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Just when you find someone really good word gets out and they get busy/popular/semi-famous or some other bullshit. A great tax guy stops taking new clients and is slow as hell because he has too much work to do. An awesome blogger is discovered by the world at large and is inundated with requests until she burns out. The story is repeated again and again. They get good, then discovered and then wore out.
The worst part is what fame and fortune does to these people. They lose touch with reality as the world builds a wall around them, built with bricks made from the flesh of living and breathing human beings. They get callous because it becomes impossible to respond to every request, none the less, honor the request.
Or maybe it isn’t them. It could be you! Maybe these people are seeing the world for what it really is for the first time. Maybe they have always had a firm grasp of reality. It might explain why they are where they are and why you are where you are. Think about it.
Everybody Wants Some
Ah, fame! The stuff we dreamed of as a child. If people would only know my name. Only the unlucky few who realize (notice the choice of word) this dream understand how fucked up it is. Fame and fortune are not fun. That is the reality of it! Of course, fame is sometimes required to reach fortune.
If you are good enough you soon accumulate a fortune. It doesn’t take folks long to know what you have. True story. Reality, writ large!
Then the gold-diggers show up. They want what you have without the work or the headaches. You do the bull work; they hitch a ride.
Nice people turn into asses once they get popular. A sociable blogger once had time for all her followers now says “No” more than “Yes”. How dare they? They owe society (read: you). It’s people like you who made them what they are!
You promise to turn away, but you keep looking back. They are famous, successful, for a reason and you can’t figure out why. You can’t look away for long. What do they have that you don’t?
I Can See Clearly Now
The clarity of thinking, the clear view of reality, starts before you achieve important things. The important local business person had a vision when no one was watching. Only after she has reached the top do people finally notice. And they can’t figure out how she did it. Luck? A massive inheritance? What! What does she have that I don’t?
A clear view of reality, perhaps.
Steve Jobs was famous for his reality distortion field. Jobs had a clear view of the real world other people could not see. He forced these seemingly normal people to do things science fiction writers couldn’t dream up. A thousand songs on a device smaller than a credit card? Get the fuck outta here! A phone where you could touch a screen to do things Mr. Spock would have had wet dreams over? Get outta here again.
Now we have Elon Musk telling us cars will drive themselves. What is the matter with these morons? Do they have a name for what afflicts them? Yeah, they do. It’s called: Reality. Only lesser folks call it a reality distortion field. There is no distortion if it really can be done. Somebody could see reality better than you or me.
The list is endless. Seemingly normal people are doing extraordinary things. Geeks like Bill Gates create the products that now run our lives; geeks like Warren Buffett make normal people salivate over his investing prowess; ordinary Pete’s (Joe didn’t do it) write blogs that change an entire demographic in our society.
They seem so normal (except for that crazy accountant guy from Wisconsin pretending he knows what he is doing). Actually, they don’t seem normal. They all tend to be a bit geeky. They are unassuming. The well dressed man with a fancy car earning a boatload of money is broke because he spent it on the frigging boat! Idiot!
There is no way to tell these people apart from normal folks, unless you consider they are generally weird and tend to keep to themselves. Like the serial killers before they snap. (You have to watch out for the quiet ones.)
The quiet ones. Hmmm. There might be a reason why they are quiet. (Except for that accountant guy, once again.) They might know something you don’t.
Enter the Accountant
Success does not cloud reality; poverty does.
Periodically I am accused of writing a business-centric blog. Guilty as charged. The reason is simple. This blog is about You, Inc. You have income and expenses like any business. Good investments help the company grow and to realize certain goals. Without a business mindset you will spin your wheels.
But personal life is not a business, you demand! It isn’t? Really? What have you been smokin’?
Working a job is a business, just not yours. You invest excess capital (savings) into either bank deposits (stupid) or investments like index funds (smart). Just like a business invests in its future!
When you retire, whether early or late, you find you need to do something with your time. Enter the side gig. Looks an awful lot like a business.
The truth is I have to find a way to get you to think like an accountant. All your decisions count on it. If your accountant skills are weak, so will your decisions be. Buying a car? Think like an accountant to get a quality deal on a terrible expenditure. Looking into a home? Might I suggest accounting skills would do you some good? Kids going to college. Marriage. Divorce! Death of a parent, spouse, child. Estate planning. Legacy planning! Very few things in life are better without “accountant” thinking. And don’t get me started on taxes. That is what accountants do; reduce tax burdens legally.
Or you can throw “accountant” thinking out the window and see what happens. (I bet you already know what happens from personal experience.)
Look Into My Eyes
I always thought I saw reality clearly. I achieved financial (seven-figure net worth at age 32), business (very profitable accounting firm with several employees) and family (married 29 years and going strong) success at an early age. Then I discovered there are various levels to reality. Mine was the lowest level.
I was lucky. I was born lucky. My parents loved me and cared for me. I was born in an age and time where people live with tremendous opportunity. The heart defect I was born with was an easy fix for modern medicine. If I were born twenty years sooner I would be dead before the age I have reached. And I was born in a nation leading economically. Success was easy. I was lucky. How can anyone fail in such a land and time of opportunity? But many do.
People fail because they either can’t or refuse to see reality. Steve Jobs says, “Yes, it can be done and in short order.” Everyone moans. Then Jobs extends his vision, the bubble of reality, to encompass those around him. Then, and only then, can they climb to the top of the mountain for a clear view of reality, a reality Jobs introduced them to.
I was not voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school. If you asked my teachers or parents what they expected me to accomplish back then I doubt they would have expected much of anything out of me. What can you say about a lazy farm boy who wants to sit around all day reading? To top it off the schnook wants to be a tax preparer. Not an accountant (CPA). No! He wants a seasonal part-time job before he ever works a real, full-time, year round job. Not much was expected at all, kind readers. Not much at all.
So who saw reality clearer? The blogger accused of focusing too much on business issues or the normal people? Do celebrities see the world as it is? Sports stars? Uber successful business people?
What about the guy writing this blog? As my traffic grows, so does my reach. The aura begins to shine around me like it does for those who went before. Each step of the way I see reality as it really is. The view is from a higher level and clearer as a result.
People want to be like me now. Are you nuts! You can learn from me. You can open your eyes and see reality as I and other successful people do. But you do NOT want to be me. The world has a hard enough time with one of me the way it is!
There is no reality distortion field. There never was. It was part of your illusion and yours only. You created it. A few of us have opened our eyes and work frantically to help others do the same.
Or you can keep doing what you always have. Me? I’m just going to sit here admiring myself in the mirror and counting my money.