The Emotional Emptiness of Consumer Culture

I find routines in life boring, so the other day I did something I’d never normally do. I took an hour or so alone and walked around every floor of the Mall of America and looked at each store and restaurant while observing the people who milled about during the noon hour. I’ve been there many times, but I’ve never paid attention, so I didn’t see what the Mall of America really is – a giant monument to emotional emptiness.

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I am a big advocate of free enterprise and free markets. I believe these companies have every right to do what they are doing, but what I saw at THE MALL (what we in Minnesota call the MOA) left me feeling sad.

As I looked at each store, the products, the images, the colors, I asked myself two questions:

  1. Is this store interesting to me?
  2. What does this store sell?

I only found a few of the stores interesting enough to describe and I’ll share that with you in a moment, but first…

99% of the stores in THE MALL are meaningless to me. I realize 38-year-old males are not the demographic THE MALL is after, so that didn’t surprise me.

But this did surprise me:

When I looked closely, 90% of stores weren’t selling useful products. They were selling symbols – symbols of youth, health, beauty, sex, happiness, sophistication, and wealth. The next time you are in a mall, look closely and you’ll see what I mean. The products are secondary, it’s feelings they sell.

In the front door of Abercrombie and Fitch was a giant mural of several half naked teenage boys running across a grassy plain with their butt cracks showing. Now, I could show my butt crack too, and I don’t need $150.00 jeans to do it. But If I dressed that way, I think people would just feel sick. I know I would. No pair of jeans is going to make me look like the 18-year-old models in the mural. But I have to ask the question, does anyone want to see these boy’s butt cracks? Even teenage girls? There were a lot of young men roaming the halls, and I didn’t see one of them that looked remotely like the mural. I wondered how many of them bought into this nonsense. I assume if you (un)dressed like the boys in the mural, and went to THE MALL, you’d be arrested.

In many ways the stores aimed at females are even worse. I won’t get into details, but Victoria’s Secret doesn’t sell underwear.

We’ve been conditioned to need certain stuff to feel good about ourselves, but the stuff always falls short, because it isn’t what we really want. It is a Faustian bargain. As soon as you think you have IT, whatever IT is slips through your grasp, because IT’s someone else selling you a lie about yourself. That’s why consumerism can leave us feeling empty and cheated unless we go back for more. It’s a lot like Methamphetamine. People get hooked on it for a reason. And don’t kid yourself, none of us are above it.

The two stores I found redeeming were:

  1. The Apple Store. I played with the Air for a little bit and found the rest of the gadgets interesting. But I am probably biased. I suppose I felt different about The Apple Store because I’m a geek. But I do know they aren’t selling technology. They are selling style and sophistication. A lot of companies sell technology. Apple isn’t one of them. Technology is just the vehicle. We all know Apple products are the sexiest.
  2. A guy who looked like Grizzly Adams ran a gourmet doggy treat stand which was packed with customers even though the mall doesn’t allow pets.  He stood out like a Hummer on Earth Day. And I know why he is so successful – he sells love – a little slice of love you can take home to your dog. I want to go back and interview this guy.

These two stores were also the busiest in the mall and that tells me something about customers. They aren’t as shallow as some marketers believe.

The trip left me feeling sad for our culture. But I have hope. If I can see the problem, so can you and many others, and it is just a matter of time before we evolve into a species which rises above needing a certain pair of underwear to feel complete. It won’t be tomorrow, but It’ll happen. Have faith.

Don’t miss anything, click and subscribe.

Ebay Sellers Boycott – Did it Make Economic Sense?

Ars Technica Posted an article today about the effectiveness of the Ebay sellers boycott.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, Ebay in an effort to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace decided to do two things:

  1. Change their fee structures, which will benefit some sellers and potentially hurt others.
  2. Eliminate negative feedback from sellers about problem buyers. Problem buyers are a huge problem for some sellers on Ebay.

Some sellers were furious about these changes and decided to mount an organized boycott of Ebay last week.

I’m not going to debate whether this particular event – the boycott – had any impact or not, I’m going to give you what I think is the core economic lesson here…

If there is money to be made selling what you are selling on Ebay, then someone will sell it on Ebay. It might not be you, but someone will fill your shoes and render your boycott meaningless.

If you’re right, and Ebay has changed the rules so sellers can’t run a profitable business on Ebay then you’ll leave Ebay permanently and no one will backfill your position because they can’t make money either. Ebay will suffer and the business will go to Amazon or some new marketplace.

