Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you handle what happens to you


Prince Ea recently made a short video where he quoted a statistic of a study done on 300 world leaders — everybody from Martin Luther King, to Mahatma Gandhi, to Hellen Keller, etc — and what they had in common. 75% of them were either raised in poverty, abused as children, or had some serious physical impairment. This reminded me of a story I wrote on Medium of how the saying “The rich get richer” is in conflict with the saying “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Though there are examples of rich becoming poor I wondered if there were any studies done on how many of the rich came from challenged backgrounds.

Looking around for data I came across this simple info graphic of where wealth has come from in some of the most extreme cases. Out of the world’s 100 richest people today 27% are heirs and 73% are self-made. In case you missed it, that figure is stunningly close to the 75% of the world leaders that arose from challenged beginnings.

From Poor to Rich

One of the more recent ‘rags to riches’ stories of hard work comes from Jan Klum, the founder of WhatsApp Messenger. The business was acquired by Facebook Inc. on February 19, 2014, for approximately US$19.3 billion. As Daniel Jacobs wrote on the transaction:

When Jan signed the papers that would make him one of the richest men in the world, he didn’t do it in the Four Seasons or at Facebook Headquarters, and he didn’t have camera lights glaring. Instead, he returned to the nondescript building where he once stood for hours waiting with his mother for food stamps.

The hardest place to create success is when you find yourself at a comfort level where change is not mandatory. You might be uncomfortable, you might be wishing for more, you might be blaming countless things ‘outside of your control’ for why you can’t get further. Yet, if change was mandatory then things would…, well…, change. If you find yourself in a place where you are not happy — it might not be about money, it might not be about world leadership, it does not matter where the source of your unhappiness is — then turn your ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’ and become the inspiration for others to do the same. Do it not to impress people but to impress upon people what is possible.

You can either break down, or break records. Your choice — Prince Ea

…and you can’t break records by breaking other people down. Success leaves clues. Find the clues that match the needs of your strengths and talents and begin with the end in mind.

(Originally posted on Medium)