Successful Illusion

Successful Illusion

Millennial men are earning less than any generation before them – to the tune of £12,500 (around $15,600) a year. Over £1,000 a month less than men before them, by the time they’re 30.

Meanwhile, we keep hearing that “the economy is rallying – house prices are up!”

Whoever decided to use house prices as a measure of a successful economy was either a consummate shyster, or completely naive, to the extent that they should be nowhere near any kind of role which involves making important decisions and announcements.

For a start, it isn’t “house prices” that are being used – although this is what we’re told – but rather the mortgage market.

In short, we measure the “health” of an economy by the inherently unhealthy habit of debt.

This illusion of success is portrayed as: “More people are being approved for loans, therefore people are earning more, which proves the economy is flourishing.”

No.

The reason more people are approved for loans is because people have more loans – try getting even a small, short-term loan, or a catalogue, when you have never previously borrowed money. It’s nearly impossible. Yet, once you have a history of borrowing money, people will fall over themselves to lend you more. It’s the same mentality that has friends more willing to lend money to their well-off companions who’re “in a spot of bother” , for something those friends could easily do without, than to their unemployed friends who need that money for essentials.  If you have money, people will give you more. If you have debt, people will give you more.

If you have nothing – that’s your life, now and forever, unless you get exceptionally lucky.

When you run an economy – or a business, or your personal life – on someone else’s money, any success you have is only ever an illusion. However impressive, it can never be more than a glittering image, because it has been built on inherently unstable foundations.

Success that is built on what you have, and not a penny more, is less impressive, less spectacular, less far reaching. It rarely makes the headlines of even your local paper, let alone attracting national or international attention, yet it is more enduring.

Your duty, first and foremost, whether you’re leading your family or running a company, is to be enduring.

Debt is not enduring, and neither are the illusions it helps create.  Borrowed money means borrowed time. When you use only what money you have, however, you have all the time in the world to create something that will last. Something enduring.

Creative negativity is enduring. The things that go wrong for people tend to be repeating patterns, and tend to happen because of inherent flaws or inabilities in those individuals . Therefore, when you use your failures as the foundation of future success, you’re more likely to create an enduring, if not particularly spectacular, result, because, rather than trying to construct something entirely from scratch, you’re simply adding on to a strong, set pattern that’s already there, and changing its composition very slightly.

The illusion we have come to call success starts with the premise that “of course I’ll need to borrow money.”

Creative negativity starts with the thought of “If I use what I have, I will only ever lose that which, over time, I can regain.” Starting with nothing forces you to be both creative and  negative – you can’t afford dreams and ideals. You just have to get something, anything, done, with whatever you have to hand. You work around problems that other people use money to solve, and therefore gain more skills – and skills are what people may, one day, pay you for.

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On Failure

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Nina Medina Founder & Owner of: The Happy Life 101 -Staff Member, Contributor, Inspirational & Motivational Writer Why Failure is our Friend (4 min read) FAILURE. We don’t like it. We avoid it. We hate it. People do not like failure because of 2 things- It hurts and it […]

via Why Failure is our Friend (For Book, Beauty, Travel Bloggers & More) — The Millionaire’s Digest

Silence: The Quickest Way to Drain the Charge

If people cannot speak about their affliction they will be destroyed by it, or swallowed up by apathy… (Dorothee Soelle, Suffering)

“If people cannot speak about their affliction they will be destroyed by it…”

We are a social, verbally communicative species – the latter shown in the way we say that those who, for whatever reason, are non-verbal “can’t communicate effectively” – even though they often can – talking about experiences, feelings, and ideas is how we process and assess them. It’s how we seek empathy, understanding, validation, and, most importantly, help.

But, all too often these days, the attitude is “you shouldn’t talk about feeling down, or things going wrong – it just depresses everyone else.”

On the contrary, I find peoples’ joys and successes far more depressing when I’m struggling – but I would never presume to tell them to “stop talking about it”.

There are times I keep things to myself, because I’m dealing with them, and don’t want others to be anxious over my situation, but I often do talk about struggles – firstly, because other people may have suggestions for how to end the struggles that I, caught up in the maelstrom, hadn’t thought of, and secondly because it says to others who are struggling “you’re okay – you’re not alone out here.”  Especially on social media, where everyone seeks to present the “edited highlights” of their life, to convince friends and strangers that everything is, as writer Marian Keyes says., LATT (Lovely All The Time), the dissenters, the disaffected, the hurting and humiliated, need to speak out, need to be heard – the pleasantness of others’ lives is often founded on stones drenched in our blood, or the blood of others very like us.

If you’re always positive, you become what’s known in marketing terms as “bullish” – at risk of holding on to positions, and making trades, that are unwise, and that, if you were in a more balanced frame of mind, you would have abandoned or avoided.

Positivity is what leads to risks being taken – which isn’t, in and of itself, bad; we need to take risks in order to grow and to progress – but they need to be the right risks, at the right time. And negativity is usually best for identifying those.

Returning, briefly, to that initial quote from Dorothee Soelle Dorothee Soelle, Suffering, I find myself wondering what it is that makes people want to shut down “negativity”, and thus drain away the charge of it. I’ve thought about it, and read around it, and come to the conclusion, with the help of Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan’s book What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars, that it’s fear, a fear which arises from our habit of conflating “bad” and “failure” with “wrong”.  No one likes to be punished for being wrong, and, in certain circumstances, we are punished for it. But a failure doesn’t mean you were wrong; after all, in any game, someone has to win, or succeed, and someone has to lose, or fail. The person or team who loses didn’t do anything “wrong” – they just came up against opponents doing the same thing they did, but a little better. When it comes to people “feeling bad”, this conflation leads us, unconsciously, to believe that that person is “a failure”, that they have “done something wrong” – and our inner children shy away, remembering how the whole class could end up getting a detention because of the misbehaviour – the wrong actions, the failure to conform – of one person.  We don’t want to be associated with bad people, with failures. We don’t want to get life wrong.

And so we shut people down, shut them up, and fail in our duty to properly adult, to fully manage the full range of human emotions.

Negative Charge

The day before Good Friday, Thursday, March 24th 2016, I closed the door on the business my wife and I had been running for the last time.

We’d failed. We hadn’t been able to make it work.

Since then,  I’ve “not been doing anything” – or, as I see it, I’ve been doing everything – everything that  needs to be done to restore my equilibrium, my sense of self, so that, whatever I choose to do next at the very least won’t fail because I’m still in the same mindset I was when I left a business I loved, and had done everything in my power to avoid losing.

I have a set of cards by Eckhart Tolle, with “inspirational quotes” on each. The card I pulled just now, at random, reads

“Whenever you notice that some form of negativity has arisen within you, look on it not as a failure, but as a helpful signal that is telling you ‘wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present.’ ”

It often takes a “failure” of some kind to wake us up to what we were doing wrong – it takes the negative charge of the emotional exhaustion that comes in the wake of a loss, any kind of loss, to reveal the core emotions, energy, and strength that will lead us, eventually, to success. That’s why it’s so important to take that time – however long you need – after a loss, of whatever scale, to just be, to let the wheels of your mind spin, recover your self – the strengths, energy, and emotions that will bring you success, and to identify the sphere in which you will succeed.