For years, sellers have complained about other booksellers pricing books for a penny on Amazon. And it hasn’t changed, because someone has either found a way to make money selling books for a penny (we haven’t) or there is a constant flow of people willing to give it a go. Either way the internet company (Ebay or Amazon) would be foolish to change the rules in favor of the sellers and make an imbalanced marketplace. It is in the market’s best interest to facilitate the transaction with as little interference as possible.

In fairness to Ebay, it appears there is apprehension on the part of some buyers to leave honest feedback on Ebay because they fear retaliatory negative feedback from sellers.

In fairness to the current sellers, Ebay is gambling with your business. If they are right, and the current rules favor sellers over buyers, they will gain market share. If they are wrong, they will lose market share, and it should open new marketplaces for you to sell your wares. Unfortunately, in the meantime, you’re a pawn, because you don’t own the marketplace. Right now, the only choice you have is to stay or to leave. I suggest sticking it out, seeing what happens, because it might not be that bad. You never know, it may increase the number of ‘good’ buyers and result in an unexpected windfall. However, if it is bad, you can always leave later.

Remember, historically, when you go on strike, even when you win, you rarely come out ahead in the long run, because during the strike you leave too much money on the table and the economic conditions which forced the conflict will ultimately control your destiny if you don’t change. The best antidote is to keep your eyes open for new opportunities and position yourself for rapid change.

Are You an Honest Person? I Mean Really Honest?

This article, I Think You’re Fat, is potentially life changing. I like to think of myself as an honest open person, but in reality I am a strategic liar. We all are. You’d admit it too, if you were honest.

In the 1800s authorities believed fictional novels were destroying the youth, by the 1950s and 60s it was Rock and Roll and television, and in the 1980s it was Heavy Metal and Dungeon and Dragons. Today the scapegoat for society’s problems are video games. On the same day Business Week published Video Games Aren’t a Waste of Time, we hear Barack Obama blame video games for underachievement. I have written multiple times about video games on this blog. In my last entry I decided to take the Playstation away from my 4-year-old because he was having emotional breakdowns over the game. A month or so later I returned it to him, with a few rules, but no fixed time limits. He plans to be a game developer and designer someday and I am not going to crush his dream. He owns his life, not me. But as a father I must expose him to much more than just video games, he is five now and taking Blended Kenpo, learning Spanish, Chinese, Persian, and Hindi, and learning to write short stories in English. Mr. Obama, video games are not the problem, public schools and low expectations are. Video games are making children’s lives better, it’s our schools that are destroying them.

Copybrighter wrote a fun post comparing today’s social media craze with what was going on in the 90s.

My ancestors immigrated to the US from Norway. I guess it was really poor 100 years ago, but when I read about Norway today, I wonder what it would be like to be a Norwegian now. Even the cops in Norway seem cool.

Simon Townley a freelance copywriter from the UK, wrote a post telling us about the software tools he uses to write. Many of them I had never heard of before. It is a long but highly valuable post. If you love to write either as a profession or hobby, his post is a must read.

I watch almost zero television, but I stumbled on some vintage shows from the 70s and 80s available online. The commercials are a bit annoying. If they must have commercials, it’d be better if they ran vintage commercials instead, like “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.”

I recently read Davis Allen’s book GTD. If you want to know more about this powerful productivity enhancing system. Al wrote a nice primer about David Allen’s GTD system at 7P Productions. This knowledge applied will pay you back a million x.

Your Ticket to Peace and Prosperity

I recently read these words:

Either you can think of life as a series of rights and entitlements or you can think about life as a series of responsibilities.

Most people are quick to criticize and complain about the CEO, but few want his responsibility, because they fear it. The most powerful people in the world own the most responsibility. A mentor once told me that you won’t grow until you step out of your comfort zone and willingly accept more responsibility. That’s why most people aren’t promoted, they are afraid of responsibility and it shows. He said the more responsibility you accept, the more confidence you’ll feel. Confidence does not come from entitlement. Entitlement creates dependency. Confidence comes from inside yourself, by accepting the power you already have. Responsibility is owning your own power.

Take responsibility for your thoughts. To own yourself is to own your thoughts. Your habitual mental mindset is what makes you act and feel as you do. Thought is the root of self-control. Without self-control you’re dust in the wind. Once you make a conscious, deliberate, sustained, effort to control and direct your thoughts, you’ll be amazed how quickly your life will change.

