America

America

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who Stole The American Dream, Part II?

Who Stole The American Dream, Part II?
Who Stole The American Dream, Part II.
by Bob Hubbard


In my previous article I touched on some points that have generated some thought on my part. I'd like to clarify and expand on my original article here. This is less organized than the previous article as I am quoting my replies and further thoughts with minimal editing.

I was asked about the political comment at the beginning. For the record, it's not about Barack Obama and his plan, though it did encourage my writing. Part of many platforms includes some idea of adding additional taxes on the so called "rich" and passing that on to the "poor". I have a problem with this as it punishes success and rewards failure. I really don't want to get into a political discussion here as that's not my goal. What is my goal?

I don't want to make $30k. I want to make $30M. I don't want to work hard, only so that ever increasing percentages of my labors go towards keeping 3rd generation food stampers in free eats. Sure company executives make huge paychecks nowadays. So do pro athletes. Why is the CEO worth so much more than that cashier?

Maybe because in alot of cases, the CEO worked his way up, put in time, got an MBA, etc. That same cashier goes home, parks their butt on the couch and watches "Friends" or is out having a good time on Friday night.

I want to make $1,000 an hour, every hour, every day, be it if I'm in front of this PC, or on a beach taking pictures of some hot model. Why should I subsidize some slacker who's biggest aspiration is to get laid by another slacker?

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement."

If my ability takes me to the stars, why should I be required to bring along those who aren't willing to put the time, effort and desire in like I did?

Gates got where he is by putting in 100 hour weeks. No, I don't care for the guy, sure he's loaded, but why should he subsidize those to whom a 20 hr work week is on par with Kryptonite to Superman?

I don't like Mr. Obama's plan, but this isn't about Obama nor is it about his tax plan (which I'll save $1,000 more under btw).

It's about generations of people being brainwashed into thinking that things like being one of those affluent people was beyond them, that they weren't "good enough", that working for 40 hrs a week and collecting a paycheck and retiring at 65 was "it".

I want to retire at 40, spend not the last few years of my life in a home peeing in a bag, but the last -half- of my life traveling, and enjoying myself and fulfilling my other dreams.

I put in 60+ hours a week right now. I'm running an easy dozen businesses. In a few years, I'll be able to drop my work week down to 10-15 hours, keep the same income levels, and start living that life. It's only taken me a decade of sacrifice and hard work to do it. Explain to me how it's a good thing to be punished for working hard and making it?

I'll redistribute my wealth by paying others to work for me, freeing me up to do other things. I'll pass on my knowledge to others to do what I did, hopefully faster and avoiding my mistakes. Then they can join me on that beach.

What do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc and that Trump guy have in common, other than huge bank accounts? They worked for themselves. Microsoft started as 8 or so guys crammed into a New Mexico apartment, Apple started in a garage, so did Hewlett Packard. Walmart was once just another little 5&10 store, McDonalds once a drive in diner, and Trump used to work for his dad. Some came from the affluent, some didn't. Jobs spent time wandering India in an LSD daze, Kroc sold milk shake machines. But all knew that punching a time clock wasn't a long term plan.

It just took a while, lots of hard work, a bunch of speedbumps, and a few knocks to the head to get there.

When I was working at Picture People, I had a discussion with one of the other photographers about working for me. He does good work, is great with kids (a weakness of mine that I'm working on), and is great with posing groups. We discussed things in depth and we're set to launch together until budgeting kept me from opening the studio as I'd planned.

Why do I mention this?

Because I'd had similar offers out to 4 others from the same store, however none of those 4 could find the time to meet with me. 3 couldn't even take the time to hand me a simple write up of their experience (a mini resume) to include in the loan request.

All of them lost their jobs when Picture People closed that studio, and currently none are working in the photography field. A shame because all had good eyes and were great at it.

Side Note: I was offering $12+/hr, PP, Sears and JC Penny all hire at min-wage.

Going back to the question about worth though, no. I don't think there should be such a large seperation between the ends. I think if people put the time in to become worth more, they would get more however. It might mean getting out of the comfort zones and looking for a better job. It might mean launching something part time on weekends and phasing out that job. It might just mean something as simple as asking for a real raise, not 5 cents an hour. I've talked to to many people who settle for what they got, shuffling through life eyes aimed at their feet, lamenting those "lucky" rich who have planes, boats and homes.

Some were given it sure. But the recently completed "World Wealth Report 2008" by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch puts the total GLOBAL number of millionaires at just 10 million, and the number of US millionaires at around 3 million--about one in 100 people.

The US is a wealthy nation, with opportunity everywhere. People need to step up and reach for it.

We need to stop rewarding failure. Stop making sure that everyone "feels good". Stop lowering acceptable education. F used to be 65, now it's 45, and some schools have even stopped failing kids so it doesn't hurt their feelings. That's BS. Raise the bar, set the standards high and push people to bust their asses to get there.

