Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman doesn’t make for a sympathetic character. Unlike other “folk hero” billionaires, like Bill Gates or Richard Branson, Ms. Rinehart inherited the bulk of her fortune. Unlike China’s Jack Ma, Ms Reinhart’s fortune is built on an old fashioned, dirty and exploitative industry – coal. Unlike Mr. Warren Buffet, Ms. Reinhart does not make public declarations against the official perks of being rich.
If anything, Ms. Reinhart’s public statements about the less fortunate in life can come across as downright crude and crass – think of her statements about the poor dragging down the country into debt thanks to “welfare.”
While Ms. Rinehart’s remarks may offend, I have to ask myself if what she’s saying has a grain of truth to it. One of her most poignant remarks was that, “The poor should work more and drink less.” If I look at the examples around me, Ms. Rinehart is right.
If I look at my own family, the most glaring example is between my Dad and his older brother, my Uncle Richard. Both men had talent in abundance and the confidence to get it used, noticed and both made pots of money. Uncle Richard died in what was effectively a pauper’s grave. Towards the end, his body had aged 20-years and the only pennies he had were what my aunt could spare him. By comparison, my Dad has paid of his house and lives a healthy and happy lifestyle.
What was the difference between the two brothers? Uncle Richard was a drunk. What he made ended up being spent on booze. When he made money, he got drunk. Eventually, the drink affected his reputation and his work. Nobody wanted to hire a drunk. Dad, by contrast, knew how to control the booze intake. Instead of hitting the bottle when things went down, he got working and before you know it, he pulled himself back up.
The same is true of my circle of friends. I have exceedingly successful friends and friends who are..well, you could say they’ve seen better days. What makes the difference between them?
Well, one of the clearest signs is the fact that the successful group have managed to keep their vices in check. It’s not to say that the members of this group don’t go out and have a drink or two. Nor does this group avoid going for a smoke.
However, they manage to live for something more than the next drink or the next smoke. We go out for a drink and we laugh. Everyone talks and has a laugh. Conversations are based on mutual respect. Then, we go home because …..well there’s work the next day. Work comes before having a drink.
By contrast, the less successful put their vices before everything else. During their broke stages, instead of saving the pennies they have in their pocket, they spend it on booze or cigarettes or whatever their vice happens to be. Somehow, the need to have the next fix overrides everything else.
Getting the drunks to work can be a challenge. Many, particularly the ones who were once successful find it difficult to accept that they are no longer successful. Instead of working their way up, it becomes easier to scrounge for the next drink and relive old war stories than to try and build a new present and future.
Being a piss head in your twenties is fun. Being a piss head in your forties is kind of sad……