Your first responsibility is to take care of yourself. Some of us miss that one, and try to go directly to taking responsibility for others. It’s a way of ignoring the messes we are making by focusing on someone else’s shortcomings. Always start with yourself, because the only thing that you can control is yourself. All other control is delusional.

What responsibilities are you neglecting?

Do you need to take responsibility…

These aren’t things you have to do, they are wonderful things you get to do. Accepting your responsibilities to yourself is the center of self-empowerment. These are the things you want in life. At the core of who you really are, you desire more responsibility, but our schooling teaches us to fear responsibility and run from it. Responsibility itself isn’t difficult. Pushing your ego and your fear aside is. But do it… Responsibility leads to joy. Don’t resist it, accept it.

Why?

In responsibility lies your ticket to peace and prosperity

Because responsibility is the foundation of true freedom.

The Republican Party – Selling Fear and Failure

 

The Republican Party is crumbling. They lost congress in 2006 and will lose more ground in 2008 because they offer nothing new, nothing original, and nothing positive. We have seen the party of entrepreneurship, small government, and personal freedom become the party of fear, war, and police power. After the party leaders mocked, sneered, and cackled at those of us who believe in a limited constitutional republic, they now ask us to hold our nose and support John McCain.

A Message to Republican Leaders

(FYI – I was involved in the Republican Party for almost 20 years):

John McCain recently said the U.S. Government should step up the drug war. This is indicative of why the Republican Party is crumbling, they don’t think things through and smart people are catching on.
I don’t care if you are on the right or the left, rich or poor, Christian or Atheist, black or white, if you value your personal freedom, it is time to stand together and question these people.

Anatomy of Failure

I have readers asking me why I won’t tow the Republican party line, and support John McCain. I’ll tell you why. I don’t agree with John McCain on much of anything. One of those disagreements is the about the drug war.

We’ve had almost 40 years of failed drug policy. In the past, when it was clear our efforts were failing, the politician’s solution was to escalate the war, increase police powers, and further restrict individual liberty. We’ve seen this pattern repeated for decades… escalate the war, the problems grows, react with more escalation, the problem continues to grow, react again, more escalation…

And now the Republican front-runner tells us, once again, that we need more of what hasn’t worked. Isn’t that insanity defined?

The modern war on drugs officially started in the late 60s. The results are in: Abject failure.

Freedom The First Casulaty of War

Whenever an elected official uses the word war, pay attention, because freedom is the first casualty of war. During the US Civil War, Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus for the ‘common good.’ After the war ended, it was restored. During the First and Second World Wars, the government suspended almost every personal and economic liberty. After the wars ended, most of our rights were restored.
Those wars had clear beginnings and ends, but today we have wars which never end. How do we win the war on drugs? How do we win the war on terror?

Meanwhile our leaders tell us we must accept every new encroachment on our personal freedom, because it serves a greater public good. Where will this end? How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice for safety? Why isn’t anyone in power asking these questions?

How Many People Will We Imprision?

Right now we have over 2 million people incarcerated in the US, more than any other nation in the world including Russia and China. How many people are we willing to incarcerate to win the war on drugs? 4 million? 10 million? 20 million? We are fast approaching a point when we will imprison more people than Stalin or Pol Pot.

And how much money are we willing to spend? 100 billion? a trillion? 10 trillion? Are we willing to go bankrupt because we are too stubborn to accept that there might be a better solution?

An Anecdote

In Stillwater Minnesota, in the late 1980s, the US Federal Government seized a family home because a fifteen year old boy sold a hit of acid to a friend in his basement bedroom. This was a kid, not a kingpin. His parents worked their entire lives to pay for that home, and while suffering the anguish of their teenage son’s drug abuse, the government showed its compassion by stealing their home. Back in the day, it was big news, because this gross abuse of power was new. Most people knew it was insane, but they did nothing, and today property seizures have become so common the news doesn’t even report them.

The drug war and the war on terror are stripping us of our civil liberties, and when we protest, politicians like McCain sneer and call us dangerous and crazy. You know what’s dangerous and crazy? Quietly accepting a government which steals from it citizens.

Creative Problem Solving 101

There are five high level steps for planning and executing anything:

  1. Define your purpose and your moral limitations
  2. Visualize and communicate the outcome
  3. Brainstorm
  4. Organize
  5. Act
  6. If you don’t get the deisred results, return to #3 and repeat until you do.

