Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Published on February 26, 2017 By Frogboy In Life, the Universe and Everything

I'm on my way to GDC.  I write this from first class on a 752-200 from Detroit Metro.  25 years ago I lived in poverty. How did I go from having nothing to being one of those 0.1%ers? The usual, hard work, self-discipline, delayed gratification. But there's another element that rarely gets talked about: Being born lucky.

I took a political test and one of the questions struck me, "Some people are born lucky." as a True or False statement.  I remember watching a video of Sargon, a popular political YouTuber, taking this test where he answers no to this question.  Let me assure you, some people are born lucky.  I would know. I was born lucky.

There is a tendency I've seen with "rich" people I know to believe their wealth is solely due to their virtue and wisdom.  But in my experience, being "born lucky" is a pre-requisite to success.  The problem with believing in ones own virtue and wisdom when it comes to success is that it is easy to lose empathy for the less fortunate. 

Besides being born in the United States I had an advantage that even those who were born rich didn't have.  I have almost super-natural good health.  I suspect if you were to study rich people, particularly those, like me, who were at one time living in poverty (by USA standards) you will find that unusually good health is something they have in common.

As tempting as it might be to ascribe my health to decisions I made, I know that not to be true.  I eat horribly. I don't require more than a few hours of sleep per night. I brush my teeth only when my wife complains my breath is killing the plants even as my dentist tells me "whatever you're doing, keep doing it, you have exceptionally good oral health" (I've never had a cavity and tell the dentist that flossing is his job).  I never had to blow my nose until after I had kids.   I didn't have a single sick day from K-12 except for chicken pox. 

My health isn't something I earned. It was something I was born with.  My mom is a mutant as well as I'm not sure I've ever seen her sick. Ever. As in, I'm not sure she's even had a cold.

My unearned health has allowed me to do things that others couldn't do.  So many times in my career a given opportunity was only possible because I could work every day for months at a time to get it done.  So much of my success can be attributed to my unusually good health. I don't get tired. I don't get sick. Year after year. Even now, my entire family at home is sick. I try to sympathize by pointing out I have a hang nail (advice to others: don't do that, I am not immune to my wife's beatings).

So next time you hear someone ascribe some sort of moral failure on the part of the poor, remember, some of our success really is based on being born lucky.

This week, amongst many meetings, I will be reporting what I find over at www.neowin.com. Also, I trimmed that hangnail.


Comments (Page 1)
2 Pages1 2 
on Feb 26, 2017

Well stated Brad. I never knew some of the about you, glad you made it! I am not rich here for sure, but there is always hope. 

on Feb 26, 2017

I'm not rich, never will be.... and I sure as hell wasn't born lucky. 

If anything it's more the opposite, in both health and fortune.  Still, I'm still happy with my lot.

In fact, I don't want to be rich because I believe it would change me too much.  I'd have the money but I'd be much the poorer in other ways, with relationships potentially suffering because of money quarrels, etc. Nah, I'm happier the way I am.

I may at times struggle with making money stretch far enough, and I'll often have to go without stuff when I want or need some new tech, etc, but I'm not worried or complaining because I feel that I am rich in the relationships I have with friends and family. 

Sadly, though, my health is not the best and I'm in constant pain, so I may be a little envious there, but with the medications and physio I can manage and I do fare better than some.  There are others far worse off than I, so in that respect I do count myself as being fortunate.

on Feb 26, 2017

starkers

I'm not rich, never will be.... and I sure as hell wasn't born lucky. 

If anything it's more the opposite, in both health and fortune.  Still, I'm still happy with my lot.

In fact, I don't want to be rich because I believe it would change me too much.  I'd have the money but I'd be much the poorer in other ways, with relationships potentially suffering because of money quarrels, etc. Nah, I'm happier the way I am.

I may at times struggle with making money stretch far enough, and I'll often have to go without stuff when I want or need some new tech, etc, but I'm not worried or complaining because I feel that I am rich in the relationships I have with friends and family. 

Sadly, though, my health is not the best and I'm in constant pain, so I may be a little envious there, but with the medications and physio I can manage and I do fare better than some.  There are others far worse off than I, so in that respect I do count myself as being fortunate.

Money does change things.  But in my experience, not quite in the way you describe.  It is both better and worse.  Money doesn't create happiness and I never set out to be rich, it just happened from me doing what I wanted to do in the first place which is make cool stuff.

I'm very sorry to hear about your health. You're a good man.

on Feb 26, 2017

I consider myself lucky.

At the age of 56 I had heart bypass surgery.

On this day the 27th of February I celebrate my 70th birthday.

The grandkids now refer to me as being a stone age person.

on Feb 26, 2017

I was born in 'The Lucky Country' ....so the rest was/is 'a given'...

 

 

....and there ain't nuthin' wrong with the smilies...

on Feb 26, 2017

RG-GS

So, why don't you share your lucky country experience with the rest of us? I would kinda like to know more about you. 

Australia has always been referred to as 'The Lucky Country'....sun....beaches...space...etc. "the land of plenty".

