According to economist Robert Frank of Cornell’s Graduate School of Management, luck plays a significant role in what our culture defines as “success.” (ie. Money) This flies in the face of what the super rich wish to brandwash us with: the “Mr. Wonderful” morality of cut throat “winner take all” business practices. O’Leary crows about his accomplishments, but how did he make his money? A horribly bad business deal which the toy company he sold to regrets ever making, described as “one of the worst business deals ever.” So bad that no one can expect anyone ever making such a bad decision again. He walked away with a fortune, and they were nearly bankrupted by it. Yet he is proud of it, just as 50 Cent is proud of having been involved with Vitamin Water, a product which even the company admitted was “not healthy, and no one should believe is healthy.” (Really? Even with the name “Vitamin Water???”) Lies. But then Coke has lied to consumers for decades, assisting in an epidemic of diabetes and pretending to be environmentally friendly for the publicity, denying HFCS is unhealthy, and linking themselves to love and happiness in one brazen, ballsy LIE FEST (ad campaign) after another, leaving the taxpayer to pick up their hidden costs. Buyer beware, you say? Only one problem with that: the buyer doesn’t read, anymore, and the media will never inform them because they too know where their bread is buttered. Frank’s new book SUCCESS AND LUCK spells all this out, in comprehensive, logical detail, including how we have fallen into this lemming-like trance of accepting that ever fewer superstars make an ever greater percentage of profits at the expense of all. And the inequality is increasing. The super rich actually believe they should pay no taxes, most of them. They hide their wealth overseas, and the dying middle class is asked to pick up the tab for failing infrastructure. Of course this greed will end, just as the bubble of 2008 ended. But people like “Mr. Wonderful” are protecting themselves now from it by foreign investments. Frank proposes a progressive consumption tax to solve this problem, but it is unlikely any President will be allowed to even approach Congress with it. It’s DOA among those who are just fine with things as they are. ($$$) The public, too, has been conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs, via soundbites and McNews. Not to mention worshipful, unthinking culture memes (which propagate like viruses.) But I digress. Frank shows that small advantages translate into huge benefits over time. Who your father was (Trump), what went viral (Kasdashians), etc. Everything has to go right. Working hard is not enough for “world domination.” You need to be lucky too. In a study of foot races, 97% of winners were shown to have a tailwind in their record breaking attempts. What if yours is a headwind? Too bad. You lose. Even if you’re better. Persistence? Does that pay off? Not always. Many are those whose talents exceed those “at the top” but who, even after many years of struggle, have failed to move up that very steep ladder where the lucky few stand and pretend they deserve to be there…and give you advice. Should we envy them? No. The Kanyes of this world live in an alternate universe where everything is unreal and twisted by the lens of celebrity. They can’t be happy. They are pretending for the cameras, and for the fans, who expect it. Demand it. Once you realize you are not in competition with anyone, that you are who you are, you are then free. Who do I admire? The non-Diva, the incredibly talented few who are humble because they have seen the reality, the wider view of things. Because they read, listen, and observe. They are open to life, to change. That is true wealth. The rest of it is as fake as a post-1964 “silver” coin.
Yuja’s advantage was starting at age 3. But she is real, not fake at all. This comes from music itself: the infinite vision that it empowers one with, and the total dedication to interpret a vision. This is the ending to one of the most difficult sonatas in all of piano literature, yet she tosses it off with no apparent difficulty, and no ego.
My brief interview with her here.