[Previous Post: Part 1- An Introduction]
Today – Part 2: Another American Idol
There was a time when I could hardly watch late night TV without seeing an ad for a “no money down” get-rich-now real estate investment course. Most of the time, the commercial featured a fairly nerd-ly looking guy driving expensive cars and relaxing in expensive homes, all the while surrounded by thin young women in varying states of undress.
The message that was conveyed by those commercials was fairly obvious:
1. There is a “secret” to being successful – that is, to making untold gobs of money;
2. If you know the secret, you can own and/or drive just about anything you want; and
3. Chicks dig successful guys, even if they look like total dorks.
All of those things are, of course, way over the top, which makes them easy to mock. But they betray a powerful idolatry that is deeply ingrained in our culture.
I’ve had more than one conversation about the “secrets” of business success during my day. Usually, the subject of the conversation is some guy who has set up multiple businesses over time and who is obviously making lots of money. More often than not, the participants in the conversation end up speaking about about the successful entrepreneur using the same awe-struck tone that guys normally reserve for NFL hall of famers. Wow, he sure knows how to make money! we say.
Sometimes, it seems relatively harmless – just passing talk. But occasionally, I get the uneasy feeling that – at some point during the conversation – we started to worship at the altar of the American Dream, starstruck by the golden boy who knows the elusive “secret” of making money hand over fist.
So I begin this series with a question – Is there a religion of success in our culture? And if there is, have you ever suspected that you are present among some of its worshippers? Have you ever been one of its worshippers? And why is success so alluring to some/most/all of us? Is it just the money? Or is it also the power? The sex? The status? Some primal need to be the “top dog”?