Counting Coins is not a political website. We specialise in sharing advice and tips about everything relating to personal finance and living life on a budget. Occasionally, however, we have to touch on political issues, seeing as politics impacts the economy and the economy impacts our pockets.

Since our main focus is to inform people about things that might influence their money or their financial mindsets, we very seldom (if ever) voice our opinion about any specific political figure, party or movement. The only political conviction we will always be vocal about is the fact that Counting Coins supports the ideals of an equal and fair society, free of any kind of discrimination.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to the point of this article. In recent months, a portion of the American public and their president-elect, Donald Trump, has started a movement that discredit the opinions of rich and famous celebrities based on the premise that, well, they are rich.

Since the arts, and Hollywood in particular, have always leaned more liberal, it makes sense that Trump and his supporters would want to silence the opinions of these influential figures. And what better way to do this than to shout from the Twittersphere that these celebs are rich privileged people living in a bubble, who are completely out of touch with the needs of the everyday Joe? They even have a new nickname for this group of wealthy individuals: “the liberal-elite”.

So what does this have to do with money? Well, nothing. It does, however, have a lot to do about how you think about money and your perception of success.

In 1931, historian James Truslow Adams wrote in his book, The Epic of America, about “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. Adams was referring to the concept we know today as the American Dream. Adams was neither the first nor the last to talk about and refine the concept of the American Dream. In fact, in America’s Declaration of Independence it refers to the American Dream, by proclaiming that everyone has the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

Over the years the American Dream has changed in substance and extend, but the core concept has remained constant – the believe that anything is possible if you really want it and if you have the willingness to work for what you want.

It is such a popular ideal, that the American Dream has become a global one. We might have different names for it, but the vision remains universal – reach for the stars, work hard, believe in yourself, anything is possible… you get the idea.

If Trump and his supporters, however, are to be believed in this specific instance, then pursuing happiness and striving for the American Dream is fine – as long you don’t actually achieve it. In that case, you risk becoming a bubble-occupying, out-of-touch elitist who should check your privilege by not raising your opinion.

We know by now that the clichés mentioned above are much rosier than reality. We cannot dispute the fact that hard work and motivation does not always lead to success. There is a famous meme on the internet showing a lady fetching water, with a caption that reads “if hard work leads to wealth, then all the women in Africa should be wealthy”.

We also know that years of unequal distribution of wealth, unfair and cruel political systems, wars, and other tragedies, have made it almost impossible for generations of marginalised communities to work their way out of poverty. We’ve even wrote an article about population growth impacting the chances of success for millennials.

We should, however, never ever stop believing that it is possible to reach further than you ever thought possible. We should never ever doubt the abilities of the human spirit. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”.

That is exactly what the American Dream gave the world, hope.

Are the people filling the seats at the Golden Globes privileged? Of course they are! Did some of them get their tickets because of an unfair society? Definitely! Are plenty of them just people like us who pursued happiness and ended up succeeding? Without a doubt!

The point is this:

The entertainment industry, more than any other, has given us countless rags to riches fairy tales. From rap artists making their way from the streets to international stages, to the latest craze of “everyday people” becoming superstars on YouTube. Hollywood is littered with examples of people who managed to break free from the chains of poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction and any of the other bad hands life often deals.

Sure, be mad at the unfair world we live in, but don’t allow the recent wave of popular opinion to take away the glamour of hard-earned, honest success.

The celebs in the image below might live in extremely cosy bubbles today, but the bubbles they come from were anything but luxurious. Their stories, like those of so many other artistic role models, give us the hope that anything is possible. Let that continue to inspire you on your own path to success.

Rags to riches


About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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