Everything has gone up but wages. They have been stagnant or actually dropped during that period.
So sombody today has to work much harder to acheive the goals you speak of than they did in say 1970.
Jobs were much more secure then too. Most people worked one job their whole lives, with the expectation that if they performed their jobs they would be secure. Now its dog eat dog, no security.
And a LOT of people aren't equipped at birth to "compete" in todays economy. Never going to be a business owner. Never going to be a programmer or other high tech profession, regardless of how hard they try.
Pointing at successful outliers is still pointing at outliers. Many COULD succeed as you posit. But i do not believe this is even possible for the majority, much less "everybody". Saying some people still manage to succeed does NOT mean "anybody" can do it.
Hell, the idea of doing ANYTHING every day for years on end sounds like Hell to me. Its not in my nature. As soon as i get something "down" i lose all interest in it. I have a ridiculously large skillset, making me useful first day at every job i've worked. But i've never found one that would interest me forever.
LSS, the game has changed so significantly that "conventional wisdom" platitudes simply no longer apply.