Live in a Rich Western Country? Read This Now

Every adult in western society should read this article by Motivational Speaker Craig Harper.

He wrote about his experience listening to Bobby Cappuccio speak. Bobby began his life facing extreme obstacles. Obstacles few of us could comprehend.

Stop Whining

After giving us a summary of Bobby’s amazing story, Craig wrote:

To be honest, I am growing less and less tolerant of negative people who constantly whine, bitch, moan and complain about their tough lives. People who live in some of the wealthiest countries on earth, who have never known the hardship that more than half of the world’s population are subjected to every day of their life. People who constantly rationalise, justify and blame but never actually do anything constructive to change their reality. People who major in minors. I regularly get slammed for my hard-core approach to personal development but in truth, I don’t care if people share my philosophy or not.

I’m not interested in popularity, I’m interested in results, respect and life-long change. I don’t care about what people want to hear, I care about what works. We have become a fat and lazy society in every way, not just physically. We don’t like the truth, we don’t like being challenged and we don’t like being uncomfortable. What too many people don’t realise is that it’s the challenges and the discomfort that cause us to grow if, and when, we step up to the plate. As I’ve said before, pain is our greatest teacher if we choose to learn.

Craig Speaks The Truth

Some would say Craig’s words speak intolerance. I say they speak true compassion.

This is exactly why I find most politicians so offensive. For example, a politician will say he is going to fight obesity. How? A politician can’t end your weight problem, only you can. Accept it. There’s no one to blame. Only you can fix it. These nanny state politicians are nothing but enablers. They tell you what you want to hear. They indirectly tell you that you have no control over yourself. But you do have control over yourself. In fact, you are the only thing you do control.

Lyman Reed posted a Jim Rohn quote which ties in to this theme:

I used to say, “If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.” Now I say, “I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me”.

Take Care of Yourself

What does it mean to take care of yourself for others? It means you can’t take care of others, because you can’t control others. I can encourage you to eat healthy food, but if you choose to eat poison, there is nothing I can do for you. See? Your life is your choice. I can give you money, advice, time, love… but it will do you no good unless you willingly accept it and put it to work. There is no shortage of people ready and willing to help others. There is a shortage of people willing to accept help and take responsibility for their actions. No one can change your life, because the choice is yours and yours alone. It doesn’t matter if you want to lose weight, get fit, learn a new trade, change your thinking, manage your anger, fight your addictions, earn more money, or have better relationships. The information and help is available everywhere. It is ubiquitous in our society. But you must decide to take positive action.

It doesn’t matter what you did last year, last month, or yesterday. All that matters is what you do next.

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23 thoughts on “Live in a Rich Western Country? Read This Now”

  1. Steve, steve, steve. YES!
    Personal responsibility is my mantra, and you’ve just nailed it once again.

    I often ask clients, “If you were 100 percent responsible…not as in shame or blame…but truly responsible, what would your next right action be?”

    Moves mountains almost every time.

  2. Hi Steve,

    I really like what you wrote here and I agree 110 percent. We are the only ones who can help ourselves. We are very lucky to live where we do, and yet we seem to hear nothing but complaints.

    The last time I checked, none of my neighbours has been dragged from their homes in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. No, we complain when the price of bananas jumps by 10 cents a pound.

    I forget where I had read it, but I read recently that if you have around $2500 in personal belongings and money, you are ahead of over 95 percent of the people on the planet.

    Yet we complain. Ungrateful people.

    So what to do? Make a positive change for yourself today, and then pass this positive energy on to someone else.

    I had a co-worker ask me a little while ago why I was so happy that day. I said it was because the sun was shining (well, it was!), but it was more.

    I had watched a couple of videos where the speakers discussed coming face to face with mortality.

    After watching these two people (Steve Jobs and Randy Pausch), my whole outlook on life was forever changed. I am very lucky, and I will never forget that.

    It affected me so much that I wrote about it, to share it.

