Following a recent book presentation to students and professors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Bill Danko offered a question and answer session. A transcript follows.
What is expected of an 18- to 22-year-old now vs. 30 years ago?
The need to achieve on your own. Recently, Barron’s cover story was about parents who subsidize adult “children” with their lifestyle. In many cases, parents have become enablers of deferred emancipation. Not a good thing!
What societal changes have occurred?
A demand for immediate gratification- consider all of the quick response tech apps. Oh, and everyone is perfect- a trophy for all participants in most events. Delayed gratification seems to have evaporated over the years.
How have behaviors changed from 30 years ago?
Having studied consumer behavior and sociology, I know that human nature does not change. If one has no guidelines or guiderails, chaos prevails. We are in a boundless (liberated?) environment. Seems good, until you see the results! Everyone is capable of acting recklessly (greed, sex, sociopathic behavior, etc.!). Constraints passed down by family (and civilization) are in danger of adverse change.
Society says that a kid has to go to college to be successful, but most of my rich friends are trades-people. What do you think?
Trade Schools are a perfect fit for many and clearly can lead to financial success. Attending a college is not a guarantee for success.
How does religion fit in? Can other things bring societal norms of the past back?
This is a huge question. The importance of metanoia is an internal construct. Even calling it a construct seems to trivialize it. Our research shows that satisfied and dissatisfied people belong to a religion. However, the satisfied are at peace with their soul and not anxious about the future. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could build a culture based on the Serenity Prayer? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
What is your most firm belief in life when it comes to business?
Do the right thing based on a well-informed conscience.
How would you classify experience and is it necessary to become successful?
The key is FOCUS. For meaningful experience put yourself in a position for being known as one who adds value. Value = Benefits/Costs. Make sure that the ratio is >1.
What are the factors in one’s life that are most positively correlated with happiness?
Be a giver. Don’t be a taker.
Is happiness a choice?
Yes. To quote Edith Donohue, “What I have discovered is that happiness is entirely up to me. Others in my life can add to or diminish my happiness somewhat. But the key to knowing and living happiness is to accept that happiness is my choice alone. And I choose it every time. Lucky me!”
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New York Times bestselling author William D. Danko and Richard J. Van Ness, wrote the research-based book, “Richer Than A Millionaire ~ A Pathway to True Prosperity,” which shows the way to wealth and happiness through embracing traditional values. Washington Post’s Michelle Singletary selected this book as, The Color of Money Book of the Month. The $8 billion Vanguard Charitable fund website features our book.