In Hans Christian Anderersen’s classic, The Ugly Duckling, a swan is born into a family of ducks. He is perceived by the other ducks on the farm as an ugly duckling. They tease and belittle the ugly duckling relentlessly. Because he is made to feel like he does not fit in, he runs away from the farm. While sitting alongside another pond, he encounters a group of elegant white birds and, after a long, cold and lonely winter, the isolated ugly duckling, now fully grown, gains the courage to swim out to the group of elegant white birds, hoping they will not shun him. To his great surprise they allow him to swim along with them, welcoming him into their flock.
After many days of swimming along with his newfound friends, he happens to catch a glimpse of his reflection in the water and realizes that he wasn’t a duck after all – he had grown to be a beautiful swan.
Many people see themselves as “Ugly Ducklings”, having been born into either poverty or the lower middle-class. As adults, they forge a negative mental outlook around money and wealth – they become envious and resentful of the beautiful swans – the wealthy. And, because of this “Ugly Duckling Syndrome”, they are never able to rise up and overcome their Poverty Mindset.
You can allow the circumstances you were born into control your life. Or, you can devote your life to changing your life circumstances. You can seek out others who make you feel good about yourself, who lift you up and help you believe you can become more in life.
I’ve seen it in the stories of the hundreds of the poor, “Ugly Ducklings” in my Rich Habits Study who went on to become self-made millionaires. These individuals, born and raised in poverty, were somehow able to find other Swans who made them feel good about themselves and helped them see their Inner Swan.
Do not accept your circumstances in life. Take control of your life. Seek to be exceptional. Never stop growing, learning and improving. Surround yourself with other success-minded people, other swans. Inside each one of us is a beautiful swan waiting to burst forth.
Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, “Effort-Less Wealth”, “Change Your Habits Change Your Life”, “Rich Habits Poor Habits” and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”