    Thanks again for the words and inspiration.

  3. I agree with you completely. I think everyone is responsible for their current situation(s). The only way to get out of it and make changes for the better is by doing something about. I hate people that complain about stupid things, especially because i know they have no intention of doing anything about it! It is pointless therefore talking about it in the first place.
    Perhaps i am one of those people.

  4. There is an interesting segment in the Robert Cialdini book, Influence: The psychology of persuasion, where he talks about social responsibility. It matches that quaint poem that tells how everybody believes that somebody would do it, and anybody could do it but nobody did it. Cialdini says that if you are having a heart attack in a public place, pick and choose one person and tell them something like, “HELP! You, in the blue shirt, call 911.” instead of just yelling help.

    Steve, you’ve written a moving piece of writing, and many are willing to be committed into a course of action. Would you do the honor of challenging us with a direct “Will you do X”? Call us out – using our specific names – to make some specific positive action.

    Steve Olsen, will you specifically challenge us, your readers (and esp. commenters), with one positive action we can do today?

  5. Bart,
    Looks like you’ve challenged me.

    I like it. Let me ponder the question.

    I’ve thought about a “call to action.” The problem is, I don’t know you well. I don’t know where your specific opportunities are, so making a ‘call to action’ in this case is difficult unless I make it general.

    5,000 people will read this blog today.

    So I will ask myself this question…

    If magically, I did control 5,000 people, what would I have them do today?

    But I don’t know if I like that…

    Because I believe that you know what you need to do. Maybe you need to help a neighbor, become an activist, lose weight, play with your kids instead of work, find some time to make love, medititate, volunteer at a nursing home, start a business, write a book….

    I just don’t know…

    Every action you take creates your future in some way. Are your actions worthy of who you are?

    I need to give it more thought. But I will do it.

  6. Sorry to disagree with all of you, but it is not that simple.

    I agree with most of what has been said, but not all. I find in general that comments like these are from people who have ability, education and a reasonable position in life.

    Unfortunately there are people in this world who are not able for various reasons able to do what you say. Educational, total lack of self esteem, people who in general need help desperately because of their situation, doing three jobs just to stay alive does not leave much time for motivation. No not people in the third world, people in the USA and other so called first world countries.

    Here come the cries of lefty. 🙂 I love it

  7. John,

    Did you read the story about Bobby Cappucio?

    I don’t understand what you are saying. What would you do to fix someone’s self-esteem if they were incapable of having high self-esteem? What would you do educate someone who was incapable of being educated? What would you do to help a person who was incapable of working anything other than three jobs just to stay alive? Are you saying they are incapable of anything else? Sure there are ‘hard cases’ – people with mental illness or other disabilities that are incapable of doing certain things. But that is the exception, what I’m saying here, is that if YOU want YOUR life to change YOU have to take control of YOURSELF.

    Who else is going to do it?

    If you want to change your life, there are three possibilities. You change, you’re incapable of change, or you are unwilling to change.

    I suppose there are people who want to change and are incapable of change, but I’d say they are a small percentage of the people who want to change.

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be people helping you change. But you MUST be willing to accept YOUR responsibility to change.

    I watched Craig’s speech on his website. He said he was working with a guy (bloke) who wanted to lose a lot of weight. They went through his diet and Craig told him he need to cut X,X,X, and X out of his diet, to which he replied, “But I need to have a life. I can’t cut those things out.”

    What Craig was saying is that cutting 4 foods out of your diet, is nothing compared to the obstacles Bobby Cappuccio overcame. It is nothing in comparison.

    My point is that politicians give excuses to 99% of the population and then hold up the few hard cases as examples why we are incapable of taking care of ourselves. And the problem is that it it permeating every corner of our society. I’ve heard people who own two brand new cars and a McMansion complain that they need free goalie equipment for their kids. It is a sad state of affairs.

