(Friday Filosophy 11/18/22)
Happy Freakin’ Friday!
Welcome back to another edition of Friday Filosophy. Since I added this element to the newsletter, this is the 200th Friday installment! So mad love to the readers who have been here for all those and more. If you’re new here, each week I challenge you with a question, topic, or idea you may want to think about. Today let’s discuss victimhood. More specifically, your ecosystem, how it impacts your prosperity, and your own role in creating it.
Your success or failure is massively influenced by external factors: where you’re born, the economic and political environment there, your family of origin, their economic and emotional situation, and other things as simple as timing. Without a doubt, a lot of these factors are outside of your control. On the surface, it’s easy to throw up your hands and give up, feeling like you’re a powerless victim of circumstance. (As millions have already done.)
Many people create their identity around their poverty or victimhood, wearing it as a badge of honor. They like to believe that being poor or oppressed makes them noble, spiritual, or virtuous. But being poor doesn’t make you inherently honorable; it just makes you poor. Being a victim doesn’t make you inherently valiant, it just makes you a victim.
No rational, sane person would choose to be poor. Even if you decided to become an ascetic, give away all your possessions and join a monastery – a lucid person would want to have enough money to take care of their future, perhaps even support the monastery. Likewise, no reasonable person in control of their faculties would consciously choose to be a victim. Yet millions do it every day. In essence, they’re volunteering for victimhood.
If you make that choice, you’ll fit right in with the majority and it comes with built in excuses and validation for your lack of success. And it will doom you to a life of lack, limitation, and mediocrity. Just. Don’t Do. It.
Because even as powerful as these external factors are, your ability to negate, modify, or even overcome them is colossal...
Because you can live in a country with anti-prosperity politics like Venezuela but can still associate with the people there who have prosperity consciousness. And you can reach outside of the country by doing something as simple as subscribing to this newsletter, my podcast, and other similar prosperity resources.
Technology has democratized the process of virtually everything, but especially the road to overcoming pervasive, suffocating roadblocks designed to keep you down. Can’t get a record company deal? You no longer need one. Random House won’t buy your book pitch? Publish it yourself on Amazon. Hollywood won’t finance your documentary? Tell them to fuck off and shoot it on your iPhone.
There has never been a greater time in human history to bypass the gatekeepers, obstacles, and systemic bias against the underdog.
Even the poorest, undereducated, or politically oppressed people today have multitudes of better options than the generations that preceded them. The pace we’re churning out billionaires in the world – including many non-whites, kids in their 20s, from places like Malaysia, India, Africa, and without college degrees – is astounding. As I predicted in my “Risky” book, the Internet and other types of technology have leveled the playing field for those with initiative, ingenuity, and imagination.
It’s not a sin to be born poor, but it is a sin to stay poor. To break out of victimhood requires not submitting to those external forces that may be designed to keep you down but using your creative genius to modify them ever so slightly and increase the odds toward your favor.
Like anything, however, there’s a macro and a micro to this...
The macro is your predominant mindset; the perspective you view your world with. Step one is blowing up your victimhood beliefs and choosing to be a victor instead. You have to be willing to let go of whatever emotional payoff you’re receiving from being a victim.
For the micro, think of this as how you structure your ecosystem around you. This means:
Let’s break them down in turn, beginning with the most important element, the people you allow to speak into your life. First, of course, in person, the ones you interact with frequently. The amount of fear, insecurity, and prejudice mind viruses you’re infected with from your family of origin, is overpowering. Most people never develop the self-awareness and critical thinking skills to recognize, evaluate, and modify these if necessary. This is why we see so many generational cycles of poverty, addiction, and self-sabotage. (And why I wrote Radical Rebirth.)
Secondly, we need to explore the people you bring into your consciousness through tech and the internet: the videos, tv shows and movies you watch, the diet of news outlets you follow, the podcasts and blogs you consume, and your social media feeds. In many cases today, these people you’re predominantly connected to online have a greater influence on you than the ones you’re actually living with. (Ex: QAnon, flat earthers, stop the steal, and other conspiracy theorists who have lost touch with objective reality, and end up ostracized from their own families and friends and society as a whole.)
Are you studying history and philosophy to see how the greatest minds in human history thought – or are you getting all your insights from the shitcoin day traders you follow on Instagram?
Looking at the two groups of people you’ve surrounded yourself with, are they calling you to your highest good, or dragging you down to your baser, negative instincts? (Which addresses the fourth item on our list above – if you’ve created a feedback loop or an echo chamber.)
Regarding your daily habits and the environment you create, think about them in terms of friction or lubrication. Do they create friction protecting you against bad decisions and lubricate the process of creating good decisions?
Daily habits don’t get the attention they deserve in terms of how tiny decisions can unfold into such consequential long-term results. One of my daily habits is making my bed minutes after I wake up. It elevates my mindset because I’ve started my day accomplishing something, and it instantly transforms my bedroom from disheveled to harmonious. Another daily habit is never turning on tv, radio, or music in my home before afternoon or evening. Because I’m a writer, the silence helps me create instead of distracting me. A great deal of my health, happiness, and success can be traced to things in my daily routine, like cardio, strength training, high protein diet, and self-development time.
Unfortunately for me, there are no 12-Step groups for people addicted to salty, crunching things. If I have Cheetos, Fritos, or Doritos in the house, I will consume mass quantities of them. So I don’t order them from Instacart. If I’m desperate for a fix, I have to drive to the store (friction) and get some. When I open the refrigerator or cupboards, I’ll find healthy alternatives like apples, protein shakes, and energy bars instead (lubrication).
I have no science or statistics to back this up, but I’ll posit that people who get daily exercise, adequate sleep, fresh air, sunshine, and good nutrition earn 40 percent more than people who don’t. And have a corresponding or greater advantage in terms of their health, happiness, and mental harmony. And FFS, leave your phone to charge overnight in a room that you’re not sleeping in. Don’t @ me.
The environment you create around you starts with people, but also includes many other things. If your home or workspace are busy and cluttered with objects and sounds, your thinking will be distracted and chaotic. If your surroundings are harmonious and orderly, your mindset will be calm and relaxed. Surround yourself with art, fresh flowers, and reminders of loved ones.
So how do we tie this all together?
Go back to the macro: Are you using external factors to justify remaining in victimhood? Or are you going to work on the things you control, to create a life of health, happiness, and prosperity?
Recommended Resource: If I haven’t pissed you off enough and you really want to grind your molars, check out this post I wrote a decade ago: Announcing…the Sabolator! (About the world’s first self-sabotage translator. You’ll either laugh your guts out or start sticking pins in your Randy Gage voodoo doll!)
Please seize the day and please be kind to yourself today. I hope your weekend is delightful.
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