Are rich people smarter than the rest of us? If you're rich or wanna be rich, you may want to check this out. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
The short answer to this enduring question is no. Rich people aren't inherently smarter than the rest of us, but they have more proximity to money. That is, they have more access to the tools that create material wealth in society. Some would argue that being in proximity to money is the thing that makes rich people smarter than us. Let's look at that....
Structural racism and classism can support incompetent rich people while suppressing really smart poor people. Systems that support material wealth don't necessarily coincide with systems that support smart decision makers.
Rich people, on average, are luckier than many other people, and there's math to prove it. Even more, that luck is enhanced if you're born in the right country that puts a high premium on material gain, with the right infrastructure and with the right social mobility tools. This throws a wrench into the idea often championed by motivational speakers that everyone has the same chance at being rich...it's just your thoughts that set you apart. Thoughts increase the odds, but support, infrastructure and luck make all the difference....
Something called "Survivorship Bias" can fool us into believing that if we simply follow a model set by a particular rich person, we too will be rich --- something often pitched by the latest best-selling book. The reality is that becoming rich or super rich is much more random and not necessarily based on being smart or following a model.
And measuring your intelligence based on your income (be you rich , or not so rich) is also false reasoning......
There is no support for the idea that rich people are inherently smarter, collectively, than everyone else. This is important because of the trending idea they are. This key understanding can help us make better leadership choices, knowing that the rich are not necessarily better decision makers than the rest of us.
The magic that rich people have in American society is not more brains than the average person, but more proximity to wealth than the average person.
The massive trend toward disinformation and 3 things you can do to protect yourself. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
We are living in the golden age of lies, fakes and disinformation.
If you're not concerned about this development, you should be. It's one thing when individuals lie to us (as most people will at some point in your life). It's another thing when gigantic systemic infrastructures have been set up to not passively lie to you, but aggressively confuse your thoughts, neuter your individual will and stifle your thinking. There is a trend around the world to fully harness the influence of social media to consolidate power and control though disinformation. It sounds quite Orwellian, but developments across the planet show that the Orwellian nightmare is here and has become woven into the very fabric of societies....
The consequences of normalizing this are vast....
I often say in my presentations that disinformation isn't necessarily effective if it convinces you to come over to it's way of thinking (although that is always an end goal). It is effective when it confuses you and overwhelms you with so much information that you simply choose to check out. The modern term for this is "Censorship Through Noise". This kind of censorship means you no longer are engaged in championing something that represents you or your ideas. You simply become quiet or de facto complicit to the disinformation. Low information voters are particularly vulnerable to this. Its just easier for them to follow the path of least resistance, that is, the path they are being spoon fed what to think. Overall, the end result of a sustained attack on agreed truths is the breakdown in basic trust. No one trusts the government. No one trusts the media. No one trusts anyone. Remember, the core of a representative society is that it functions on a set of agreed trusts.
What can we do?
All of my data says we can do 3 things right now to establish a beach head against the wave of disinformation.
1. You must take regular breaks from you electronic media. The addictive nature of social media makes this extremely difficult, but certainly not impossible. At the very least, you should not make it the first thing you do in the morning....https://vulcanpost.com/602607/social-media-morning-routine-negative/
2. Always check the news source that provides you with the story. It's easy to click through the name of the writer or provider of the story. Follow it down the rabbit hole to see who this person or organization is. Chances are good you'll see if they come from a particular slant or bias. That doesn't necessarily mean the information is false, especially if it's from a reputable source. It only means you should take in consideration that they have a particular position which may or may not tell you the whole truth. The best sources are the ones that share their position regularly so that you are made aware of it.
3. Look for other reports to compare. Finding comparative reports to what you are reading is far easier than it was just a few years ago. If the subject means that much to you, dig a bit deeper. The times we live in demand it.
We live in a strange new world. You can no longer be intellectually lazy when it comes to where you get your information. You'll have to verify what your reading or watching is a truth that you're willing to go to bat for. That's the only way a representative democracy, in all it's forms, will be able to survive and thrive.
