Check Your Premise
By Randy Gage in Critical Thinking, Success, Prosperity.
If you ask the wrong question – the answer doesn’t matter.
Or is actually dangerous. Just reflect on that a sec. Because there are so many crazy, negative mind viruses circulating in the world today. And when you get infected by them, they distort your thinking and cause you to ask the wrong questions. Or as my good buddy Bob Burg likes to say frequently, check your premise.
This issue became very apparent with a post I made on my FB fan page last night. Here’s what I wrote:
There are so many mind viruses about poverty circulating the world today. And when you’re struggling, you’re very susceptible to them. You want to believe that being poor is somehow noble, spiritual, or virtuous.
But there is nothing inherently righteous about poverty…
It often causes people to lie, cheat, steal and even kill. (Just as money does.) There is nothing spiritual about poverty. Money itself is not inherently righteous either. But it gives you more opportunity to do righteous things!
So Debbie asked, “But seriously how many rich do righteous things with money?”
So let me ask you…
You could say that’s a fair question. But is it the right question to ask? Does it empower you or limit you? Is it really relevant to the point that being rich allows you the opportunity to do righteous things? Or is it a red herring that takes you off course, and reinforces a limiting belief that rich people are greedy, selfish and only help others if they’re getting a tax credit? It’s worth thinking about…
Ruth said, “Randy, poor people do not think their situation is noble. Maybe some religious Christian monks think so.”
Okay, let’s check the premise…
I would suggest that MILLIONS of poor people actually do believe it is noble to be poor. And the Christian church is just one of many institutions that perpetuate that limiting belief.
Ruth also adds, “Poverty exist, now days, because of a system that promotes exploitation of everything necessary in order to make profit, including human beings, animals and nature resources. The system tells you in many ways and forms that something is wrong with you, and if you will have this and that you will feel better, safer, prettier, and so on. As a matter of fact, we don’t really need that much in order to be happy and have a great interesting, contributing, creative and big life.
“Your brain has been washed since your birth and even before, with stuff called the American Dream. How many cars are enough for you? How many houses are enough? How many boats? Diamonds? The American Dream is a lie, so you will buy a lot of things that you don’t really need, however, someone is being exploited in order that you will have things that you don’t need.”
Where do I begin? There are enough premises here that if I believed in them all I would stick my head in the oven.
Let’s start with, “because of a system that promotes exploitation of everything necessary in order to make profit.” Is that really true? I believe it is in some cases. Some companies exploit things for an immediate profit. But do they survive long-term in the marketplace? Not usually. True prosperity is always a value-for-value exchange. The more value a company provides to its customers, the better they do.
Ruth is talking about the media viruses when she say we get programmed to want things to feel “better, safer, prettier, and so on.” I’d agree with that. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some of those things offered actually can make you better, safer and prettier, and as an individual, I want the freedom to do my own critical thinking and choices. But obviously Ruth is right that this is a factor and we need to be aware of it.
But want to hear how crazy dangerous this can get?
Yesterday, Israel passed a law making it illegal for advertisements to use models who are too skinny. Seriously. If their body fat percentage is too low, they don’t work. The government feels skinny models promote eating disorders, so they simply made it illegal to be a model and be skinny!
I thought the politicians in the U.S. were getting out of control, but this new law by the Israeli government is the most over-reaching craziness I’ve seen in a long time. Somebody asked the wrong question…
Let’s look at some of the other questions Ruth asked: “How many cars are enough for you? How many houses are enough? How many boats? Diamonds?”
Fair questions I guess. But are they the right questions? Are they serving us and taking us to more prosperous place, or pandering to limiting beliefs we have?
I like sports cars. And when I go out for dinner, I like to make sure my car matches my shoes. I like having homes in different spots in the world. Couldn’t care less for boats, since I get seasick. But I look fabulous in diamonds. So I can make the argument that having larger quantities of some of these things enhance and enrich my life, so therefor are prosperous.
So what’s the real reason for those questions?
I would suggest they are a reactive, knee-jerk reaction created by limiting beliefs. When someone asks, “how much is enough,” I believe it is a prejudicial question – designed to affirm that people who desire more of something are somehow greedy and uncaring. Obviously not consciously, but subconsciously.