With the war on drugs, the US government skipped step #2, #3, and #4 and went straight to #5.

Like this:
1. Drugs appear to be hurting some people. We have a moral responsibility to do something.
5. Police action

And when these actions didn’t create the desired result, did they regroup and brainstorm? No, they pushed for more of the same. If you listen to John McCain you’d think we are failing because we haven’t imprisoned or killed enough people.

Lack of Vision

What is McCain’s vision for the war on drugs? Does anyone know what desired outcome would look like? Is it a world without drugs? Is that realistic? If so, is it a world without every drug or just some drugs? Who will decide which drugs to eliminate from our lives, us as individuals or a committee in Washington? Maybe his desired outcome is a world without drug users? Or a world where every drug user is locked in a cage? Mao would be proud.

My vision is a day when drug and alcohol use is treated as a potential health issue and not a moral failing.

On a closely related note… Some of my Republican readers can’t understand why I’ve said that Barack Obama may be preferable to McCain.

I’ll tell you why…

No New Ideas

The Republican leadership hasn’t adopted a new idea in almost 30 years, and John McCain is the problem personified. He himself said he doesn’t know much about economics and economic policy is the only reason I’d vote for a Republican. I lean libertarian, and McCain fails every test of personal liberty. I can’t think of a single reason to vote for him.

Why Obama seems preferable right now:

  • He is open to libertarian ideas
  • He is open to decriminalizing marijuana
  • He believes the 2nd amendment guarantees the individual the right to own firearms
  • He is open to ending the war in Iraq
  • His election would do wonders for race relations
  • He admits his failures
  • He has vision
  • He seems to understand the problems in our working classes
  • He’s likable

Why John McCain scares the hell out of me:

  • He said we will stay in Iraq a 100 years if necessary
  • He is planning more wars
  • He wants to step up police powers
  • His economic positions seem to favor large corporations, not free markets
  • He has a bad temper
  • He doesn’t offer anything new

This Isn’t an Endorsement of Obama.

I’m simply warning the mainstream Republicans that they are losing the libertarian wing of the party and it may lead to an Obama victory in November. I have not ruled out voting for Obama. I have ruled out voting for McCain and so has almost every other libertarian leaning voter I’ve met.

The Republican Convention

I am
a delegate to the local Republican convention, and I will support Ron Paul, but don’t kid yourself, he isn’t going to win the nomination. Mark my words… when the national convention comes to Saint Paul, the Republican elites won’t even let Ron Paul speak and I predict that Ron Paul signs won’t be allowed inside the event. Ron Paul supporters will be fenced in outdoors blocks away with all the other protesters in the ‘free speech cage.’

I can’t believe I’m saying this, I abhor socialism, but right now, Obama seems to be our best hope for a positive outcome in the ’08 presidential race. Let’s hope it leads to open minds and better ideas in 2012.

Thanks for reading,

Every time I try to wash my hands of politics, it just gets more interesting.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this feed. I’ve got some fun surprises in store.

The Best Links You May Ever Follow

…if you are an aspiring entrepreneur.

I was turned on to CalacanisCast after listening to a recent podcast of TWIT. Jason Calacanis linked to Blog Maverick where I found some of the best blog posts I have ever read, written by a man who knows what he is talking about:

The Best Equity is Sweat Equity

Success and Motivation

The One Thing in Life You Can Control Effort

The Sport of Business

Warren Buffett Taxes and the Presidency

I’ll stop writing now. I think you have enough to read.

The Solution to All Your Problems

Do you really want to solve them? Are you in debt? Out of work? Hate school? Having problems in your relationships? Legal issues? Are you out of shape? Unhealthy? Do you worry too much? Are you afraid? Do you lack energy? Are you tired all the time? Is your business failing? Maybe your candidate didn’t win the nomination.

We all have problems and there is an answer to most of them.

I am a student of the Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel , the last book Bill Gates read before he dropped out of Harvard, and as I was skimming the forward the other day, this jumped out at me…

The student who learns that all power comes from within, that he is weak only because he has depended on help from the outside, and who unhesitatingly throws himself on his own thought, instantly rights himself, stands erect, assumes a dominant attitude, and works miracles.