The data is clear. Cooperation, not competition is our best life. It can save the future. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
A few years ago, I wrote about how anthropologists discovered something interesting in our millions year old ancestry. We learned to cooperate in order to survive. In other words, we are at our best when we work together across platforms, ethnic groups and geographies to solve major challenges. Consequently, it seems we are at our worst when we compete. A group of anthropologists and psychologists have formalized the data behind this insight....
So, I started to speculate....if we brought cooperation back to the fore of human advancement, how would the world handle things? Below is my speculation based on the current paradigm, and the revisited cooperative paradigm from early humans, also known as the Ubuntu Socieoeconomic Construct....
Current Paradigm: Status quo. Denial. Delay.
Revisited Paradigm: Distributing resources to support those most affected. Move to create a global plan.
Current Paradigm: Profit --Some get….most don’t.
Revisited Paradigm: Abundance---empowered and connected communities.
Current Paradigm: Deal with symptoms, not the problem.
Revisited Paradigm: Re-imagine how systems work.
Current Paradigm: Waste is part of the process of distributing food worldwide, profitably.
Revisited Paradigm: Rethinking food distribution processes to end waste, using new technology.
Current Paradigm: Processed and fattening foods are choices so the market should decide.
Revisited Paradigm: Provide people with better and affordable choices.
Current Paradigm: Keep cultural others out.
Revisited Paradigm: Reformed and modern immigration policies.
Current Paradigm: Incremental progress.
Revisited Paradigm: Elect more women officials for guidance through Feminine Principle Leadership.
Current Paradigm: The market should drive cost and access.
Revisited Paradigm: Providing clean water access to people to improve the quality of life in a community. Prioritizing new technology in this process.
Current Paradigm: Profit
Revisited Paradigm: Utilize the knowledge, technology and innovation into creating smart cities and an empowered world.
This is, of course, speculation, but if we retraced our steps and went back to the best of humanity's innovative roots on the plains of Africa, we would be talking about cooperation and the world would be on a different trajectory.
Reading the title of this article may lend you to believe that there are more incompetent people being born in the world and they are dominating jobs, places of power and various parts of our lives. That's not quite accurate. The major part of the equation is that we are tending the fertile ground of incompetence by creating the right circumstances for it to grow. There are three major factors contributing to what is being perceived as the unmasking and support for incompetence. Those factors are the worship of wealth, the growth of the cult of personality via social media and the war on facts and knowledge.
"Rich people are smarter than the rest of us". There's no doubt that there are rich people who are smart, just as there are those living in poverty who are genius. But a collective leap in logic has started to predominate cultures around the world when people come to the conclusion that people are rich because they are smart. In social caste systems where social mobility is being thwarted by systemic racism, sexism and classism, many really smart and insightful people simply can't get out of their station in life. On the other side, terribly incompetent people are often advanced in responsibility and duty in society simply because they have a lot of money. Over a period of time, this myth of rich people being smarter than the rest of us starts to develop it's own religion. People start to believe it as a truth. We'll say things like "he must be smart, he's rich", or "he knows more than I do because he's richer than I".
"She's popular so she much be smart". We have developed a belief system that says known people are smarter than the rest of us. Thus, there are people in our society who make an entire living simply for being known. Being known is not the same as competence. It's not that the two don't intersect regularly (known people who are smart and competent), but using popularity as a metric for competence and intelligence is false. Social media has made this false practice a regular part of our daily workings. Thus, we often put known people in positions (ie: commenting on world affairs or personal advice) that they are not capable of being able to address coherently.
"Smart people think they're better than us". Somewhere over the years, we decided to wage war on smart, competent people. We made education and intelligence the enemy and started calling learned people "elites". Once you start making the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom culturally unacceptable, incompetent people fill the leadership void and become heroes. We no longer make becoming smart, competent and insightful an aspirational goal. Incompetent people can rule the day simply by doing and saying incompetent things. "They speak their mind", or "he speaks like me" or "he tells the truth" are ways we rationalize disjointed and dishonest conversations from incompetent people. Some of this comes from our desire to find a relatable champion who seems to know and understand our experiences. The other part of it is intellectual laziness, where we simply don't want to do our homework.