  8. As I said, there was a lot I agreed with, but it can not be a blanket statement.

    It could be said to follow along with you that a person has raised their self esteem by working three jobs to exist as best they can under the circumstances. However, these would be the very people who would benefit from government aid of whatever sort, guidance, mentoring etc, because let’s admit it, in that position you can not see wood for trees.

    As an aside I have never met anyone who was not capable of being educated in some form or another.

    Thanks for the blog. I visit many blogs but yours is the only one I subscribe to. Good stuff.

  9. Hey Steve.
    Nice Post!
    You summarized my thoughts exactly. I recently wrote an article on Lifehack.org called Living in Fat City where I outlined some facts about obesity. This article received a lot of critism such as “I’m afraid I have to disagree with the idea that it (obesity) all boils down to self-control.”

    This does not surprise me!

    I’ve been dealing with people’s eating related issues, destructive habits and destructive relationships for over 25 years and I can tell you that life, for the majority of us, is about choices.

    When I meet people like Bobby Cappuccio it reinforces to me that we cannot change the past, regardless of how bad it was, but we can make significant choices now to improve our situation into the future.

    One of the greatest things that stops us is FEAR.

    Keep up the great work Steve and remember everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  10. Continuing the thread of John’s comments…
    I was recently at a daylong workshop with Byron Katie–whom I would call the queen of personal responsibility–and a gentleman in the audience rose to his feet and said, “Wait a minute. Are you claiming that all those folks in Darfur have choice? Are you claiming that they are responsible for the atrocities, mayhem and murder?”

    Byron Katie came off the stage and joined him in the audience face to face and said, “I hear a profound and deep concern in your questions. Almost a yearning. Would that be true?”

    He said, “yes.”

    She said, “Right now, I can be with you, and you only. So my question to you is, what are you, sir, you, willing to take responsibility for in this moment? What are you claiming?”

    After about 40 minutes of inquiry and process, he claimed his commitment to be a stand, a voice, a worker, a champion, a participant in the lives of citizens in Darfur.

    Lest you read this as a syrupy leftie “let’s show the heathens how to live their lives in choice” kind of commitment, I assure you it wasn’t the case. The man got, in that work that day, that personal transformation is what would make it possible to find his commitment to a greater purpose, and to work in solution.

    The world is literally dying for us to wake up. And we are. One conversation at a time.

  11. Those are some great points. People are generally resistant to change and growth. They like comfort and security. Change causes them to feel uncomfortable which is why the resist. But we need to grow and evolve, otherwise why even be alive in the first place?

  12. Kicking in the ass motivation seems to be what people need or want. I try to guide them but they want their asses kicked. So that is the direction I’m going.

  13. Like my mother used to tell my brother and me: “When you’re perfect, you can tell others what to do.” Well, I’m far from perfect, and, as an attorney, I’m telling others what to do all the time. They don’t have to listen, of course.

    And that’s the point. People don’t have to listen and many don’t.

    John’s outlook, without trying to overstate it, is horrible for a society. He would “empower” everyone, at the moment of their choosing, to be a victim so others can be blamed and somebody else enlisted to solve their problems. You simply can’t run society that way with creating a grievance culture.

    We aren’t talking about the physically or mentally hopeless. If people were more or less assured only those people were being “given” society’s largess, you would have many happy givers. When it appears that ingrates take, not only with no thanks, but demanding more or else it isn’t a “just” society—well, you’ve lost me and millions of others.

    I’d like to see one welfare receipient stand up and thank the American system. Doesn’t happen.

  14. Steve,

    I am a recent subscriber and have found myself looking forwrad to reading your posts when I see them in my inbox. However, I felt the need to respond to this post.

    I am a mom of 41/2 year old g/b twins and I am very concerned about how to best teach them the skills they will need to transition into happy, successful and independent adults. I have done years of research and have even created my own product to teach kids.

