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5 Mindsets That Inevitably Lead to Failure

October 26, 2006

Here’s 5 mindsets most people have, that keep them in poverty, and leave them unhappy.

I’ll list out each mindset below, then go into the details of why I hate each of them.

1. All I care about is my family.  I don’t care about material things.  The best things in life are free.
2. Living for My Children
3.  It doesn’t matter what you acquire in this life – what really matters is what you leave behind you when you go.
4. Justice – Life isn’t fair
5. Ambition is a Bad Thing

1. All I care about is my family.  I don’t care about material things.  The best things in life are free.

This mindset it so common it’s amazing.  How ridiculous it is is equally amazing.  First off, it inevitably leads to poverty.  Poverty is never a good thing.  In life, the mindset you set as to what you want out of life is of paramount importance.  If you say ‘I don’t care about material things’, you won’t care about material things, and you won’t have many.  You’re going to drive a crappy car, live in an awful house, eat cheap nasty food, etc.  Why put yourself through all of this?

Good food is good.  A nice home is good.  A nice car is good.  As for your spouse, children, etc, they’re good too.  Why not change your mindset to “Anything that’s good in this life, I’m going to have.”

As for best things in life are free, I beg to differ.  A good relationship is not free.  It takes a lot of work and time.  Having a successful family takes work and time.  The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.  These things may not cost you money, but they cost time and work.  Also, if you don’t have money, you won’t have time to spend on the relationship, as you’ll be spinning wheels in low-end jobs trying to make ends meet for your family.

I’ve never found anything worth anything that didn’t cost me a lot of time, work, and or money.

2. Living for My Children

I hear this one all the time.  The whole sacrifice my life for my children (or whoever), so they can have the life I never had.  This mindset will also lead you to failure and unhappiness.

Immanuel Kant (a famous philosopher) had interesting things to say about ethics.  One of the ethical tests he had was to create a scenario in which everyone held the mindset in question and then see what that would lead to.

If everyone held this mindset, nobody would ever live the life they want.  Everyone will end up living for someone else, and nobody will be happy.

This is the problem with any altruistic (selfless) mindset.  Being selfless is not a virtue.  It leads inevitable to everyone being miserable.

I see this happen to people all the time.  They work a job they hate, so they can provide for their family.  Spend the majority of their lives doing things they hate so they can provide for their family.  Then their children take on this same silly mindset and the cycle perpetuates forever.  The parents think they’re giving their children a boost only to find they enslave their children with the same mindset that screwed up their own life.

You’re better off to decide what you want out of life and pursue that.  Find people you can work with who share your same goals and work together.

Jesus said to do unto others as you would have them do to you.  This isn’t an altruistic statement.  He doesn’t say “Forget about yourself”.  He means, when you deal with others, deal with them with the same respect and decency you would have toward yourself.

Never neglect your own life.  Your life is just as important as anyone else’s.

I’ve heard the counter argument to this: You do end up getting something when you serve someone else.  This mindset is personified in a quote from Dolores E. McGuire:

“Self-sacrifice is never entirely unselfish, for the giver never fails to receive.”

I’ve heard the Lord say, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  I suppose I could put this same quote to the test.  Taste it for yourself and see where it leads you.  I’ve found it lead me to places I don’t care for.  Want a few examples?

A)  Women.
I used to be the selfless guy.  Thought when I finally met that special woman, I’d serve her like a queen.  It sounds admirable, almost like some sort of knight or something. You’ll find women aren’t attracted to this, and don’t even want this.

Women do not like selfless men.  In fact, women are almost universally attracted to men with identity.  This goes equally for men.  Selfless people throw all their mental weight onto another person to make their decisions for them.  Have you ever been with a person and you asked, “Where would you like to eat?”  Then they reply, “Wherever you want to go is fine with me.”

This kind of thing will drive you nuts eventually as the selfless person becomes this weight you have to carry around with you everywhere you go.  Decisions are work to make, and you need to be offering good suggestions yourself.