The hope here is that there is not a mass uprising of incompetent people. It is not consistent with a "zombie apocalypse" where incompetent people rise from the grave to take over the world. On the contrary. They only advance if we allow that to happen, which means we hold the key to the kind of people we want running our society and our world. My suggestions are the following:
1. Take occasional social media breaks to take the power of incompetent people (popularity) away from them.
2. Leverage social media to do your homework on people who say they want to represent you.
3. Celebrate intelligence and competence in your social circles. Make it socially popular.
These may seem like simple remedies, but remember, we hold the key to the kind of leadership we deserve.
My seven big predictions for 2020. (spoiler alert) I won't have your winning lottery numbers. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
Despite the common misconception, Futurists are not people who read into crystal balls. On the contrary....we do the most unglamorous job in the world. We're trend analysts. Many of us are former print and tv journalists. We sit around and read trends that affect business and society. But, as you may know....numbers and data are incomplete. They provide the canvass to paint on, but talking to the people and using our intuition is what provides the painting. Because the world is a very dynamic place, we sometimes miss our predictions about the future. But that "misses" the point (pun intended). Being a Futurist is more about providing a snapshot of how things are looking and where they may or may not go. As I always say, trends are collective decisions we've made. Because they are decisions, we can change our minds. That being said, I'm going to go out on the limb and predict some decisions we have made so far and how they'll show up this year. People like when you predict stuff. It's sexy and it helps hold my feet to the fire. Here are my top 7 predictions for 2020.
1. There will be some major political policy breakthrough in climate crisis. One or a group of countries are going to take some evolutionary steps to lead the world in climate crisis management. Their effort will affect the rest of the planet's nation-states.
2. Deep fakes are going to challenge the voting system and the heart of Democracy in the United States. A number of bad actors around the world will be utilizing the newest technology to send "deep fakes" through social media in the US. Deep fakes are manipulated videos that show a person doing something or saying something they really did not. With a large low information voting population, this is particularly dangerous.
3. The Stem Crisis (along with the population bust) is going to create radical immigration reform this year This is entirely dependent upon who will be elected as president in the US. If it will be a Democrat, you'll see a bill being prepared before the year is out that will both fund native STEM training as well as reform immigration so that more STEM candidates from Nigeria, India and China come to the States. For those of you who don't know, the US is falling behind STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) training in our schools. We have fewer students because of the population bust and few qualified students to handle the subjects.
4. Eco-shaming will rise to the top of social activism. If your company is not doing it's share to help the world manage climate crisis, you will be outed soon, probably this year. Activist groups are putting together lists of companies to avoid because of their lack of climate crisis commitment.
5. Africa and the African Diaspora will start to form a meaningful and strategic bond. The success of Ghana's "Year of Return" campaign has tapped into the making of a global social and economic powerhouse. It will be bumpy at first, but the groundwork has been laid for a mutually beneficial agreement.
6. There will be several climate crisis related disasters throughout the world, which will galvanize more global action. Work is already taking place in cities across the US and around the world. The crises will only confirm that we've got to move faster.
7. A new and unique optimism will emerge. This may seem like a difficult one to digest, but should we make it through the tough part of the schedule for this year, a curious optimism will settle over societies around the world. Collective angst is often followed by relief and a rethinking of priorities along with a new vision. It doesn't mean everything suddenly gets better, but our approach to the challenges will change, dramatically. You can look for that toward the end of the year with the caveat that there is going to be a major test of resolve before we get there.
