There is a great scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman’s girlfriend asks him why he doesn’t just quit his job and he sharply retorts ‘Because I want to fit in.’
I do not relate to the need of wanting to fit in; that does not motivate me. What does motivate me; however, is the need to be successful.
And as I posted recently about the income differences between the 1% and the 99%, I am increasingly examining what I want at this point in my life moving forward.
I have experienced life at near both ends of the income spectrum. And I can attest, making lots of money does not suck. That’s not putting it very eloquently – but it’s the truth.
It reminds me of a lyric from rapper Drake, where he effectively says ‘people with no money act like money isn’t everything’.
And I am not saying money is everything – hardly. I’ve already learned that lesson. But like many others who grew up the way I did, I still carry that poverty consciousness with me. The one that makes you feel guilty for wanting to be successful. The one that lets you lose everything you have. Because if I was THAT attached to money, I would surely still have something to show for my previous success. I would probably have much more money. Surely.
I’m not trying to justify my situation through psychoanalysis, but as someone who is a BIG believer in personal responsibility, I want to ensure I hold myself accountable for where I am in life so I can make adjustments and remain in control.
I’ve spent a lot of time ‘studying’ successful people. It’s something that has been extremely beneficial to me.
I’ve learned that the 1% are not like everyone else. There are not a lot of rich people out there who somehow feel guilty for it or undeserving.
I remember a discussion with a former business associate who talked about possibly leasing a Lamborghini, and I remember saying to him ‘don’t you think that’s kind of disrespectful to people who don’t have anything.’ And I remember his answer because it was as instinctual to him as it was revealing to me about how he thought. He instantly replied, ‘Disrespectful! – Hell no, it’s motivating’.
I came across some great material from http://myfinancialawareness.com/Topics%20Personal/Overcoming%20Poverty.htm that sheds some light on the grip poverty consciousness can have on you. I have abridged a portion of it below to retain for future reading.
Overcoming Poverty Consciousness
Poverty is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “the state of one who lacks an usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions”. By this definition, there will always be some poverty because unless everyone has an equal share, someone will have a less than the “usual” or “socially” acceptable amount. Note, a key word in the definition is “socially”. I point this out because poverty is becoming more of a social stigma which can not be cured by welfare programs alone. Poverty is a state of mind, one of not being as worthy as others. Poverty does not only affect those that are broke, it can also affect people who appear to be rich. For example, there are millionaires who still do not feel that they have enough or as much as they should have. This is poverty consciousness.
Broke is a financial term which means that you have no money. As a society, we can try to financially define poverty. However, poverty is just a financial term that should not define who you are. If poverty takes on the meaning of being less than others, than this starts an endless cycle of poverty consciousness that is passed on from generation to generation. If a person feels less than others then he will not feel deserving. If he does not feel deserving, his life is based on desperation and wanting, rather than from joy and abundance.
If one feels abundant, he will have abundance. If one feels desperate and wanting, he will expand the poverty in his life.
Know that you are the creator of your circumstances.
Energy is the source of creation. When you are the creator of your circumstances, you are putting energy into your life. If the world creates your circumstances, then you are living life on a runaway roller coaster with no energy of your own. Nothing is formed without energy, whether it is the energy of a storm that creates the rain or the energy you use that creates what you dream about.
Money is generated based on what we give the world whether it is via our labor (time), our creativity (intellect) or our investment (money). Money is a symbol of what we have sown on earth.
Money flows to those who use their energy to make things happen. Many millionaires got to where they are from a lot of hard work and creativity.
To switch your view from pessimistic (poverty) to optimistic (abundance) acknowledge daily what you are grateful for. In today’s world, one usually looks at what he does not have instead of what he actually has. Many prosperity speakers emphasize that what one focuses on will expands. Your mind is a creative force in the universe. If your focus is on what you do not want, then what you do not want is what is created.
I suspect that even when I was financially successful I was limiting myself with this poverty consciousness. I ended up hitting a certain number income-wise and once I hit that I never moved beyond it, and eventually I would up back at zero.
So here I am now trying to pave the way for sustainable success for myself and my family.
And I want to destroy this bullshit that is standing between me and my potential.
I do not somehow think I am incapable or unqualified to be very successful. I’ve already proven I can do that.
But now it’s high time that I begin to exercise my full potential. So, tonight I set out to write this post as a manifesto of sorts. A mission statement. A declaration of g-d-damnit I am tired of sub-mediocrity. I can and should be able to just be. To have the things I deserve and am capable of attaining.
It reminds me of a tale I read in a book (unfortunately I cannot recall the book at the moment). The author talks about the raccoon. Yup. A raccoon. And he says, do you think the raccoon denies himself his nature? His raccoonness. Do you think the raccoon is thinking he is not worthy of being a raccoon and having what he deserves and wants? Do you think the raccoon lets anyone else deny him of that? Hell no. He gets it.