OK, so it's the second driest continent [Antarctica is first], is home to the world's deadliest anythings...including all top 10 snakes....

Melbourne [where I am] has been the World's most livable city for several years. [in spite of Real Estate prices - New York is cheaper].

I just got back from working Round 1 of the World Superbikes today....and we have a round of the MotoGP, and next month it's the Round 1 opener of Formula One ....The Melbourne Cup is the third biggest nag race in the world [if yer into them - I'm not].

But like Brad, I had to work to get what I've got...where I'm at.  Nothing is 'free'...

When it comes to 'fighting' Australia has fought....in pretty well every conflict anywhere....including not the '17-18' and '41 -45' wars...but the '14-18' and '39-45' wars..

on Feb 26, 2017

RG-GS

it is good to get a reply from you.

Sure is....means I'm still alive and kicking...

on Feb 27, 2017

Hi Jafo,

Melbourne!!!!

I am just down the road in Geelong

Cheers

Macca

on Feb 27, 2017

Aussie007

Hi Jafo,

Melbourne!!!!

I am just down the road in Geelong

Cheers

Macca

Should catch up one day ....been eons since I hooked up with a local WC user...

on Feb 27, 2017

Frogboy

Money does change things. But in my experience, not quite in the way you describe. It is both better and worse.

I know that if I were to suddenly become wealthy there would be dozens of people with their hands out, and that would be my dilemma.  People don't remain rich if they give to everyone with a sob story or their hand out, and while I'd want to help those in need and who are deserving of it, there would be many I'd have to say no to, and that's where the problems would arise, with bitterness and resentment towards myself and those I had helped. 

So no, I'd rather not have it to begin with.  At least this way, everyone knows I don't have it to give and the status quo remains.  Having said that, I do help my daughter quite a bit.  She is doing it tough right now, and I don't have a lot, but I don't want my grandkids going without the necessities of life while she struggles to make ends meet.

Frogboy

I'm very sorry to hear about your health. You're a good man.

Thanks for that, I appreciate it.  The thing is, I have better days than others where I'm high in spirits and feel like I can conquer the world.  Then there's the not so good days when I'm in pain and/or suffering with vertigo, but I try to remain positive and cheerful so as not to depress those around me.  It's at those time I think of the Monty Python song: "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life".

As for being a good man, well I try to be.  I mostly succeed, but then there are times when I look back in retrospect and feel I could have done better.  Oh well, it's the thought that counts.

on Feb 27, 2017

RG-GS

a terrible motorcycle accident

Yeah, I had one of those... got run off the road and ended up in hospital [on and off] for 3 years.  I had a total of 136 fractures, which is probably why I suffer with arthritic pain nowadays, some 40+ years later.  Thing is, I was bulletproof and invincible back then, so once I was back on my feet I returned to the hard physical type of work I'd always known... and loved.  I tried office and factory work but never really liked it.  I hated being cooped up so I did some outdoor construction work before settling down to doing removals [shifting other peoples junk from a to B]

Unfortunately, however, with past injuries and such, my body eventually broke down and I got pensioned off a few years back... put out to pasture, if you will, to get fat in lieu of the required effort.  Oh well, it could have been worse....coulda been sent to the knacker yard and melted down for glue.

on Feb 27, 2017

So in other words those who are rich have superior jeans and are thus worthy of being more prosperous?

on Feb 27, 2017

hedetet

So in other words those who are rich have superior jeans and are thus worthy of being more prosperous?

That is not what Brad is saying.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  From what I read, Brad could very well have had the arse hanging out of his 'jeans', because he lived in poverty at one point in his life and likely couldn't afford to patch them, much less purchase new ones.  So no, it wasn't a rich gene... if ever there was such a thing.

I don't know that there's such a thing as being born lucky, either.  Brad may have been blessed with good health and have a few things go his way, but the fact is that he went from poverty to being a successful business man through hard work and dedication.  So if genes are  involved, it will be the ones that ensure the good health and stamina to work towards his goals.

As for rich jeans, I'd like some of those overpriced designer ones the Hollywood stars wear, quite frankly, not these cheap generic things I pick up at K-Mart for 10 bucks... 7.95 on special.

on Feb 27, 2017

The post seems like an intentional contradiction to prove a point.

On one hand you were born lucky, but on the other hand you worked hard for what you've achieved.

Based on things you've said in the past on this forum, I'm waiting for the "gotcha" when you post again...

on Feb 27, 2017

I see no contradiction... no on one hand and then the other.

I mean, why can't success be a combination of all those things?

An enterprise does not succeed on one aspect alone.  You can throw all the money in the world at it but if you're not prepared to work had it will fail regardless of the cash supporting it.. 

Good health is another important factor to building a business, because without it the energy and vitality to continue building just isn't there.

Oh, and then there's the product!  Do enough people want it to make it viable?

And then there's luck, or as I prefer to call it, good fortune, being on your side.... things going the way you need them to in order to make the steady progress to eventually turn a profit.  And therein lies the key word... PROFIT, because without that there is no business.

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