Finally, I can’t let the last statement go unquestioned: She says,” The American Dream is a lie, so you will buy a lot of things that you don’t really need, however, someone is being exploited in order that you will have things that you don’t need.”
Let’s check the premise again…
First of all, I’m living the American Dream, and it is no lie to me. I was fortunate enough to be born in the only country ever founded on the principles of free enterprise and I have worked hard to realize the potential it offers me. I am blessed and grateful to live in a place where one really can achieve their dreams. I respect anyone else’s opinion if they believe the American dream is a lie. But I’m not buying that.
I buy lots of things I don’t need. I don’t “need” massages, Jimmy Buffet albums, or the hot new softball bat I just ordered. I buy them because I want them and they bring joy to my life. And if we check the premise, we’d have a hard time making the case that my masseuse, Jimmy Buffet or the bat company were exploited because I decided to purchase their wares. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite: Both parties prosperity was enriched, because we negotiated a fair exchange of value. And we haven’t even looked at the spin inherent in the question – that things we “want” and don’t “need” are somehow evil.
I respect anyone’s right to live as an ascetic and if that brings them happiness, I am happy for them. But that’s not my definition of happiness and I don’t want anyone trying to force it on me.
So what have we learned?
Well it’s pretty fascinating that from three short paragraphs I have taken five pages of type just to question the underlying premises of those statements. And that is a very important lesson in how accepting things as fact and operating your life by them can be very dangerous to your health, wellness and prosperity.
Tags: abundance, Critical Thinking, goals, manifesting prosperity, Online marketing, prosperity mindset, Success, success training, happiness, prosperity consciousness, self-development, Subliminal Programming, vision, organized religion, self-esteem, Bob Burg, Israel, Jimmy Buffet, philosophy
Randy is your premise that greed does not exist? Honestly, I think that You and Ruth have truth on your side. I also think that both of you may be wrong. Most of thet difficult lessons in life are a paradox. Two seemingly opposing forces that actually exist together, when handled in moderation.
Greed, can ruin a person's happiness and respect for themselves. Not loving oneself and taking care of oneself in the best way you can, will also cause unhappiness. Meaning wanting things you deserve and need will not make you greedy just self loving. But there is a line, and a person can cross it.
Greed is real, in my opinion. It is obsessively wanting something you don't need. It is placing something other than your own soul above something outside of yourself.
I think most of the seven deadly sins exist in paradox. Pride can be good, but it can also be bad. Pride in your self, your work, things you love is fine. Excessive pride and vanity is not.
In my opinion a mind virus is anytime we misuse phrases or bits of wisdom to fit our own agenda. While I loved many of the lessons Ayn Rand taught, I think she lied to herself quite a bit. I think she was bitter and unforgiving of those who did her a terrible wrong. She then misused common wisdom and truth to fit an agenda that eased her desire for revenge, and attention.
Randy, I think you do well because like Ayn Rand you teach some very valuable lessons, and to top it off you are entertaining and motivating. However, I think it could be greed and a desire to defend it that causes you to be defensive out poverty and unrealistic about it as well. Prosperity is infinite, that is unprovable, yet you sell, and I do mean SELL that notion to people. You profit from something that I believe is a lie. You also profit telling people that poor people are sinners. That is wrong many poor people do not choose to be poor, any more than homosexuals, yet you defend them. Not, that I am saying you shouldn't I think you should, but you should poor people as well.
Some poor people are sinners, and perhaps some poor people sin is that they are lazy. Maybe some don't love themselves as they should, or they think others are responsible for them. That is wrong, but it is not usually the reason for poverty.
I don't think remaining in a victim mode helps anyone, but to be honest and fair their are many victims out there suffering from conditions beyond their control. No matter what you say will take away that truth. So deny it if you must, but it will follow you in your subconscious, because your subconscious knows it is true.
These so called mind viruses begin with a universal truth, but sometimes end in lies to benefit our self-esteem. Yes, if you are poor because you are lazy or irresponsible you are not being noble. But, if you choose do work that makes you happy even when you could potentially earn more you are noble of spirit and poor. One you have hurt your soul the other you have enhanced it.