These people also, you don’t know what to expect from them.  Even worse though, selfless people, in their most extreme form, take on the identity of whoever they’re around.  You can’t be doing this.  You end up providing no unique experience.

Stand up for what you want, and let the woman stand for what she wants and see if you two line up in a life that would be mutually good to spend time together.  There’s times to concede to another’s will, but there should be more mutual good than “sacrifice.”

B) Business
Business relationships are not a whole lot different than personal relationships.  The people running the businesses are people just like you are.  They have what they want out of life, an you have what you want.  See what they want, and know what you want, and see if you can work together to make both things happen.  If not, then you don’t need to be doing business together.

C) Family
It’s universal that people are attracted to people with identity.  People who know who they are, are confident about that, and aren’t out to impress people.  As a father or mother, you can either offer your children nothing by being selfless, or you can be who you are/want to be, and offer them a unique experience of love from a very unique person that they would never be able to experience elsewhere.

3.  It doesn’t matter what you acquire in this life – what really matters is what you leave behind you when you go.

This mindset is an excuse for a lack of excellence.  What it typically leads to is leaving your children with your debts to pay off.

Just like I said just a second ago, don’t neglect yourself, and don’t neglect material things.  These things are good, don’t tell yourself they’re not just because the current route you’re going in life doesn’t lead to them.  If you can’t have all the things in life you want taking one route, then you need to change your mind and change your route so that you can acquire these things.

Don’t create a philosophical balm to ease your mind.  If you want a nice home and a nice car, then don’t make excuses why you don’t have them.  Get them.

Sigmund Freud (famouse psychologist) has a concept which he calls ‘repression’.  Basically when people create these kinds of mindsets, telling themselves that they don’t want things when they really do, it leads to nasty mental problems and unhappiness.  These repressed desires are held back for a while but eventually find outlets in time as strange mental hang-ups.  These balmish mindsets will produce these repressions.  Avoid them at all costs.

Don’t lie to yourself.  What you want is what you want.  You’ll be miserable lying to yourself.  What you leave behind in the minds of others is important, but so is your livelihood.

4. Justice

We’ve all heard people bicker that life is not fair.  Hear them complain about the “Haves” and the “Have nots” and how they’re unfortunately a “have not.”  How they can’t make money doing what they want to do.

Anytime I hear these kinds of things my mind shuts off.  I don’t want this to even enter my system.  These things have entered my system before, and I entertained them for a while, but I’ve flushed them out for good nowadays.

I’ve heard people ridicule (or praise) those who win the lottery — “How lucky they are.”

Luck, justice.  Actually the same concept really.  Even morality and all concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with people.  This is all the same question.

Justice is an ideal people create.  If what happens does not line up with that ideal, it’s not ‘just’ or ‘right’.  If it does line up with their view on how things should be it’s ‘right’, ‘just’, and ‘good.’

I’ve heard people advocate communism and say our business world is an unjust distribution of wealth.  Then I’ve heard the opposite side of the spectrum saying people can get out of life whatever they want.

Lately, I’ve thrown away communism and taken on the latter view.  After talking with Greg for a long time, and reading success books, I’ve come to realize that the universe is completely unbiased.  Those who don’t ask much out of it, don’t get much.  Those who ask a lot, get a lot.  If you don’t make up your mind what you want, the universe basically says, “Well, you don’t count.”  and you just get thrown into whatever someone else wants out of you.

Communism has its perks, and so does capitalism.  It comes down to what people want.  What do you want?  What do you choose?

There is no justice.  There’s only what you want.  If you want this reality, then you can make it.  If you want that reality, you can also make that.  There are no concrete rules, no universal laws of morality which anyone has to obey.

This doesn’t mean all views are equal though.  Every view or mindset a person has on anything has its corresponding consequences.  If you’re willing to accept whatever those consequences may be (whether you’re knowledgable of them or not) that is just fine.

If you keep complaining the world isn’t fair, it isn’t just, and you can’t have what you want out of life because of ____ fill in the blank ____, you will never succeed or have what you want out of life.  Never make conditions on success.