We're at that magical place between the death spiral and rebirth. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
In case it hasn't hit home yet, we are living in very interesting times. As interesting times go, both wolves live among us....the one that will drag us to hell and the other one that will lead us to a greater world. Which wolf we feed is being decided at this time. I know. As a trend analyst, I am observing, in real time, what decisions we're making and how it will impact the immediate future. I advocate for the feeding of the possibilities wolf, but it's important for me to share more information about this time so that you'll make good, clear decisions and not just take my word for it. Let me also offer this trigger alert: You should be aware that your mind is fully capable of playing tricks on you. In fact, there are large swaths of voters right now that are actively engaged in profound disassociation with the facts in an effort to hold onto a certain set of values. You may be one of them. All of us are vulnerable.
That being said. here are the indicators flashing on my board that says we are in that sweet spot between calamity and unprecedented success.
For the fourth year in a row, life expectancy in the US is going down: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-life-expectancy-declined-for-third-year-in-a-row-2019-11
US citizens are the unhappiest they’ve ever been
Income inequality is greater now than it was in 1929, right before the great crash….
The opioid drug epidemic in the US rages on and could get worse…
The quality of the jobs being produced in the current economic expansion are dead end and getting worse…
All of these, and many more trends regarding our response to climate crisis, obesity, trust, hope, falling confidence in institutions and loss of faith suggest that the US is in the middle of a societal death spiral. It is truly a crisis. To be clear, the classic definition of crisis is the following:
“a time of intense and difficult trouble or danger.”
But crisis has an additional meaning:
“The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.”
Here are the trends that suggest recovery is also imminent….
3D printing has advanced to the point of printing cheap housing for the poor…
Climate crisis can actually help us redefine a better functioning and more fair economy….
Despite the rise in racism, more Americans are embracing diversity…
Eco-shaming, calling out organizations that contribute massively to climate crisis or pollution, is on the rise…..
Two kinds of worlds are emerging at the same time. The crisis asks us to make a decision on what kind of world we are choosing to embrace. Just a reminder, trends are collective decisions we've made. This means we have an opportunity to change our minds on that decision and perhaps feed the wolf that can lead to a powerful, abundant, connected and bold future. Choose your wolves wisely.
This is not hard. When more people do well, more people do well. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
The global trends in economic inequality isn't really that hard to figure out. If you create systems where more and more resources are concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people, you develop an imbalance of how a system works. Jobs become cheaper and pay less, more poor people are created, and the national economy becomes increasingly more fragile. From 1945 through the early 1970s, there was a period of time in the history of the United States often called "The Great Compression". This time of unprecedented growth and economic prosperity was unmatched in human history. Communities of color didn't see the same benefits of this time due to widespread systemic racism, but in general, the economy grew and grew rapidly. It was called The Great Compression because you didn't have the gigantic gulfs of difference between the very rich and the very poor that you have today. The mechanisms put in place by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were created to make sure more resources got in the hands of more people so that they could do more things. True to form, it worked, for many Americans. But a funny thing happened on the way to prosperity. After Ronald Reagan was elected, president, things started to trend in a different direction, due to a new set of policies that emphasized "some get....most don't." Once economic inequality started to expand and resources for everyday citizens were seen as "entitlements", the ranks of the very poor swelled, the working poor increased exponentially and the very rich started to own more and more of the world. This isn't a political position. These are the facts as they stand today.
More data in from a Universal Basic Income experiment in Kenya for the last few years backs the basic truth that when more people do well, more people do well. This ground breaking study shows that when you gave people $1000 every month to families for a year, no questions asked, the entire community benefits and prospers....
Despite the growing number of studies that say getting more resources in the hands of more people works for the overall good, there are those who are providing false narratives about job growth, so there is no need to change things.....
So, the evidence says, put more resources in the hands of more people (all of it's people) and you have a robust and thriving economy. Seems simple enough, but there are people against that idea. That being said, here are 3 ways we can introduce empowered communities that duplicate the ideas of strong economies...
Communities must band together. Communities are stronger than individuals and more agile than political groups.
We must embrace a different philosophical view. It's true that when people don't see a hope in the future beyond theor current circumstances, despair and a general collapse of social norms follows.
