Tonight, I had a short conversation with a 70 year-old millionaire that I met at a bus stop (ironic, but you’d be surprised how many of them do take the bus) coming from a very productive Spoke N’ Heard meeting. It was bitter cold and I was trying not to freeze while waiting for the next bus. He engaged in conversation with me regarding whether I knew how long the bus would take, how cold it was and how different the bus system is in Hamilton. I asked him “How long have you been in Toronto?” which unexpectedly opened up an unrequited rabbit hole into his life.

I learn that he’s been back in forth in Toronto and Ottawa for a long time now and that he has a house in Ottawa, Toronto and the Turks and Caicos. I learned that he was a part of a party that went down to the Turks and Caicos in the 70’s, to propose an economic union to Canada, which is still being pushed today. He told me how these islands are not even really tourist destination anymore, that people, especially Canadians, are now just buying homes, living down there and conducting business (travelling back and forth), which has drastically shifted the country’s economy. “What’s the point of buying a cottage in Wasaga when you can go buy a house in the Turks and Caicos for the same price?”, he states casually. Our bus finally arrived and as we were getting ready to board he dropped a gem:

“You have to have guts to do what I do, I’ve never had a job a day in my life, yet I knew I’d always be fine”.

I agreed and told him I was trying to do just that, but it really made me think. This idea we’ve grown up with, that going to school, getting an education/degree and then getting a job was the basis of life, is an idea that’s been pounded in our head by parents, teachers, and community from when we were little children growing up til now. This is the idea, we were made to believe, that makes society and economy work and makes the world go round. However, in the homes of the wealthy, elite “upper class” a completely different mindset prevails and is passed down to generations. This mindset says, you don’t need a job ever, whatever you want go and get it, make it happen, create, innovate and build your wealth.

Hence, there is raised a generation of, well entrepreneurs isn’t even accurate. When someone says the word “entrepreneur”, we see a modern day hustler working hard to get for themself. A “self-employed”, one-person team… and that is a part of the process, but it’s only Step 1. They raise a generation of CEO’s, who build their companies (yes, multiple) from the ground up and become millionaires! And they don’t stop! Yes they have enough money to retire and spend their days soaking up the Caribbean sun and breeze, but they don’t stop there. WHY is this 70 year-old man taking a bus from a meeting in bitter cold, winterized Toronto? He’s HUSTLING, peeping the next investment, attaining the next asset, building relations with the next client, these people do not know what it means to “arrive”. Well maybe they do, but it doesn’t mean “sit back and enjoy what I’ve created for myself” to them. It’s always on to the next.

So this millionaire mindset, what can we take from it?

“Whose world is this? The world is YOURS, the world is YOURS. It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine. Whose world is this?” - Nas

It really makes me question my attitude when it comes to attaining my dreams. There’s so much red-tape built up in my mind. I have to go through this avenue, take these steps, make these connections and build my way up. When that’s not even the case. Everything is ripe for the picking and it takes a strategic calculated mind yes, but one who’s also opportunistic and goes for what they want instead of sitting around weighing how realistic it is. The millionaire doesn’t know what it means to be beat and doesn’t know what it means to arrive. They are in a constant state of seeing what they want and achieving it.

Now imagine if those in our village, our community, who are actually out to do the world some good, could adapt this mindset and make their dreams a reality. Imagine how much good we could do to this world. This wake up call is for you too. How have you been moving, what choices are you making, what attitude do you have towards getting your dreams and achieving your goals? Stop being a pawn in a system that feeds the “sub-culture” or “working class” these messages that are designed keep us right where we are.

You want this? You really want this? Go get it. period.

comments (4)

  • Reesee


  • Kendra

    Its easy to read but it all feels so difficult and overwhelming to do.

  • Cass

    I wonder though, if his social privilege contributed to the ease of his accumulation of wealth.
    To go out and get it is not so simple when there’s not only red tape on the doors in your mind
    but theres duck tape on the doors of certain institutions.
    Yes the world is yours for the taking
    But for some its easier to take than others.

  • Duane Hall

    Thank you everyone for your beautiful comments!

    Kendra and Cass, I totally agree that it’s easier said than done. As a person of colour I’m well aware of the privilege that white individuals have and the barriers set against us. However, I would also argue that while we can’t control the external factors that block our success, we need to be exceedingly aware of the inner factors and thought patterns that are still keeping us down. When it comes to the narratives we tell ourselves in relation to our success, we need to genuinely ask ourselves which narrative is most likely going to put us in the frame of mind to more closely achieve our objectives? Will we continue to hesitate as we tell ourselves of all the barriers that are out there for people like ourselves? Or will we start mobilizing our efforts knowing that we are more than capable, discerning and all that is needed to make our dreams a reality. The red tape in our minds needs to be our primary concern, because those are the doors, that given the right effort, we can most assuredly open. A free mind can make the impossible come true.

    Thank you for your brilliant minds, vulnerability and open-mindedness in engaging this very necessary discussion.


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