seeming glee — the failures, problems, and missteps of the very people they have played a significant role in building up.)

Others couldn’t resist the great line from “Fast Eddie” Felson in the movie, “The Color of Money” that, “Money won is sweeter than money earned.”

Here’s my take: In the same segment, Colin mentioned a guy he met at a conference several years ago in Vegas. The man — who evidently had just successfully sold several radio stations he owned and was worth a lot of money — told Colin something to the effect that, “Being jealous of someone else’s money will never put a dime in your pocket.”

Cowherd said from that moment forward, he started celebrating the success of others.

THAT is the most important message.

I’ve written before that I believe there is a major difference between “envy” and “jealousy.”

  • To me, “envy” is that I admire what you have accomplished and attained — and that I would like to experience that level of success, too.
  • “Jealousy” is that I want what you’ve accomplished and attained — and I want to have it instead of you. (Regardless of whether I deserve it or not.)

Unfortunately, perhaps we are moving from a society that is envious of success to one that is jealous of achievement.

We seem to be saying that those who have attained wealth or achievement were merely “lucky” in a game of chance known as the free market. And, if we as a society start to buy that onerous viewpoint…we are sowing the seeds of collapse.

What does this mean if you’re a financial advisor, seeking to enhance your individual success as you grow the wealth of those very people who have earned it — and working to create distinction for your practice? Many points… but, here are two in particular:

  1. Be ready for criticism. – If you reduce your efforts in order to avoid controversy, or you don’t want to “rock the boat,” how does that help anyone? As my buddy, Larry Winget, says, “You cannot create raving fans unless you’re willing to create raving enemies, as well.”
  2. Be on guard for team members who want to hold down others – colleagues and clients — in order to make themselves feel better. They are a cancer…and will drive away the very people you want dealing with your practice internally and externally. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to “convert” them. Cut them from your team and move on.

One outcome of this fascinating accident today on Social Media is that it has caused me to realize that my goal – and one that I hope you’ll share with me – to to double my efforts to create distinction, and help others do so, as well.

If we aren’t willing to stand up for success… who will? And, what happens when no one does?

Scott McKain

Scott McKain is an internationally recognized expert on distinction, bestselling author, & hall of fame speaker. His dynamic presentations inform and inspire. His insights have been quoted in USA Today, the Wall St. Journal, and the New York Times and he is one of the top 25 marketing experts to follow on Twitter according to Social Media Marketing Magazine.

He has presented his business strategies in all fifty states and seventeen countries including the White House with the President in attendance; he is a member of “Speakers Roundtable” – an elite,
invitation-only group of twenty business speakers considered by many to be among the best in the world.

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