This is another way of saying, “Wake up! Take responsibility for your life, your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. Quit blaming. Quit letting other people do your thinking for you. Quit waiting for someone else to fix you. The only thing you control is you!”

The other day, I caught myself thinking, if only the kids were a little older then I could do X. I’ve been making these excuses my entire life! If it wasn’t the kids, it would be something else. It has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with me.

We give other people too much power over our lives. Too often we use other people as the reason we can’t take care of ourselves. Other times we wait for them to fill our needs and expect them to solve our problems, while most of them aren’t even aware of our dependence because we don’t have the courage tell them, so instead of taking charge of our lives, we procrastinate and complain.

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean that you don’t need relationships or other people in your life, you do. What I mean is that you shouldn’t depend on them to feel your personal power. You are powerful no matter what others choose to do, be, or think.

We also rely on material things like clothes, cars, titles, or (put anything but yourself here) to feel powerful. Some of us bury ourselves in debt to obtain these symbols of power, but material things don’t grant you power, they are merely reflections of the creative power you’ve already harnessed. They are an effect not a cause. If we need things to feel powerful we will always feel weak and needy.

All your power comes from within you, it isn’t granted to you by someone else, it is you. You are pure power. You just need to accept it, expand it, and wield it with compassion and love. Personal power is a decision, not a welfare check. It doesn’t show up on the 1st and 15th from George Bush. It is available to you whenever you choose to realize it is already there.

If you are still scratching your head…

Ask yourself… Where did everything ever created by a human being come from? Every invention, every mystery solved, every building, every fashion design, every book, every language, every work of art, every song, every luxury, and every so-called necessity? Every human creation began as a thought.

If you searched deep enough inside yourself you may even find the solution to death and taxes.

You are powerful beyond your wildest dreams. Live.

What on Earth is Wrong With Gravity?

I found this short scientific documentary from the BBC about the mysteries of gravity to be fascinating. It is humbling. We know so little about where we are.

Seth Godin tells us how he writes so many great blog posts

Does the possibility of time travel capture your imagination? Then you’ll love this article.

Badassdad tells us how to have a great day in 10 Ways to Claim Your Day.

We hear so much about climate change. But did you know there is a different scientific take on climate change than you normally hear? Keep your mind open.

Does your credit report need a makeover? 15 ways to improve your credit rating from Jeremy at GenX Finance.

Need a little positive emotion? Some inspiration? Take a look at this beautiful set of photographs from Rarindra Prakarsa.

Do you hate your job? Is it time to quit, but you don’t know what to do? Here is a guide to quitting a miserable job at Pick the Brain.

 

Education vs. Schooling

A Guest Post by Sol Smith

The idea of institutionalized education is something that I have dedicated much of my life to. I have a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and am a few short semesters away from a Doctorate of Education. While I teach students how to write for a living, there are aspects of education that I have major reservations about. As Mark Twain said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” There are, no doubt a myriad of advantages to be found in going to school and earning degrees; it is mostly to doing this that my family owes much of our livelihood. However, for many people who go to school, building up debt and spending valuable years, they will leave with a distinct disadvantage. I don’t mean to be disparaging. Certainly the degree will perform as it should on any resume and speak for the hard work of the owner. But for those who treat a college degree as an “education,” they will leave school more ignorant than when they entered.

The completion of school is not the completion of an education, it is simply a point of departure. If you take a literature class–or major in literature–and suppose that you now know what literature is, there is little that can save you. But if you see what you have learned about literature, and the books that you’ve read, as the topmost part of a mountain that sticks out of the ocean, with millions of works that you will never know no matter how long you continue reading after college under the surface, you’ve come a step closer to understanding what literature is. The same thing goes for all the subjects you can be taught–they can never be fully learned.

The danger comes when someone completes their schooling and makes the mistake of thinking they’re finished. Far from it. A degree comes with it a grave responsibility–to continue a quest for an education for the rest of your life. And this is a grave indeed, since the very awareness of this reality comes with the knowledge that your quest will be a futile one. Your quest is destined to fail, and as you learn more, you should only learn that there is so much more that you haven’t learned.

