I recently read this article about the increasing pay of the McDonald’s CEO. He now makes $21.8 million while many of McDonald’s employees live below the poverty line. The article goes on to describe his increasing pay, corporate pay ratios and generally illustrates the greed of American executives.

None of this is new. This isn’t a groundbreaking article. Executive salaries have been increasing at a faster rate for decades. The disparity between “Us” and “Them” is growing larger each day.

Are you Ok with that?

You may not be but how are your actions proving it? What are you doing to ensure you’re not just another victim of the system? Are you doing all that’s necessary to set yourself up for success? Are you in control of your destiny?

You don’t have to want millions of dollars. You don’t have to want the CEO position. But, if you are a well-balanced human being, you probably want safety, security, and the ability to prosper.

Do you think you’ll get that by leaving it up to someone else?

Do you entrust your future to companies and executives that have taken away pensions, benefits, and lay off workers to fit an earnings report?

It is time to take responsibility for your life. We were not born to be dependent on the 1%, government, or anyone else. This country was created so its citizens could create their own lives. We need to take back that ability.

Educate Yourself

Education does not stop after high-school or college. It continues every day. What are you feeding your mind? Is it gossip, sports, distraction, games, or the evening news? None of that will help you. We need to consistently improve our inter-personal, professional, and other skills to progress forward.

If you are in a position in life that you don’t like, you have to teach yourself to find a better way. You need to learn new habits and ways of thinking. The only way to do that is self-education.

Read a book, find a mentor, or take a class. By educating yourself, you begin to take control of your life and the ultimate outcome. Build skills and create opportunity.

Find a Better Environment

Life is full of bad situations and relationships. We need to limit our exposure to negative environments as best we can. That includes our work environment.

Sometimes, it can be a bad friend, co-worker, or family member. Other times a bad boss. Worst of all, a bad company.

A company with a toxic culture is dangerous to you. It saps your vitality today while most likely providing no future security.

If you work for a bad company, leave. Send out your resume, take an interview once a month, or maybe you just need to quit. How bad your work environment determines your next step.

No matter what, begin your search for a better environment with a positive culture and opportunity for growth. A significant portion of your life will be spent at your workplace. Don’t allow it to be a negative influence on the rest.

Become An Asset

In the right environment, there will be opportunities to grow and achieve. If you are educating yourself with knowledge and skills that help you become a better employee, a company with a good culture will reward you for it.

In a bad company, effort goes unnoticed and achievement is unrewarded. There is little incentive to do any more than is required to keep your job.

However, you must develop the mindset that you can become an indispensable asset. Do more than your pay justifies and, in the right environment, you will be rewarded.

You are your own business. No business is successful for long when they provide little value in exchange for payment. They need to provide more value than the price tag. That goes for you too. When that happens, you become successful.

Be Patient

Results take time. For a long time, your work may seem to bear no fruit. It will come. It has to. You can will it to.

You have to be tenacious at times but most of the time you just need to be consistent. Continue to work hard, focus on self-improvement, and avoid distractions.

The process can seem grueling at times but nobody changes their place in life without effort. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and we would all still be average.

Take Control Of Your Destiny

Most people do not gain success by dumb luck. Sure there are people born into riches and good fortune. Over time, maybe even generations, complacency will catch up with them. Success is earned and every day we need to ask, “Did I do something to gain success today?”

We all need to take responsibility for our lives and stop leaving it to the whims of company executives that, in their actions, show they don’t care about their employees. Do not wait for government intervention. Do not wait for a change in leadership. Make changes in your life today.

You have the ability to improve your life. It begins with the decision to make a change. A great place to start is by purchasing a book. Commit to reading it for 30 minutes a day. Open your eyes to new possibilities and become who you want to become. Take control of your destiny and the direction of your life.