Truth is truth rough hew the edges how you may, it is what it is. I think I borrowed from Shakespeare, but I am not sure. :)
yeah, i read the FB coments..... first thing to came up to my mind was ....... MIIND VIRUSES DETECTED!!! haha Thanks Randy!
It's nice to have nice things, but if something happens you can't control and you lose them, then it is sad if having nice things is the only thing you live for. It's also pretty shallow. There is much more to life than having nice things, but nothing wrong with having them too. Nobody can "make" you feel guilty without your permission, to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt and changing some words.
I work for Keller Williams Realty, and we go by the Millionaire Real Estate Agent book, which teaches the concept that you need to have a "Big Why" that is more than about just money. Most people can achieve wealth by applying the concepts in the book, but once you're there and you have money, there's got to be something else that makes you get up in the morning - you just have to search your soul and figure out what that "Big Why" is. ~Lynda
I think her idea of exploitation comes from the myriad stories of child labor abuse in countries where a lot of the things we buy here in the US are manufactured. Of course no thinking person condones that abuse, but unless she is growing her own food and making her own clothes out of banana leaves, then what she purchases undoubtedly supports someone directly or indirectly, from the farmer to the company that makes his tools, to the vet who cares for his stock to the trucker who transports his goods to the shopkeeper who sells her the bananas. There may be abuse at any level but there is always someone who benefits. The entire global economy is too interwoven at every phase to change with a few well-meaning but misguided boycotts.
Randy , you are right about the mind viruses , there are too many around, the programming is being carried out but how many are awakening to their surroundings and really want to make the change. As in the Matrix, someone has to reach out to you and offer you the choice of the blue or red pill. I found my path and have begun to understand my journey and am enjoying it. You are absolutely correct , there is nothing wrong with being rich, as the Christian Book teaches, to sow our treasures, cheers
I always challenge the ones who have limited income to become wealthy so that they can show us the way since we don't already know. The truth is you can't make presumptions about people who have lots of money until you become one of them.
I am sure their personal attitude towards money and people who have it would shift once they raised themselves up to a prosperous and abundant lifestyle.
Completely Agree Randy! We many times just need to understand that things only have the meaning we just to it. When we see that things only have the meaning we give to it. Then we see that we can attain to anything, we just need to be able to know what we want. You by far have changed my life the most, thank you!
I'll never understand why diamond jewelry is perceived to be valuable. The diamond companies did a good job of convincing many people that this shiny and reflective object is worth money. In Capitalism, I have seen exploitation of workers ( not paying a decent wage and offering poor working conditions ) and I have seen companies offer a very generous wage to and great working conditions to line workers - non union at that. How many cars are enough? I would say about 5. I have 4 and looking to buy a new mustang, then I'll have 5.
I am so well pleased with you Randy. So many of the comments are so truthfull and righteous. I hope you are seeing what happens when you come from righteousness. The grace is being poured on you. No boasting. Give the glory to God. He, no doubt, has mighty plans for you if you stay on the straight path. " All the glory be to God, lest no man should boast. It is so beautiful to hear people connecting in a positive way and becoming aware that poverty and lack is not our natura state and the more wisdom and knowledge we receive from the bible, the more the grace pores on to push us through our challenges and beat that bad boy devil into submission.
You sound like the Dr. Hugh Akston, and I like it!! Since I am reading Atlas Shrugged (because your recommendation), I am challenging a lot of hard and deeper belief And you know, when you fait with olds belief, its usually becomes hard ..... But I am starting to understand thats rich is not happiness, but poor too!!
Thanks for invite to me to grow, my Obi Wan!!
Randy I agree entirely with you. Wherever did the notion that it is noble to be poor come from? And the question "how many rich do righteous things with their money?" Well - we will never know - but its a certain fact that the answer to that question for poor people would be ZERO. My husband tragically passed away in a car accident many years ago when my daughter was a baby and I received a sizeable sum as an insurance payout. Of course this in no way compensated for the loss of my beloved husband. It did however make my misery a whole lot more comfortable! Mind viruses are insidious - just like a cancer they grow internally and change the life you could have into the life you feel you deserve. Randy - your book - Why you are Dumb Sick & Broke etc. hits the nail on the head. For anyone who hasn't read it - get it, read it and keep reading it.
