The One Percent

Money and being rich is a very interesting subject to me(wow I wrote that six years ago). Jamie Johnson is someone that is very interesting to me, almost like Anderson Cooper he was born into a very rich family but want to make their own mark in the world. I watched his documentary Born Rich a while back, and recently was able to catch The One Percent. Both films have the same theme, wealth; but the second one speaks more of responsibility. Are the rich supposed to give their money away? Why does only one percent of the population in the U.S. have all the wealth?

While all those subjects are something that can make a series of post, what I want to share is something very simple. After watching the whole movie about wealth and economic policy and very rich people being very arrogant …. the whole movie was made worth while by a Taxi driver. The guy said some things that I wanted to share with everyone that read this, mostly because it spoke to me in a very real way.

This is totally paraphrasing the guy’s word but the ultimate message is there. After Jamie lets him know that he is driving someone from the Johnson & Johnson family the word rich seems to trigger something in the Cabby’s head and he says simply…

I am rich because from my family I learned;

The following qualities are worth more than money and you cannot buy,

My Family taught me how to love people for who they are, not who I want them to be

Taught me how to get along with people,

Taught me to treat people how I want to be treated,

Treat each person for who they are and not to clump them together because we are all different in our own way.

The dude in a handfull of lines defined true personal wealth. I still hold the same feeling I did a while back, that some of the happiest people I have ever met or interacted with did not have a dime to their name… and yet so many, with so much are constantly so unhappy.

The Happy People

While some humans do make me feel like there is no hope, some others make this world an awesome place to live. It seems like it all revolves around not just being happy, but being able to achieve your goals. Accomplishment, whether big or small, gives you joy and that is the essence of happy.

Having a conversation with someone a lot wiser than I am, we came to the fork on the road about loving yourself. No, get your mind out of the gutter, not that kind. The other kind, the one where you wake up and look at the mirror and are happy to see the face staring back at you. The whole self-esteem thing, the whole relationship thing, everything in life and its interactions is about love… loving one another, loving yourself. But how do I do that?

To some people it’s just a simple reaffirmation, hey, I am awesome! To others it’s the thought that God is above them and loves them no matter what; they feel unconditional love from what cynics will call an imaginary friend. Many more rely on family or friends to give them permission to love themselves for who they are, and to some extent some in that group have to see shrinks to help them open that door. In the end its all the same, it’s all about love.

Some years back I realized I could not make anyone but myself happy. Learning that it was not my responsibility to make anyone happy was liberating in many levels. As I get older and more jaded than I would like to admit I am also learning that you have to love yourself too. While the internal part is obviously very different from person to person in not just how they receive love, but how they give themselves that daily affirmation; I have found a common theme amongst the people I have discussed this subject with. That is where the happy people show up.

I am not talking about my way of coping with life either. I am a positive thinker and try very hard to always see the positive out of every situation, but you don’t have to surround yourself with positive people. The happy people are the ones that you are glad to see and interact with. The people that make your day brighter even if is to complain about the same thing you complain about.

The wife and I were calling it magnetism after laughing at a particularly funny fortune cookie. You have to find the people that share your polarity and stop trying to get close to those that just repel it.

Maybe the 30s are when we start going through the culling of relationships in our lives; but it seems like a common theme lately. Most of our close friends have decided to just devote more time to the happy people in their lives rather than waste time on those that don’t bring much positive to it.

To sum it up, besides making sure that you love who you are (or who you are striving to be), it is also very important to your happiness to surround yourself with people that are happy with who they are. The more you see people comfortable on their own skin, the less work on all levels of relationships there will be. I just wish I had figured this out when I was a lot younger and the behavior of those around me seemed so erratic. I guess everyone has to just figure out how to live in their own skin.

Losing Hope for the Human Race

I had wanted to post more about the journey that my family is going through with my uncle having ALS, but for the first time since I started this blog I have felt like my privacy has been invaded. I’ve had plenty of stalkers in the past, but for the most part it has been people that have so little going on in their lives that somehow mine seemed better or more interesting to them. Those people are easy to ignore and avoid. However, the piece of work that I encountered through posting about ALS is not.

I get a phone call the Sunday after posting about my uncle’s disease. Finding my phone number is not all that difficult if you have a couple of brain cells that fire together and poke around my domain. One of my resumes had it on it so he contacted me.

I would give you the number and name the dude is using, but thankfully the ALS community is aware of this con man and I am not about to give him even more publicity.

He identifies himself and I am thinking, how does this guy know me? He is talking in a very familiar way, and wants to know how my uncle is doing. I don’t recognize the voice or the name and the dude starts using sales tactics talking in circles and asking me questions so he can answer them himself. My brain keeps going back to, how do I know this guy?

Then he starts to talk about how he has the CURE for ALS and its not a drug! its all in the power of thinking!

OMG THIS DUDE HAS CURED 3 PEOPLE OF ALS!

That is when I start getting irritated. I am not the most knowledgeable person about the disease but I do know quite a bit… not to mention that since the diagnosis I have researched quite a bit more.

I kept my cool and continued to be polite while I looked the guy up and his phone number online. I find out that he is a con man and that he promises people to teach them how to “think” terminal illness away, because they get sick and die simply because they are not thinking right.

I stop the guy in its track and ask him what is his pitch? What is he selling? and the guy switches to anger mode. He starts to use guilt saying that if I don’t want my uncle to be cured that is fine, but that I don’t need to curse at him (mind you, I never did that; even as angry as I was I kept my cool.)

I politely asked him to please never contact me again, and lucky for me he has not. He has however harassed many others in the ALS community and seems to want to treat a new disease every couple of years. I am guessing that is when he runs out of the money that he has scammed from his last round.

I could not believe that someone would actually prey on people with this much emotional distress, but it makes sense. People in families going through what we are going through are looking for hope, answers, a way out. There is a lot of garbage out there in the world, and some of it stinks more than other. I can only hope that since more people are internet savvy now, they look up people like this right away and find information before sending people like this one money.

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