We must push for Universal Basic Income-like programs. I use that term "universal basic income" loosely. Anything that puts more resources in the hands of more people creates a better economy.
Taking action to empower communities and people is a safe, easy way to avoid an eventual crisis that comes when an economy is grossly imbalanced. It is an unhealthy thing when people feel they have no chance of being able to create a prosperous life of dignity. A four year decline in life expectancy, an anxiety and depression epidemic and runaway drug overdoses are all signs that people are at a crisis state in their existence and cannot see themselves in the future.
Its more true now than it's ever been: when more people do well, more people do well
We've become a nation of 'hustlers', but partnership is the future. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
The US has elevated the title of "hustler" to stratospheric levels. We have movies that come out and celebrate the people who "hustle". We praise colleagues as hustlers because of their ability to do anything the situation calls for. We admire the grit demonstrated by people and their resourcefulness as they navigate life.
Then there is another set of hustlers that we celebrate. We have politicians who write books on making hustling people an "art" in order to "get over" on them. We have company executives who hustle the general public by being deceptive in the products they manufacture. We have entire institutions that are "gaming the system" so they can have an unfair advantage. These are the new hustlers that we have elevated to cult status because we sometimes equate them to our own survival hustle. It is a false equivalence. It is not the same. These new hustlers and grifters are people hell bent on material acquisition and power by any means necessary. They have now become our personality. Our mindset. Our spirit.
While I do understand the hustle as a survival tool, I don't want us to lose the truth that there are circumstances creating the need for us to hustle in the first place. Oftentimes, those circumstances are created by the new hustlers that aren't surviving, but thriving.....at your expense. Those circumstances aren't the natural order of humans. They are man-made. Ask the Nordic states.
The one thing that modern technology keeps telling us by it's very existence is that things work better, more efficiently and more effectively when they are connected and work together. There is more leverage in connectivity, more collective power and more innovation when people can draw on a variety of sources instead of just their own insular hustle. In the ancient African philosophical construct of Ubuntu, the idea is that we can use more sources to solve our problems than playing out a wild west scenario where it's every person for themselves. The old phrase goes "when more people do well....more people do well."
Back in my days teaching leadership at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, I asked the students what was the root of all evil? Most of them answered money. Others said it was the love of money. But I demonstrated to them that indifference is the root of all evil. Once you no longer see one person as being connected to you, you logically work out in your mind that they no longer have value and you can do things to them you would never do to yourself. They no longer are a partner for success but a tool for your hustle. We've done it in slavery, genocide, wars as well as violence against the planet. We are paying for that indifference to the planet in the form of an extinction level event called climate crisis. No hustle will get us out of this.
Highly developed partnerships is the tool of choice for a planet that must rethink it's resources, it's people and the way that it looks at the future. The efficiency and effectiveness of partnerships makes hustling look like a third grade school dance. So it's not whether or not partnerships is better than individual hustling. It's whether or not we can develop the collective will to become something great
We're having a nervous "breakthrough", and that's a good thing. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk.
First, reference and clarity. A nervous breakdown is a bout of mental illness that is so severe, it directly impacts their ability to function in everyday life. ,Here in the US, it appears that we are experiencing a bout of systemic dysfunction so severe, it threatens to halt the function of the entire society. Here is the evidence of that. ..k
Some religious institutions have sold out to for political leverage or are embroiled in broad abuse scandals
Massive, systemic corruption in our political institutions is on full display.....
The economic system is being questioned, even by some of it's most ardent supporters because of massive income inequality…
Even some of our philanthropic organizations are gaming the system....
All of this while the world burns under climate crisis...
Based on most of the information I've studied from past civilizations, times like these only means previous methods are not sustainable. It's time to create something transformative. We're in the middle of a nervous break through...a one-time opportunity to re-imagine how the future works. Truth is, we usually don't respond to change unless it's on our doorstep. This time that change is past the doorstep, in the kitchen and eating our food.
