“The economy is rigged against the little guy.”
I’ve seen a sentence like that in tons of blog post comments.
When you write an article, you can’t account for every little nuance and detail in life. You understand these people come from different backgrounds and circumstances, all of which do affect their ability to succeed.
I’m not trying to give you a magic bullet that’ll cure all your problems. I want to give you the tools you need to navigate life regardless of where you’re coming from. Some people are coming from a place where the sentence I started the post with rings true.
I also believe this statement to be true. I wrote a whole chapter in my book about the fact that society is ‘rigged against the little guy.’
Nine times out of ten, when I get a comment like this I do tend to agree with their comments. But I only agree with the comments on their face. I don’t make the mistake the people who wrote the comments make.
It’s the same mistake you often make when it comes to overcoming your own challenges. Hell, it’s a mistake I make.
So, what’s the mistake?
The mistake isn’t that you’re lying.
People who think this way make the mistake of shaping a giant narrative around truthful statements that keeps them from making any changes.
And their lives get worse because of it. Your life probably suffers because of it. You have all of these ‘reasons’ ‘facts’ and other justifications for why you’re not living the life you want to live. These rationalizations create self-fulfilling prophecies that destroy your future.
Fortunately, there are two words you can use to change your thought patterns and overcome your challenges instead of dwelling on them.
Let’s take the example I started the post with. I’ll grant you that the economy is rigged against the little guy or gal.
I ask this question because I want you to think about the implications of these types of statements. If the economy is rigged, are you just going to fold and give up? Have you ever considered trying to become large instead of little?
The chapter had a simple lesson: Don’t play society’s rigged game. Play your own. If you operate under society’s frame and play by its rules of course you’re going to lose.
So many people are stuck underneath the frame of society’s narrative. All of the arguments are about how to help the little guy, how politicians can save the masses, and how to change the system.
Of course, these people somehow miss the obvious: you don’t ask the creators of the system with its thumb on you to change it because they benefit from the way the system operates. Changing would go against their self-interests.
Deep down people probably know this. But rationalizations run deep. Narratives run deep. Whatever someone believes to be true, even if deep down they know they’re full of it, is true. Might as well be scientific law.
Using the phrase ‘So what?’ can help you shake out of your stupor because you need to come to realize some truths about your life.
Five years ago, I was a convicted felon working at a $10 an hour job. When I moved into my apartment at the time, I had $53 in my bank account. I remember the specific number. I took up selling drugs again, while I was on probation for selling drugs because I had no money. There was a point in my life where all the available evidence showed I was going to become a failure.
A black male, a convicted felon, with no money, no degree, nothing. I did have some things going for me. I was always a sharp, albeit lazy young man. So once I got fed up enough with my situation, I decided I was going to make a change regardless of what happened up to that point.
Convicted felon? So what? I applied for a job at a video store and became the manager — a big deal to me at the time after being fired from every job I had. I just applied for the job and…they never checked my criminal record. This happened twice, actually.
The second time, I got a job as a project manager at a marketing company. My girlfriend at the time convinced me to apply. I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way an agency like this will hire me with my record.’ She told me to apply anyway. She told me ‘The worst they can say is no.’
Essentially she said, “You’re a convicted felon, so what?”
Yes, getting two decent jobs with a criminal record is an anomaly. But, the point is that the only other alternative was staying stuck in crappy factory jobs I hated. The worst that could happen was…nothing.
I took to writing shortly after I was going through this whole personal transformation. As time went on, I ran across a lot of aspiring writers who had nothing but excuses for themselves. “Most people never make a living blogging.” “It’s a pipe dream.” “Most authors never sell 1,000 copies of their book.”
Blah, blah, blah. So what?
I learned to keep pushing the envelope. Everything I’ve achieved happened because I just looked past justifiable excuses, facts, reasons, and justifications. Truth be told, those excuses are quite valid.
If you are born poor, you are statistically likely to stay that way. If you’re a minority or a woman or a white person with little to no education, whatever category you want to choose, your life will be harder in ways.
What are you going to do about it if you find yourself in a compromised situation with your back against the wall? Fold because of your odds or roll the dice anyway?
You can use the phrase to counteract so many statements and beliefs. Most people never successfully get their businesses off the ground. So what? You just be the person who does.
Most Americans can’t afford a $1,000 emergency. So what? Yes, I care about those affected and it shouldn’t be this way. Yes, this is the type of problem people should put their energy towards, but, in the meantime, your personal problems of not having enough money won’t be solved until either you or someone else fixes it. Which is more likely to happen sooner?
Most people will die having not even come close to scratching the surface of what they could’ve done. When it comes to self-improvement and following your dreams, success is the exception and failure is the rule. 99 percent of the people who read this content do nothing with it.
So what? You’re the exception to the rule.
That’s the general sentiment to always carry with you. You’re the exception to the rule. When people around you talk about how hard it is to succeed for most people. Agree with them. It’s hard for most people. But, you’re not most people. You’re you. You’re exceptional.
At least, you can decide to be exceptional.
There’s a backlash against self-improvement in our culture. It has now become more popular than ever than revert to the lowest common denominator. You’re not allowed to call people out for living below their potential.
Everyone wants their feelings indulged, mainly the feeling that life is cruel and unfair to them. The feeling that one hundred percent of their problems are to blame.
People are free to do what they want. But I’m not going to participate in the new en vogue mediocre culture we live in. You can decide what you want to do. You’re grown. But just think about it.
Do you really want to be a part of that crowd?
This is an important decision to make. Decide to be with them or decide to join my side.
On my side, you just focus on winning, period.
Your industry is a boys club? Well, screw it, you’re crashing the party and breaking the glass ceiling. Fair or not, you’re going to do it.
You’re broke working a dead-end job? Oh well, you’re going to force yourself to learn a profitable skill come hell or high water.
People judge you on your immutable characteristics. That’s fine, you can run an entire online business empire without ever having to show your face.
I can do this all day — come up with a counterargument to rid you of your excuses, even the most justifiable ones. But after you leave this post you’re going to have to create those counterarguments yourself.
Life is hard, unfair? So what?
Matter of fact, good.
Winning will feel even better knowing you had to work twice as hard as someone else to do it.