Riddle: Why did Mr. Lee, a business owner of the millionaire next door variety, decide not to attend his high school’s 25th reunion?
Answer: Because he felt very uncomfortable at the 20th reunion!
At that reunion, Mr. Lee constantly had to explain how he, “Mr. Average” in high school, had become a major socioeconomic success. In fact, he chatted with the salutatorian who was currently employed as a deckhand on a tugboat. Many others who seemed destined to succeed based on their high school credentials had also fallen short of their expectations.
The results from my national surveys of the millionaire next door archtypes [business owners] are telling. I asked them, including Mr. Lee, how they thought their teachers would have evaluated them during their high school years: most likely to succeed, 17%; most popular, 9%; highest level of intelligence, 10%; most conscientious, 11%; hardest worker, 13%; highest grade point average, 7%; most ambitious, 12%; most persuasive, 19%, and most dependeable, 27%.
Today, they are “so average in appearance.” Often their considerable success is nearly invisible, i.e. living in modest homes, driving dull normal cars, etc. But even in high school most never stood out along a variety of the dimensions of senior superlatives. As mentioned in The Millionaire Mind, “success is 20% talent and 80% perseverance.”