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Do You Lead (2%) or Follow (98%)?


Aug 26, 2007
Last I heard SSI stats indicated that 98% of the population at age 65 is basically "dead or dead broke". Considering this, following the masses is not the best idea.

What do the masses do? Work hard (long hours) for their retirement, work jobs, spend more than they make, I'm sure we could really come up with a list if we put our heads together.

What do the 2% do? Find out what everyone else is doing and do the opposite!

So, let this thread be about sharing an experience where you made the choice to follow or not to follow the masses and what the result has been, even if it was a failure, because your failure can not only be a learning tool for you, but for others.

My most recent choice was when I was laid off at the end of May this year. I chose to start my own business, which I am still working on, waiting for a contract to get moving, but I chose not to get another job. I have income doing some freelance work and for now it is enough to pay the bills.

I have faced incredible reactions from people, because every one is concerned about "are you getting a job" and when I answer no, they seem startled.

What this has done for me so far is to help change my thinking, and I have had much more time to do what I need to for the business to get it started and also just to have time. I feel more confident having lived on an unknown amount of income each month than before I lost my job.

Time will tell what happens with the business, but it wouldn't really even be an option now if I hadn't lost my job and made the choice toward the 2% road instead of the 98%.

How about you? Whether you chose one or the other, what has been your success or failure in choosing between the 2% and the 98%? Staying in the 98% or moving into the 2% is the result of ongoing decisions, so you can use one example or multiple if you like.
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Diane Kennedy

Bronze Contributor
Aug 31, 2007
Thanks for the reminder. People tend to not say anything to Richard or I about "not having a job" because it's obvious our path has been successful.

The place I hear it, and it bugs me still, is regarding our son David. He's 16 1/2 and not in school now. Most people make all kinds of assumptions about that right away. "He should be in High School!" "He can't get into college!" whatever....

Because we adopted him at a late date and because I didn't want him to have an ESL label immediately, I homeschooled him for a year to get his English up to speed. Plan was then to enroll him in school. But he didn't want to go - he liked homeschooling and wanted to then go to the Community College. We told him he had to have some kind of benchmark and figured he needed to pass a GED. Well, he did that just as he turned 16. So, now what?

He works roughly 4 hours/day in our family businesses - jobs are designed to both be helpful to the business plus teach some skill he needs. He also has a DJ business and owns two properties (we have to hold those in LLCs with Richard & I as managers, because of his age), but David is responsible for the properties.

Biggest of all for him, though, is the charity he started. He has already raised over $35,000 for it, created promotional material, given talks to over 650 people and is about finished with the website he designed. As far as studies - he's studying photography and website design.

He's also learning a 3rd language (German), mainly because he met a German model (thank goodness she lives in Germany).

Oh, he also has a modeling contract for "stock photography" to be shot this fall in Santa Fe. (Stock photography are the pictures that people pick up for brochures, websites, ads, that type of thing. He's good looking, athletic and brown - which sells big these days)

Yet, we get comments all the time from people who judge him right away based on the color of his skin and the fact that he's not in High School. They figure he's doomed to just mow lawns or be a janitor. It's hard to find the 2% who see the path he really is on.

Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
Napa Valley, CA
Great inspiration for us, Diane, as we love living in the Napa Valley, but I've been having a hard time dealing with the low educational standards in the public schools (and being a product of the public schools, I appreciate the broader socialization they gave me vs a private school).

So homeschooling has some appeal for us, but we also want our kids to meet/play with/befriend other kids their age (I've met some homeschooled kids who were, um . . . rather inbred. :p )

Kudos to David for passing his GED and working on community college credits.

Each day I gain more and more appreciation for what younger folks are doing w/the internet. Your post brought to mind a recent cartoon I enjoyed (see below).

At the RD get together this year, there were a few internet guys who were making huge amounts of money (6 figures?) with their work in second life ( )

-Russ H.


Aug 28, 2007
Yet, we get comments all the time from people who judge him right away based on the color of his skin and the fact that he's not in High School. They figure he's doomed to just mow lawns or be a janitor. It's hard to find the 2% who see the path he really is on.

People judge you not mater what you do. If you go to college and choose to work at something other than what you went to school for, "you are wasting your education". If you don’t go to college because you want to work with real estate or in some trade, "you are not living up to your potential". If you get married and have kids "you are not career oriented", if you don’t get married & have kids "you are to consumed with career to have a family". Those that judge others most likely don’t really know them or their reasons for doing anything.

