There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see ‘money-growing’ opportunities being stifled by individuals getting in their own way — either knowingly or unknowingly.
The latter — hidden under a thick, dark cloud of limiting beliefs and mediocre mind memes — is the most dangerous.
[[ WARNING: My slippery soapbox is back in action and about to rev up onto a road of raw realism and self-accountable thinking. I promise, however, you’ll find some inspiration and actionable ideas along the way. ]]
Right now, two of the biggest delusional memes attempting to work their way into being accepted as social norm are:
“I’m not responsible” (for my plight, challenges, failures, setbacks, feelings, etc.)
“You owe me!” (might as well just slap it with an ‘entitlement mentality’ label).
The most self-reliant of our M4 Insider members (that’s a lot, thank goodness) will instantly see how the above memes go hand-in-hand. They’re like twin cousins, each closely modeling the other’s unrewarding behavior and odd ways of unconsciously viewing their place in the world.
Last week, sometime around 3pm, my stomach finally jolted me out of my work trance. You may relate. You get so immersed into work — the reading, the to-dos, the calls, the writing — that next thing you know, four hours have gone by without eating.
So, I scatter my way out the door, jump in the Buick (heh, don’t ask), and crank up the tunes for a quick ride up the road to my favorite Mom ‘n Pop restaurant.
Just as I hear Aerosmith’s Janie’s Got A Gun get ready to ramp up, I see the biggest, most head-shaking, irony of the day:
A truck with an Obama sticker (still) on the left side of the bumper, and on the right side, “Corporations Are Greedy.”
Of course, those two things are like Robin Hood and his merry men; they certainly belong together.
The irony is this: The stickers were on a customized lift-truck — you know what I’m talking about? The truck itself, a new model, is probably worth $25K. Add in a $10k lift-kit conversion package and you’ve got one where the top of the tires are around four feet high (a 3-year-old could walk underneath and play with all the shiny suspension parts).
So, my first thought was:
“Okaaaaay, let’s get this straight, Bubba… you obviously work. And, the odds are you do it for a company (one that’s incorporated) — you know, a business enterprise that sells something.
Maybe, in your mind, unlike your ‘greedy’ generalization, your company isn’t greedy? Pleeeeaaasssse, you’re a driving irony of stupidity.”
Yeaaah, so I was a little peeved…
Maybe it was because I still hear rumblings (in cafes, dinners, bars, etc) about Wall-Street and how it sucks. It brings back shock ‘n awe memories of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests that poured over the news wires in 2011.
Just a bunch of ‘unbusy,’ ‘non-productive,’ and ‘financially-challenged’ people rallying up against a false bogeyman (Wall Street, “the financial Gomorrah of America” as they called it) — the monster of a machine who provides capital to the very type of businesses that give them the i-Pads they’re carrying around, and the phones they’re using to say:
“Hey, hi Mom… look at me, I’m on TV acting like a clueless socialist hippie… anyway, the irony has escaped me… so, anyway, bye Mom.”
So, while two jobs (on average) are created per one Wall Street employee, compared to every government worker killing job creation (via multiple pensions) by 3 to 1, we had (still do) a bunch of so-called “modern thinkers” using their ‘unbusy’ time to hold up signs and chant “rich people are evil.”
And, while I won’t veer off here and let my prose go postal on how our current tax system is a joke (it punishes people for working hard, saving and investing), I will just ask the chanters who were on Wall Street a few simple questions:
>> Have you ever considered it’s up to you to be thrifty? Nobody forced you into buying a home you couldn’t afford, using your credit card to purchase discretionary items, or spending more time in front of the TV, submerging yourself in “Reality,” instead of engaging in true reality (you know, the real life version).
>> Has it ever crossed your mind that it’s up to you to figure out how to get rich? Nobody guaranteed you, when you spit out of your mommy’s womb, that life is fair; that you don’t have to take risks, or that everybody is guaranteed a job (hint: last time I checked, the constitution says: “LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT of Happiness.” PURSUIT, NOT RIGHT!!).
I was speaking to my friend Jay on Tuesday, and his dilemma is classic. Friends, neighbors, and good acquaintances rooted him on for years (an entire decade, to be precise) to find success with his passion. To teach people in the U.S. to repair their credit properly. He got all the seemingly genuine atta-boys in the world to “make it happen,” and “follow your dream.”
Well, it did happen… an overnight success that took 10 years, as his course made him close to a million in profits over 5 years. Yet while he was succeeding, those friends, neighbors, and good acquaintances suddenly quit hanging around; quit offering encouragement; quit feeling worthy of him.
Well, it’s sort of twisted, but still… the truth
The world loves an underdog. They run from overachievers.
“There’s something about an underdog that especially inspires the unexceptional.” — James Spader’s character on The Office
The Crowd can’t relate to success, to upward momentum, to skyrocketing achievement.
Instead of employing individual creativity, problem-solving, and failing/succeeding with ideas… then rinsing and repeating some more, until something of value is produced… The Crowd would rather stand by, passively watch, or cheer on somebody else in the game.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Even some people who are not fearful of success can be self-reliant and ambitious. In 2010, a somewhat down-on-his-luck, church-going boy (note: he just wanted to help his grandparents out. Ah, just a nice lad. An underdog with heart) who America’s Got Talent.
By a long-shot, he wasn’t the best competitor, but ummm, he had it won before he first set foot on the stage. As my wise-cracking ex partner-in-fun pointed at at the time:
“He’s what America loves… ’cause, they resonate with him.”
There’s more to say about that too, of course… yet, in the end, I wonder if America will ever again appreciate, adore, and vote for outside-the-box creativity, extreme hard work, radical ingenuity, and personal responsibility.
Holding my breath for a grander consciousness there…
However, for those around you — your friends, loved ones, family — please just be sure to remind them that they CAN imagine and have the life they truly want.
First, the most meaningful aspects of life (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.) for Americans are better than they were in past decades (the whole bell curve has shifted right).
Second, once they understand the merit of getting their minds away from fear-driven media and looking past the obstacles (i.e. the license requirements, the education requirements, the legal requirements, the incredibly stupid actions of some government leaders), they can start to ENVISION themselves as being a prime mover of some new idea that will add value to people.
To end this somewhat ornery missive, there are three blog post I encourage you to read (maybe to lighten the mood; eh, but not really):
#1: Here, Seth Godin talks about how to bridge your own wealth gap by letting go of how you think you should be working, learning new skills, and adapting to how the world has changed.
#2: Here, James Altucher tells you why everything is your own damn fault anyway.
#3: Here, Tim Ferris introduces you to a guy who will tell you how to build a million dollar business over the weekend. Yup, you read right… step, by step.