There are five things that we can do to leverage this moment.....
1. Travel. Go see someone you haven't seen in a while and have dinner with them. Go to some place you haven't been and see the sights. Meet up with a social media acquaintance for a shared encounter. This increases your ability to connect, relate to and develop your human contact skills. We're going to need them.
2. Turn off the social media and news for a period of time. We already know their are outside actors playing in social media platforms to manipulate you. Why help them?
3. Create or join a community group. The next round of leadership that will emerge will be community groups. Not bought by political action money and bigger than the individual, community groups will create next level leadership that's more flexible and agile.
4. Meditate. Even if you give yourself 5 minutes of just following each breath, you may well add a month of quality life onto your existence. There is nothing more powerful than meditation. It is, truly, a miracle tool.
5. Create a social innovation group. Innovation isn't just for technology. It's for social structures, too. Social innovation groups seek to find better tools, ideas, and thoughts on what could work better in a time of technological evolution, climate crisis, income inequality and re-imagined leadership. Write us here at email@example.com and we'll turn you on to them.
Enjoy every minute of your nervous breakthrough.
As a Futurist, one of the things I've discovered over the years is that cycles -- life patterns where you pretty much do the same thing on the regular --- are fairly common. People embrace cycles because they are familiar and that they offer a sense of security in a world that often seems strange, uncomfortable and dangerous. Even if those cycles are dangerous, some people conclude that "better the devil you know than the devil you don't know." This kind of processing leads abused spouses to stay in abusive relationships. It leads corporation executives to bankrupt a company. It can even lead grown adults to say climate change is a hoax. While cycles are not necessarily bad in and of themselves, we are living in a time where we need to go above and beyond all that we know. There is a tool that can be used to break the power of habit and cycle and help us go above and beyond. It's a super power most of us have, but perhaps have under developed as a skill. That super power is vision.
Vision, the ability to imagine and see things that others cannot and the ability to turn it into a reality, is usually left to politicians, preachers or CEOs as a tool of the ambitious and well connected. The truth is, all human beings have been born with it as part of the human package. To what degree we develop it usually determines the quality of our lives. Here are some of the basic benefits of vision....
Vision can be a powerful unifier. I would submit that when a country, city or community is in discord, the lack of a common vision is usually at the center of the problem. Vision doesn't mean everyone agrees on an item. It means that the vision or a view of the road ahead is so big, inclusive, affirmative and compelling, people are willing to put aside their differences to make that one thing happen, first and foremost.
Vision is positive. There are people who unify their communities through fear. They tell you about all the things you should be afraid of. They tell you about the "others" and what those others will do to you. They tell you of the loss you will suffer from the others. That fear directly affects your quality of life. Vision is just the opposite. Vision leans on the benefits of a shared idea. It thrives when more people are able to participate in it. In quantum mechanics, vision is the vehicle for The Observer Effect --- the observed is affected by the observer. Fear begats more fear and affects the quality of our experience. While a positive vision has a direct affect on the quality of our lives. We are affecting that life through how we envision it.
Vision makes you put in work. Most people may not look at vision as a process, but it is. It requires you to flesh out a passing thought or idea. It demands that you think it through so that it's more than a wish or a dream, but an action plan. Vision requires you to make, at least, a mental commitment to something that used to be a fringe blip on your radar. Developing the vision means you are now committed to seeing the vision through. It will take a few changes along the way, but now it won't be left to chance.
Unfortunately, many people around us have reduced vision to personal gain, materialism and political gamesmanship. In the old world, this approach created a gain for a few, but led all of us to an existential crisis called climate catastrophe. The new world we are shifting into requires us to be magicians --- turning poison into medicine, conflict into companionship and profit into abundance. It is the super power that gives us the greatest chance to thrive and succeed in a time of climate crisis. Vision is the tool for this level of work.
Most of us know all the things you're against. Chances are you've posted it on social media at one time or another.
But what are you for? The essence of that is your vision.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org