I doubt many people want to live in poverty. I suspect most people would like the lifestyle of America’s “wealthy” families. But are they willing to pay the price?
Rising above the middle takes effort, sacrifice and hard work. Think of it this way. When I was in school I would have liked to get straight As, but the people who did were usually labeled nerd or something like it, they carried a book bag, they usually participated in numerous clubs and they worked their tails off. Consciously or not I decided a C was ok, after all, it was average was it not?
Somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t want to be average anymore, it may have been after my first stint in the army, being average there was not so great. In any case, from that point on my career and its rewards were not average. Today my lifestyle is not average, I hate even thinking of being average.
On the flip side are decades of working twelve hour days, occasionally not even coming home, a few missed anniversaries, of never taking a vacation that did not include some work, of bringing work home, of starting a side business that required some work seven days a week and into the wee hours of the night. Was it worth it? I like to think so, but that doesn’t make it right or feasible for everyone.
Most people are in the middle because they have made choices, some intentional and some not. Perhaps they like to work with their hands or not confined to an office, maybe they just like the kind of work they do or where they live. Perhaps volunteering is more rewarding than working OT. Maybe they shy away from more responsibility or stress at work. Perhaps being with family is their top priority. Maybe they shun risk. There is nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, it is perfectly normal and in many cases desirable.
However, there is a price to pay. That price is some of the material rewards of not being average or in today’s political jargon; inequality. Being average also places you at greater risk from change in the economic world, you are less in control, you have fewer options.
In the final analysis, you have made decisions and set priorities, nobody has taken opportunity from you. You may even be happier and get more satisfaction from life than those who you are told to envy.
The great middle-class is and always will be the majority of Americans because the majority of any population is average. Does this make them less important? Certainly not! Quite the opposite in fact; nothing good happens in any society without the middle-class. The middle-class is the doers for the thinkers and dreamers.
Don’t fall into the populist trap of victimization and entitlement. The more you accept those ideas, the less control you will have, the less of a chance you will have to advance if that is your goal. Don’t lose the immense satisfaction that goes with ones accomplishments.