We don’t tell you this in school. We’re peddling a product. For you to earn your degree, you needn’t learn much. Even to get a doctorate, you don’t have to learn anything original. Instead what you really learn in college–or any other level of schooling–is how to navigate the system. Though you may be exposed to wonderful ideas, works, theories, and discoveries, these are simply side-effects of your primary mission in school: to conform. You will have proven to your educators that you can do everything exactly how they want you to. And that way, you have learned to think like they do. Without the gift of original thought, and armed with the notion that you are now an educated person, you cease to be a force of change and movement in the intellectual universe. In short, you’re not a threat to the status quo, but another cog in the mechanism that will keep the machine running. You will get a fine job, a fine credit card, and work your life to promote the thoughts, ideas, and passions of other people.

This starts in childhood. We are told what things are, and therefore what they are not. We are shown a world of black and white–of binary. But the expanses of our reality and of who you can be and what you can accomplish are not so clear-cut. As parents, we should encourage our children to question the reality we illuminate for them. We need to keep in mind that everything we think we know is hearsay, after all. Interpretations should be welcome and encouraged. As teachers, we should recognize that many of our most gifted students won’t do well in our classes. The general route of shaming them and giving them lower grades to denote their deficiency is a tool of conformity and little else. And as people who wish to be educated, we should realize that we know nothing without experiencing it ourselves. This experience, we should be striving to broaden, with enthusiasm every day. And with this in mind, we can hope that our children will do the same.

Sol Smith is a writer and professor of writing living in The Woodlands, Texas. He has two daughters, Solstice and Luna, and one lovely wife who is probably a much better blogger than he. He makes it a habit of riding his bike to work as often as he can, since he feels that this practice establishes ethos, even though most people don’t ride their bikes at all. He maintains a blog about engaged parenting as a guide to new fathers who want to be more than society feels they should be, at badassdad.com.

Is There a Secret to Creating Wealth? Yes there is

Don’t pay anyone for it. In a minute I’ll give it to you for free.

When you look at your paycheck, do you wish it had an extra zero? Most of us want to make more money. But do you know what it takes? Did you know that many of us are going about it the wrong way?

Let me step back in time and tell you a story…
It’s the 1980s…

Christine and I lived in a housing complex nicknamed “Hell’s Half-Acre.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I was going to make a whopping $4,000 dollars that year.

My rusty old 1980 Ford Grenada just blew a water pump in the parking lot and I had to borrow $20 bucks from a friend to buy a rebuilt.

I changed the pump outside, in the dark, while the temperature plunged near -20 F.

As I pulled away with fingers so numb I couldn’t feel the steering wheel, I saw a guy I had seen many times before. His office shared the parking lot. He was tall, dark, good looking, about my age. He wore tailored Italian suits, owned several different German cars, was frequently surrounded by beautiful women, and that night he left the parking lot in a black 700 series Beamer.

Years later, someone told me the man in the Beamer was Bahram Akradi.

But back then I was angry and I remember thinking…
“How the hell can he have so much while I’m sitting here drenched anti-freeze, frost bit, without a dollar to my name? Where’s the social justice in this shit?”

I don’t think that way today, and I work hard to rid myself of such irrational resentments.

Since then I’ve learned what justice is. True justice is to reap what you sow. And I was harvesting what I had sown and Bahram was harvesting what he had sown. I was still suffering from the delusion that economic rewards were granted by some authority who gave preference from an ivory tower. I still believed that there was some central distributor of wealth who hated me and this was a problem only he could fix.

But I wanted money, and I didn’t have any idea how to get it. I had no plan, and I was blaming everyone but myself.

Let me tell you a secret that I think Bahram knew about money that I didn’t.

You are already wealthy! You have more wealth inside you than you can imagine. You only need to learn how to tap it. That is why freedom and liberty are so important.

Money is an effect, not a cause. Most of us think money is the cause of effects, it isn’t. It is the exact opposite. Money is the effect of doing things a certain way, combining rational knowledge, with positive emotion, to create value for other people. You can be the cause which creates money, but it may require that you change your core habits. The bigger your cause, the more value you create. The bigger the idea, the greater the effect. For Bahram the cause of his money was his obsessive desire to reach an end, the end goal of helping as many people as possible become healthier and stronger.

Bahram was doing the right things to create wealth, I wasn’t.

The simple fact is…
To get more, we have to become more for other people.

Because of old habits, even today, it’s easy for me to forget this core truth.

Money is not an end. It is a means to an end.

Bahram’s end was helping to make other people’s (rear) ends a little smaller. 🙂

Now it’s your decision…
Are you tapping the wealth inside of yourself? How big is your cause? Is it worthy of your capabilities? Of your gifts and talents? Of who you really are?