    What I learned from Craig Harper’s site confirmed for me that I am on the right track. The best gift you can give your child, or anyone for that matter, is a strong mind. If you understand, truly understand, that the mind works in a specific way, then you will be able to lead a happy and fulfilled life. Your thoughts create your feelings which create your actions. If you ask yourself the right questions, see Craig Harper’s site, your life is propelled in a totally different direction. If you can teach yourself to do this on a regular basis (I know, easier said than done) life is much more enjoyable. My children are already learning how to do this.

    Thank you so much for bringing this site to our attention!

  15. Wonderful post Steve.

    Let’s hear it for a big dose of truth that wakes us up!

    Do we want to hear pleasantries that lull us to sleep, and help us pretend that we’re doing something meaningful, or do we want to hear the truth, and go out and do something meaningful?

  16. Preach on, Steve! People would rather have someone do it for them, and a politician will promise the world for a vote.

  17. nate makes a great point about politicians. But while we have our heads down doing for ourselves, let’s not lose sight of what those politicians are doing and Jefferson’s warning to posterity about the nature of government to keep growing. So, let’s not fall asleep and let a socialist win the White House or, for that matter, any seat in congress! If necessary, hold your nose and vote for the most conservative, capitalist, and liberty loving candidate possible. Nobody’s perfect, but we can start moving in that direction.

    And Kim, great post and, in all honesty, you might have the most important message of all. We have instilled in our daughters the same way of thinking and it truly has made all the difference for them in their lives. I’m not familiar with Craig Harper, but we started with personal responsibility as a starting point and have them reason for there.

    It reminds me that if we all just tried to focus on our own business of life, what a wonderful world this would be.

  18. It’s true … whining gets you nowhere … but passion does. Hot passion (for ideas … not what you’re thinking!) leads to massive action … massive action produces incredible results.

    I’m living proof, going from ($30k) in debt to $7mill. cash in the bank (plus investments, etc.) in only 7 years.

    Hint: it didn’t come from moaning about how tough my life was …

  19. I also agree with Steve; and I believe this concept can be backed up by Psychology. I’ve had many discussions about this with friends and noticed people don’t like to hear that “your life is your choice”. It’s a harsh statement for some people, even if it’s true. I would always get the “how about the underprivileged in our society?”. And I would rebate with “and how about the underprivileged that ARE actually acting on their life and evolving into a better situation?”. So, in brief, I think people get confused thinking that when we say “your life is your choice”, we mean nobody needs help, that the government should stop helping in any way, etc. That’s not it. EVERYBODY needs help. And help is available everywhere, I believe, in all forms and shapes. But, sometimes people are not ready, and don’t take that help. Should we blame them? Probably not. But, ultimately, he or she will have to ACT on whatever they need to move on to a better situation. This is the same with any human being. If they need education, yes, the government could help, but after they get it, they still have to act. People confuse the external help (or action) with the internal one, which is the one that ultimately produces results. Ultimately, with or without help, the action has to come from the individual, otherwise, the world would be easy to fix, right? I know it’s a little philosophical but very important point to understand, and one day I think everybody will.

    To finish, I have one example that I observed in my neighborhood: I live in a diverse neighborhood, with a higher percentage of African descendants, but also lots of Latin-Americans (mostly Mexicans) and also caucasians. Everyday, anytime of the day, there are always groups of people, circulating, talking, hanging up. I notice 99.9% of them is of African ascendance. After seeing this so many times, I couldn’t help but wonder if those people didn’t work, or if they didn’t have an occupation or things they had to do and how they managed to spend the whole day there and not work, like the rest of us. Then, I answered to myself: they are underprivileged and they probably have difficulty finding jobs and getting their life together. But then, I thought: so is the Latin population in this city (Seattle) and they are nowhere to be seen. Do you guys know why? I do.

  20. hmm… I am really impressed by your thinking and I really appriciate you. You are right man, most of the people do nothing but they also want some changes but in this way they can’t get anything and they can’t do with that. Opportunities are always thier but problem is to avail them. If some one wants to change his or her life style and living so he or she should do something instead of walking and talking

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