Randy estoy muy de acuerdo contigo. En lo que no estoy de acuerdo es cuando dices que la iglesia cristiana es la que promueve que la pobreza es una virtud eso es en alguna iglesias tanto catolicas como cristianas .Ya que Dio quiere que seamos felices en esta tierra y no creo por nada en absoluto que una persona sea feliz cuando no tiene con que cubrir las necesidades basicas del ser humano.Ya que DIOS AMA A LOS POBRES Y DETESTA LA POBREZA.
Yes, Mr. Gage, I was just making that revelation, myself. I am glad to see I'm not alone and that I am on the same track or thought pattern as you. Now I really know I'm on the right track!
Awesome rant RG! I've been working on my subconcious flushing out bad memes and limiting beliefs. I think you're right on point a lot of people don't realize that everything is in play to affect their way of thngking (environment,circumstances,media sphere) but in another conversation, does genetics play a part?
When did success become a dirty word? What would life be like if the only things we ever bought were things we NEEDED? What incentive would there be to being more productive if we were only going to buy the things we NEED? It seems to me that the Communist philosophy was "from each according to his ability TO each according to his needs." Is that what Ruth was suggesting? The American Dream is what keeps most of us striving to improve ourselves, our production, and our service to our fellow humans. I sometimes play the lottery, and if I should ever overcome the odds and win a huge sum of money, there are many things I would do with the cash. Most of those things would be to give myself and my family a "better" life, but a large chunk would go to the betterment of people in need; strangers who suffer from natural disasters, and or funds to support the families of those who gave their lives to ensure our freedoms, etc. I can't do that if I'm poor, so as long as there is breath in my body, I will continue to chase (and embrace) the American Dream. Keep on "preachin'", brother!
How much is too much? Well, I think it's a personal decision one has to make; and it won't be the same answer for every individual. Now, on the flip side of that coin, those that "don't want much" shouldn't cast judgement on those that do. I also believe that money changes nothing about an individual; it only enhances what's already there. I know what I like right now, right this moment. When I achieve my wealth, I know that I will more than likely get more of it. Those things won't make me or define me; but it will make me pleased that I don't have to count change, and define that I am able to make those kind of purchases. I find the human mindset fascinating, @Randy_Gage! And I'm so glad that I came across your site, and that it continues to assist me in challenging my own beliefs and mindsets. Loving the discussions here! Thanks for sharing mate!
This was a great post. I think we live in the greatest country in the world. It has been my experience that I would be more likely to get help from someone rich than poor. That is because most rich people succeeded by working together with other people. Most poor people feel they are owed something and everyone for themselves.
I also think wealthy people take responsibility for themselves and say enough is enough. Not to houses or cars, but excuses. A perfect example of this is how a whole nation thinks. When Haiti had an earthquake the whole world flocked to help. The place is still a mess and I understand a lot of the food doesn't get distributed. When Chile had their earthquake which was a stronger earthquake than Haiti they requested nor required a large amount of help. They took responsibility. No you might say they are proud. Well yes but not stupid
When they had the horrible mining accident they accepted our help as we had the technology. Their government is not rife with corruption. So yes you have to ask the right question, but first you have to have the right mindset to ask it.
One can easily say that you are a little provocative, but I like the world needs someone who speaks the truth.
How much money is enough? I suppose that the more money I get the more expenses i also creates.
So how much money is enough can only be answered according to what I need to be compleat at the moment.
I could for shure live in a castle but do I need to own a castle ? - No.
I am very pleased with the golfclubs I have customfitted but I can only carry 13 plus a putter at one time. Often I put lesser than that in my bag. In the mean time I could have some extra clubs back in my closet to change with according to the conditions I will play under. And that can be so variuos so 13 or 26 or 39 more will be enough.
But do remember that " Diamonds makes a real man " .
