As the rescue efforts continued it was hard for me to even imagine what these passengers might be experiencing if they were indeed trapped in a vehicle roughly the size of minivan for days at the bottom of the ocean. Late last week we learned that submarine had experienced a catastrophic implosion shortly after descending.
Although I had been praying for these passengers to be found alive, part of me was at least relieved that their unfortunate deaths were instantaneous and not prolonged.
Something that struck me about this story was the way in which these passengers were being portrayed in the media. From the very beginning, special emphasis was placed on their wealth and how each person aboard had spent a quarter of a million dollars to take the trip.
As the story continued to unfold on social media, I was appalled by the lack of compassion many had for the victims of this tragedy. Some even going so far as to say they deserved what they experienced for spending so much on the trip. The Founder and CEO of OceanGate, Stockton Rush in particular has been vilified, and his greed has been blamed by many for the tragedy.
In this way, I think this story has become far more than just a tragic tale of adventurers losing their lives while exploring the unknown, or even a story of corporate malfeasance. I believe this story provides a glimpse into how we as a culture view wealth and success today.
There was a time in our country when those who became wealthy in business were viewed with great respect and admiration. Particularly if that person came from humble beginnings. We almost revered those people as the personification of the American dream, and used them as examples of what is possible if you work hard and are willing to take risks.
That is not how we view the wealthy today. Today, Inequality is viewed as a form of injustice and immorality. Therefore, it is presumed by many that those who have acquired great wealth must have accomplished this by taking from those with less.
This belief espoused by young people especially, is nothing more than classical Marxist ideas that have been experiencing a significant resurgence in recent years. This is particularly disturbing to me as I see the impact of such teachings even influencing my own young children.
What’s most unfortunate about this mindset is too often it becomes a deterrent from individuals reaching their own full potential. After all, why would someone chase after something they view as morally wrong? As a result, the individual finds less purpose in their own lives, the overall wealth of our nation is greatly reduced, and society as a whole does not advance as quickly as it would otherwise.
The truth is money is amoral. How a person obtains it and what they do with it after, that is where morality comes into play. I believe we are all called to follow the “golden rule” in all financial pursuits. I am proud to say fairness and honesty is at the core of all things I do in both business and in my personal financial life.
If you can say the same, then you should not for one second allow others to portray your success as somehow unearned or illegitimate. If you are not as successful as some you see around you. Don’t view those people as the enemy, view them as people you can model your own life after. Remember you get out of your life whatever you put into it. Nothing more, nothing less.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)