But we all constantly deny ourselves what we think we deserve because we feel it is out of reach of our current worth. And now we are suddenly living in an era where being rich and successful is being stigmatized as greedy and corrupt by many of our fellow citizens. Making us feel even less deserving.
So, getting back to my mission statement, I wanted to document the reasons I want to be successful. Yes, this is a highly personal subject matter – ‘what motivates me’. But I enjoy possessing the generosity of spirit that allows me to share what it’s really like for me, because I know there are lots of other people out there in my position.
If I can be tagged in a photo on facebook drinking a shot from an ice-luge where all my friends, family and every degree of separation in between can see me acting like I am in college (yet, at 26), I can certainly write about why I deserve to be rich. Yes. I said the taboo. I think I deserve to be rich. (shameless)
I’m tired of this being some sort of secret. I’m tired of the stigma attached to it and I’m tired of not being rich.
So, here is why I have chosen a lifestyle that puts me on the path to being successful:
I want to provide for my Family
Yes. It seems like an obvious answer. And no, I am not putting charity first. I am putting my family first. I believe charity starts at home. Which is not to say I want to turn my family members into trust fund babies. But I want them to live comfortably and securely. As everyone should want for their family.
What defines comfort and security? It varies from person to person. Those who know me can guage what this means for me. But as it was once said, money is measured in dollars and wealth is measured in time. I’d like to provide my family with the comfort and security that comes with wealth.
When considering family, it’s also important to recognize the inherent benefits of wealth when it comes to health and happiness. Just think about your future wife, and how many relationships end or struggle because of financial problems.
Think about your families diet, medical care, and education as well and you can begin to imagine how much better theirs – and your quality of life will be.
Because being broke sucks and being rich is much better.
This sounds obvious. If it doesn’t strike you as obvious, you will never be rich. Just give up now. You can still have a good life – but imagine a scenario for a minute: It’s Friday night. You are getting ready for a dinner date.
You shower, get dressed and eat a quick bite beforehand. You get in your car and go out. Arriving at the restaurant, you order something unspectacular and proceed to finish your meal. Splitting the bill with your date, sheepishly.
That sounds like a familiar scenario for many people.
Now, let’s imagine the same scenario, but in this scenario you are ‘rich’ or ‘highly successful’.
Now taking a shower isn’t just as mundane. Now, you are in a much better mood. Why? Duh! You fucking crushed it at work and you are getting in the shower. That’s why.
So, you get in your shower in your dream bathroom. Surrounded in luxury you enjoy the aroma of your frufru body wash. You have the bomb tunes blasting on your bathrooms iPod dock.
You step out of the shower admiring your appearance and feeling great about yourself. Why? Because you are rich! Rich people look better, and seeing your reflection amidst your luxe surroundings doesn’t hurt either.
Now time to get dressed. Hmm, remember when you had to put on the same tired pair of jeans. You know your ‘Friday pair’. Thank G-d that’s a distant memory.
Now you glance past your closet door that is ajar and ponder which one of your jeans you are going to look sexiest in…hmmm. Hell, try two pairs on. Pick out a shirt, wrap yourself in a high end sweater and slip on one of your favorite pairs of shoes.
Boy you are starving. Okay, grab your wallet, keys, and phone and as you lock the door behind you, you look back and admire the gorgeous home you have furnished full of beautiful things that will last a long time because you can afford to buy quality.
Out the door you walk up to your car.
Fuck yes. You dreamed about this a long time. And you deserve it because you worked for it. Plus your reflection looks good in it. haha
On the drive to pick up your date you think about work and are glad you have made it this far.
You pick up your date and head down the coast for dinner.
You get the picture.
Now, the above two scenarios may seem far fetched, but they aren’t really. Life is better with money. Of course, you are welcome to live however you wish… Think BIG though. It’s worth it!
Because I grew up poor.
I love the hip hop mentality. Coming from nothing and hungry for success. I relate to it. People who are close to me know how poor I grew up. As children who grew up poor often like to do, I can play the ‘we were so poor…’ game.
I had many a Christmas, where there were no presents, (yes I am being a baby here) – but I also had times when I had to deal with food and shelter issues. And this does something to you, it’s something you will never forget – for good or bad.
Overall it definitely made my childhood and my youth much tougher. (Made me much tougher too) But, as an adult, and like many very successful people who came from nothing, I think it’s my birthright to join the ranks of those who came from the dirt, the gutter, the streets, the whatever and to ‘make it’.
There is something about growing up in poverty that instills a desire within you to succeed. If you can just overcome that poverty consciousness…
Because I deserve to be successful.