Here are some great reasons ; my grandsons. LOL
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MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
Staff member
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Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
Several of my favorite "quotes" evolve from this thread.

The first being: "Dumb money shows up at the end of a boom cycle". In recent years, 2 examples are in the late 90's with the internet tech stocks and recently, the housing boom. In both examples, you witness "dumb money" and "everyone is doing it" showing up for the so-called easy money.

With tech stocks, you had boiler rooms setting up all across the country to trade. Teachers quit their jobs to trade. I remember my buddy who had a good sales job, quit his job to trade full time. He lost most of his life savings in the implosion and had to find another job.

With the housing boom, you had people buying condos and flipping them. "Newbie" investors bought up houses over-market with hopes of a quick flip, or a cash-flowing rental. People that never invested in Real Estate hopped aboard the bandwagon and rode the wave.

I remember when the housing boom was going full-steam ahead, I had a plumber come over to my house raving about all the $$ he made in real estate. When the plumber or the maid comes over to your house and raves about making profits in the latest industry boom cycle -- its a sign that dumb money has entered the fray and it is TIME TO EXIT.

Following the plumber's exclamation of great profits, I promptly sold all my REIT holdings. I was correct in my analysis as a few months later, the real estate implosion started.

Two key points to take from this:

1) Dumb money shows up at the end of a cycle. Always listen to what dumb money is doing because they tell you when to sell, or exit the cycle. Dumb money is defined as people who have no business being in the business that they are touting.

2) If "everyone" is doing it, everyone would be rich. Pretty much "everyone" is broke and two paychecks away from bankruptcy -- obviously, if "everyone is doing it" worked, these stats would not exist. When someone exclaims the opportunity of the century because "everyone is doing it" -- run the other way.

Leaders aren't doing what everyone is doing.


New Contributor
Sep 9, 2007
Wilmington NC
I'd like to think I followed and lead. I followed those who where successful, then I copied what they did and put my own spin on things. My various lenders didn't even understand what or why I was doing what I was doing, but they never stopped lending to me :D

You really can't blame the dumb money folks, they just want a piece too. It destroys markets (in time), but in the end, we make in fact without dumb money, we'd all pay retail!


Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
if you don’t get married & have kids "you are to consumed with career to have a family".

Yeah, I felt this full force.
It was tough to be struggling with the "failure" of infertility
and have people tell you that you're selfish for not having kids.
Felt like beating the "kind", "well meaning" folks into puddles.

You want to have people ask you what the f$$$ you're doing?
Try jumping off the corporate fast track
to spend summers writing.
That really messes people up.
Lost a few so called friends on that hairpin turn.

: )
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Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 12, 2007
south florida
Diane, take it from a guy who entered 9th grade when he moved to US - ESL in public schools is bullshit. Now, if the person has 0 idea what English even sounds like, fine. But if you studied it before or if you are young there is nothing better than just interacting with people and watching tv. Not learning "My name is Rawr, what is your name?"

American education is one of my biggest gripes about this great county. Kids from other places are kicking our asses. The things I am doing in my 400 level courses are BULLSHIT. I mean you know the classes are worthless when an entrepreneurship class is taught by a book and a teach with no experience. I got lucky this year (finally) and have two teachers who actually been there and done that. One started over 5 businesses (And almost sold one for 12mil) and the other one is using his etrade account to teach us finance. I also had two great business owners who volunteered to teach an entrepreneurship class and got paid $900 per semester - their parking tickets on campus were double that by the end of the year!! But that is 3 out of 30!!

So do what you think is right, but allow the kid to socialize and make sure he learns the slang. It took me a little while before I knew that "fat" and "phat" are actually different things.

/Sorry for a little rant.

Most of the people I am going to school with have no idea what they are going to do once they graduate, or they are applying for some menial jobs. I am trying to move against the flow, it is hard but it is fun, and there are plenty of people (like you guys here for example) to draw inspiration from.


Aug 28, 2007
Lost track of the original question: lead or follow:
Sometimes I lead when it is time to take control of a situation I lead.
Sometimes I follow, when I have the opportunity to learn from someone who is more knowledgeable than myself, I am a great soldier, I take orders well & complete tasks and learn from the experiance.:rolleyes:

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