If you’re not “lucky” then get lucky and create luck.  If you don’t have money, barrel down and say, “I’m fixing this problem — whatever it takes.”  If you don’t have a significant other, and you want one, make up your mind that you’re going to do whatever it takes to do so, and fix whatever setbacks are holding you from what you want.

5. Ambition is a Bad Thing

Encarta dictionary defines ambition as follows:
1.  desire for success: a strong feeling of wanting to be successful in life and achieve great things
2.  aim or goal: an aim or objective that somebody is trying to achieve
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Definition 1 is vague.  Successful and ‘Great’ depend on what a person wants.  But Definition 2 is just fine.  It means to set a goal and to strive for it, which is also — what a person wants… And if you haven’t figured out already, everything in life, and all success boils down to thinking about and deciding ‘What do I want’

Typical mainstream movies today all deride the concept of ambition.  Greg had me over the other day to watch some Adam Sandler movie.  Forgot what it was called, he had some sort of remote that could pause time and skip things he didn’t like.  His whole life was basically put on auto-pilot and the overall moral of the story was that he neglected his family and instead pursued ambition of wanting to be a great architect.  The movie made him out to be a horrible and miserable man.

This is outright lie, and mainstream people like it because it acts as a balm that says “I have what’s most important in life.  I have my family.”

Most people don’t really have their family.  They work all day long and spend very little time with their family.  Their children’s views are shaped almost entirely by our school system, not by parents.  A lot of parents come home tired from work all day and flop themselves in front of the television.  Finally the children move off, and you see them even less than this — a few times a year on holidays.

This varies of course from family to family.  I’m not advocating that family is bad, I’m simply saying that most people work all day being under-paid and then tell themselves its alright because they’re working for their family — to have those things they never had.  This is stupid.   Demand more money out of what you do.  You should be able to work a small percentage of the year and provide for your livelihood.  The technology is there.  It’s not hard for the world to provide you with a home and food.

Greg told me an anaology from a great marketing genius named Dan Kennedy, whose works he’s studied thorougly.  Dan has a quote where he says something to the effect of:
“The ocean is irrespective of whether you come at it with a teaspoon or a truck and pipelines.”

Never have a scarcity mindset about life or the world.  The means to provide you any type of life you could ever want are out there.

There’s nothing wrong with being a great architect.  Nothing wrong with building a huge architectual firm.  Nothing wrong with being ambitious.

Really it all comes down to ‘What do you want’.  WHAT DO YOU WANT!  And be honest with yourself.  Look objectively at your situation.

Family is only superior to being a great architect, if that’s what you want.

I think all society’s problems come down to a simple statement:  People don’t value themselves very much.  Am I justified?  I think so.

People work for 30 years, taking 1/3 of their paycheck to pay for a house, that took 3 weeks to build.  Basically that’s 10 years of 40 hours per week, doing whatever they do.  10 freakin years.  10 YEARS.  A house is typically some boards, bricks, and dry-wall.  And it takes 10 YEARS of your entire paycheck to pay it off.

What’s the problem?  They don’t value their work. If you don’t think that’s right, and don’t agree with it, then don’t buy a house at that outlandish price.

What is the problem really?  Are there not enough trees out there?  Not enough land?  Not enough stone for bricks?  Is it really that much work to get these things out of the Earth?  Not really – and technology keeps making these things easier every day.

Don’t fall in this trap.  Refuse to take part in these things.  Be ambitious, step out and say ‘No’ to this.  You’re worth more than that.   You don’t have to work 30 years to buy a house and have no money.  I don’t care if you simply take orders over the phone for some company.  You’re worth more than that.

Being ambitious will require you to step out of the norm, but sometimes that’s what you have to do.  If most people allow themselves to be exploited, it’s their fault, not yours.  Try to help them, but if they won’t listen and change what they want out of life and ask for more, there’s nothing you can do.  Step up and change things in your own life.

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