Can't speak for the Ruth you mention but definitely for this one. The view from here: While there are terribly greedy, powerful rich people out there who make it seem like being rich is the problem, the problem is in the soul and if the folks who are rich and exploitative and greedy and and and were poor, they'd find another way to be destructive and we could say the poor are therefore bad etc. I look at the mortgage disaster and the fraud many big-hitters are not being called to account for and could then say the problem is wealth/prosperity fixation etc. But that doesn't hold water, no solid thorough logic in that. The problem is a lack of vision, lack of real self-love, of personal purpose beyond what the media suggests is best, beyond what the uber-thin model suggests is attractive, beyond all the hype (even!) about prosperity. I personally feel it's pretty darn difficult to develop a sense of self beyond the role of consumer. And we/America desperately needs that. If there's anything I can resonate to with the other Ruth's message, it's that one. But you're right on, Randy. We cannot do as much for others or for ourselves if we're in poverty. And yet. The truth is, if we have it in our hearts to be generous, we're going to be generous, poor or not. Seems to me the most important thing is the inner wealth of self-love overflowing into love for humanity, overflowing into all the fields of expression one life can be. And to limit ourselves based on any faulty premise is tragic. Love your thought-provoking passion...
This is fabulous Randy I would agree that it is a very scary thought to contemplate the level of control, we are exposed to, in the great USA. Laws are passed to make something acceptable. Many of the laws passed in this country over the last few decades have been all about making unacceptable or I would prefer un righteous behavior acceptable. I also agree that religion has taken on so many shapes and sizes, to accomodate allowing acceptance for unbiblical beliefs. As far as the virus's are concerned. A virus, is a disease, dis-ease. When we are born again, and only if we are born again and have received the holy spirit through belief in Christ Jesus, can we experience ease or peace. We are now righteous and no longer under the law of condemnation, so it holds true that our nature, would react with discomfort. The devil is real. The devil is virus and sickness and lack and poverty and fornication and ediction. He plays with our mind. It's the only power he has and we choose to give him the power if we go against our nature, which is of God, and decide to sin. Adultry doesn't start with the act, it starts with the first lustful thought, then the first lustful look, and it continues to grow into the act. We must, more now than ever, be so aware of what we take in for stimulus, what we watch, who we spend time with and most importantly what we choose to think. It is a choice and any choice that goes against our new born nature, will create dis-ease.
Just as money does.)--since the mind works in duality. So having money has nothing to do with spirituality too. And what is spirituality?it is a concept of which the mind cannot grasp.
Randy, you ARE the epitome of the American Dream. You came from a "down and out" and recreated yourself! You made a DECISION to be/do better and the American lifestyle allowed you to move forward in your life. You know, even Mother Teresa had $ to back her so that she could tend to the needy and live a "poverty" lifestyle.
I want to earn more than enough to pay my bills, create a retirement pool of $, money to donate to my pet contributions and money left over so I can buy "things" that will contribute to my happiness, love, joy, peace and serenity.
BTW, in this "take from the Rich and give to the Poor" mentality ... for each TV that is purchased, the salesman gets paid, the state/fed gov't gets paid, the technician gets paid, and the company's investors make $, etc. That is the circle of $. Wow! Let's go earn some $ so we buy something and give back today!
Great piece, Randy!
Well she's the perfect example of the victim belief you mention so often. And I was once there myself due to subconscious programming from my parents and grand parents who despised people who were abundant and prosperous. When you're a struggling artist, I guess somehow you feel it's noble to struggle like all the others and then you go an have children and without knowing, teach them the same beliefs.
You can label it anything you want, but for me, it's about living a Life I Love. And that means its FILLED with Joy, Love, Gratitude, Abundance, Prosperity and yes friends.. Lots of stuff that I may need or not. Money is energy and like you say Randy, it's value for value. I bring value to the world with purpose driven living and I embrace the abundance with gratitude that flows into my Life. My own personal happiness is extremely important so that I can share the Joy with others. Thanks for posting.
I'm having trouble with some mind viruses and I'm definitely not as prosperous as I want to be. Any simple daily steps I can take to improve?
Thanks in advance