Black belt isn't 45 minutes a week, 5 years, and here ya go.
Why should the person who does the minimum be rewarded and the one who goes the extra mile punished?


Here's how to get ahead in a job.
-Show Up. On time, ready to work.
Don't come in 5 minutes late, take 10 minutes to get your coffee, stop n chat for 10 more, then take 10 more in the john taking a dump. Be at your desk/station/whatever on time, ready to go.

You've just beat half the people out there.

- Do your best. Don't short cut, don't streamline, don't do a half assed job.
You just beat another 25%

- Lead by example. Don't leave things be "someone else's problem". Take initiative. If extra training is offered, take it. If there is a college reimbursement program, use it. You might have to give up bowling or karate for a year or 2, but it'll help you move forward.
You just beat another 25%.

Wait. Isn't that the "Lie" I talked about earlier?
Not quite. It's the part that most people miss going in, the "secret to success" that they say the rich keep to themselves.

How do you get ahead on your own?
Do the same stuff above, but in your own dream, not someone elses.

"But Bob, I have a good job, I like what I do, and I like not having to worry about all that self-employement stuff."

That's fine too. Some people have good jobs, they meet their needs, and they are happy. What I'm suggesting should help you grow at them, earn more money, gain promotions and perks and help improve your own quality of life. The cashier rarely gets access to the company box at the stadium during the playoffs. The higher ups however, do.

Here's a few good books to check out.
  • How Come That Idiot's Rich and I'm Not? by Robert Shemin
  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
  • See You At The Top by Zig Ziglar
  • All You Can Do Is All You Can Do, but All You Can Do Is Enough! by A.L. Williams
  • Various Books by Dan S. Kennedy
  • Straight A's Never Made Anybody Rich. Lessons in Personal Achievement by Wess Roberts


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Bob Hubbard owns several businesses, including SilverStar WebDesigns Inc., MartialTalk.com and is an independent photographer. He can be reached at BobHubbard.net.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Who Stole The American Dream?

Who Stole The American Dream?
by Bob Hubbard

This year, we have a presidential candidate who seemingly wants to punish people for achieving the American Dream. But that's only the latest in a series of actions that have neutered us.

For over 200 years, Americans started, ran, and lived on the idea of small business. Main Street USA wasn't McDonalds and Burger King and Walmart. It was Ted's Hot Dogs, Talking Leaves Books, and the 5&10.

Today, traditional main street is pretty much gone, swallowed by cheep imports, mega-chains, and greed.

Also often missing is the entrepreneurial spirit that launched them however.

Walmart was once a small store, struggling to compete with the local Woolworths. McDonalds used to be just a pair of brothers selling burgers, fries and shakes.

Today, colleges turn out thousands of well educated employees. People trained to be workers, but workers for someone else. They are trained to believe in the myth of "get a good job, get a paycheck, live Monday through Friday working 9-5" and no longer believe in their own ability to chart their own path and earn a living income on their own merits. They are trained to believe that all they ear is what their employer puts in their paycheck each week. Author Burke Hedges in his book "Who Stole The American Dream?" details a great deal of the lies we are told that have locked so many people into the "JOB", living paycheck to paycheck working for someone else. While he advocates the network marketing system as the means to escape it, there are other options equally viable.

It is ironic to see immigrants come here, having no preconceived notions other than "America is the Land of Opportunity", start businesses, put in incredible effort and create successful businesses. Pay attention the next time you eat at that Chinese take out place or Irish coffee house. New arrivals, often poor and struggling, making both ends meet while native born Americans complain about their job and lament how life with only 200 cable channels is so unfair.

But times are changing. As we enter increasingly uncertain times, as major institutions collapse, and unease covers the land, more and more Americans are rediscovering their strengths and birthright, and launch new businesses. As the chains cut back and shutter their doors, old employees are using what they know and launching new and exciting ventures. An old McDonalds becomes a new gourmet burger place, serving higher priced but better quality burgers. Where a Picture People mall store once was, now sits many an independent photo studio, often staffed by many of the same people, but now owners not just workers.

When I started out on my own, I struggled. I still do from time to time. Each time I hear "Why don't you get a job?". People are well meaning, but unfortunately there is no security nor freedom in a job. The American Dream was never about "I want to work 50 years for someone else, spending most of my time on the job, only seeing my family on the weekend, so that I can retire when I'm old and try to live on 1/2 of what I barely made it by on before."

No, the American Dream is one of Freedom, Independence, and Prosperity.

Historian and writer James Truslow Adams first coined the phrase "American Dream" in his 1931 book Epic of America:
"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."
What is your Dream? What's stopping you, really stopping you from taking the steps towards reclaiming your birthright?


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Bob Hubbard owns several businesses, including SilverStar WebDesigns Inc., MartialTalk.com and is an independent photographer. He can be reached at BobHubbard.net.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Obameter Scorecard

Obama’s promises falling by the wayside
The Obameter Scorecard

Copyright © 2009 Bob Hubbard. All rights reserved.