I have been reading a book called Factfulness, with a subtitle that says Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think’. Bill Gates supposedly called it one of the most important books he has ever read. The book begins by asking the reader to answer a few questions such as “In the last twenty years, the majority of the world population living in extreme poverty has: A) Almost doubled B) Remained the same C) Almost Halved.” By the way, only 5% got this right. The correct answer is C. The number of people worldwide who live in extreme poverty has been halved in the last twenty years – yet most people think the opposite. The book is loaded with interesting facts, but even more importantly, it explains why people tend to focus on the negative rather than the truth. Factfulness is an easy read, and in this age where every headline is designed to shock and scare you, it’s a refreshing look at the world as it really is.
People sometimes get me wrong. They think that because I talk a lot about giving back and living modestly, I must not care about money. On the contrary, I care a lot about money because I understand how our system works.
We live in a capitalistic society. Economics drives everything. We work hard and we have more money to provide for our families and do the things we want. But what actually makes us happy? Some of us spend our lives looking for that answer and never find it. Some look for it in church, others pay life coaches, and some think the more money they have the happier they will be.
I teach my kids that they can do anything if they put their minds to it and do the work. I also teach them that life isn’t always fair, but you can’t let that deter you. I think we all try to teach our kids the value of grit and hard work. For most people, success is about perseverance and overcoming obstacles.