Last night, I watched The Secret on Netflix. Despite this movie/documentary being made in 2006, and despite me working in the personal development world, I’d never seen it before.
I’d heard a lot about it. I knew that it’d been a personal development phenomenon – selling 30 million copies of the book – and introducing a new audience to the self-help world. I also had a good idea what The Secret was about – hence me never watching or reading it. However, I was slightly sceptical.
I’d heard a lot of criticism about The Secret and The Law of Attraction. Pseudoscience or New Age nonsense is a label that’s commonly applied. I believed it was too simplistic. Miracles manifesting in a matter of months. It didn’t measure up with my experience of changing my life. However, despite all this, I was pleasantly surprised when watching the film.
My only criticism was the production of the documentary (and on a tight budget the producers can be forgiven for this). Some of it did come across as a little cheesy and dated and the ‘movie sections’ lacked polish, giving the film a ‘made for TV’ feel. However, Hollywood gloss isn’t the reason people are watching The Secret, so let’s explore its message.
The Law of Attraction gets a lot of criticism. The main gripe is that it isn’t really a scientific Law. Unlike The Law of Gravity or the speed of light etc. . it, SO FAR, it hasn’t been proved. Does this mean it lacks credibility? Furthermore, Is everything that can’t be proved by science worthless?
It’s interesting that, to my knowledge, The Law of Attraction hasn’t been disproved either. The fact is, it hasn’t been tested. Nobody has conducted a series of experiments to check the validity of its claims. Perhaps, and this is why we have no results or findings, we presently don’t have the technology to make any measurements. We can’t see the direct correlation between a raise in mood or energy and subsequent positive events occurring in a person’s life.
I’m sceptical of science. I don’t doubt that it’s discovered some amazing things about how our world works, and brought advances that have massively helped the cause of humanity. However, I don’t agree with the God like status that scientists, doctors etc. are granted in our society and I certainly don’t believe they know all the answers.
As an interesting aside, the speed of light isn’t actually a constant. Despite scientists telling us it’s fixed at 299 792 458 m / s, there’s a lot of evidence to suggests it varies. (Dr. Rupert Sheldrake talks about this in his book and talk ‘The Science Delusion’ if you want to conduct further research.)
Anyway, back to my point. Just because science hasn’t proved The Law of Attraction, doesn’t mean it’s without merit. The basic idea is that YOU attract the circumstances and conditions of your life through the way you think and feel. You have an energy or, vibrational frequency, and this is transmitted to the Universe which responds with the physical equivalent.
It’s both an interesting, and liberating, theory. It means that, through your thoughts and feelings, you can direct and shape your life in a way you desire. You can be happy, healthy, achieve all your goals and experience love. There is nothing stopping you apart from the mastery of this ‘law’.
While The Law of Attraction can’t scientifically be described as a ‘law’; it operates close enough to this definition to be effective. I’ve turned my entire life around through changing my thoughts and feelings. On many occasions, which I’ve documented in a diary spanning 16 years, I’ve changed the outcome of a tennis match, my ability to attract women, injuries and my ability to help clients, through raising my energy. There was a direct correlation. Higher energy (better mood) = improved outcomes. I don’t need a scientist to tell me this. I’ve conducted my own experiments and proved it to myself.
The Secret gives an excellent and easily applied explanation of The Law of Attraction. Think about the outcome you desire as much as possible and feel how you would feel if this outcome came to pass. Furthermore, always think about what you want. If you ever catch yourself thinking about the things you don’t want, then immediately correct this thinking and redirect it towards to something positive.
A major criticism of The Secret is that it claims each individual is responsible for ALL the events and outcomes in their life. This means that if you have cancer or a failed relationship, or get fired from your job, it’s because of something you thought and felt for a sustained period of time.
This triggers a lot of people. It’s an uncomfortable truth that challenges their notion of being a blameless victim. ‘I don’t deserve this’ they say. It’s cruel.
To some extent, I agree. You would never say to someone who has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, ‘you brought it on yourself.’ However, I think people who despise The Secret or The Law of Attraction for this reason are missing the point.
Rather than blaming you for what has happened, you’re being given the key to change and recover. The film documents two cases of people who have bounced back from life threatening situations by using The Law of Attraction. The first, is a lady who healed herself of breast cancer in 3 months. The second, is a man who recovered from a plane crash that broke his back and crushed his diaphragm.
So, rather than focusing on blame, think about responsibility. If you take total responsibility for all the events and circumstances in your life, irrespective of how bad they are, you can then start to move towards a solution.
Finally, the issue of time scales must be addressed. On this point, I am slightly critical of The Secret. In the film, the author Jack Cranfield talks about how he manifested a $100,000 income in a matter of months. It all seems so easy.
My experience has been anything but. I’ve struggled for 16 long years to turn my life around. I’ve been successful, but it’s been the fight of my life. To see people talking about realising their desires in less than half a year is difficult to comprehend.
Again, though, this could just be a fault in my approach. Notice how I use the words ‘struggle’ and ‘fight’ in my previous paragraph. The Law of Attraction indicates that if one believes they need to struggle and fight against their conditions then they’ll receive more of this experience. Perhaps my own slow progress is a result of the internal battle that has been raging inside me throughout this time. And, if I could just believe with greater clarity, then I’d have achieved my desires far more quickly.
I can accept this criticism. In fact, I want to believe it because of the opportunity it presents. If I can let go of the struggle, then the possibilities for rapid manifestation are very appealing.
In conclusion, I couldn’t find much to fault in The Secret. Yes, The Law of Attraction isn’t a bonafide scientific law, but that won’t stop it from working in your life. My advice is to USE IT!
Earlier in the year, I was speaking to a friend who works at prestigious multinational bank. He’s young (about 23), and passed through their graduate training programme to land a top job. The starting salary was an impressive amount in the high five figures.
He wasn’t happy though. A typical working day sees him wake at around 5.30am and, sometimes, return home at 9pm. Occasionally, he’s also required to work at the weekend.
Oppressive working hours weren’t his only complaint. He also mentioned a lack of interest in his work, contending with office politics and having to deal with asshole bosses and managers.
This got me thinking. He had, what society would consider (but I don’t), a great job. Furthermore, he was already earning a lot of money and his salary would only continue to grow (perhaps it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch of the imagination to see him earning upwards of £150,000 by the time he turned 30). However, despite his position and financial prospects, he felt stressed, overworked and unsatisfied.
Is this the route to financial freedom?
Work your ass off in, what society considers, one of the top jobs available, amass a ton of money, and, if you’re lucky, retire early at the age of 50.
A closer look at the implications of earning a large salary, and the cost of living, reveal that The System’s dream of early retirement could be hollow.
To start with, a salaried job will require you to pay a lot of income tax. Depending on which country you live in, you might only see £65,000 out of the £100,000 you earn.
Then there’s the mortgage or rent. Of course, this figure will depend on your earning potential. However, it’s not uncommon to be paying 25% of your income (after tax) on putting a roof over your head.
Then, when you factor in the rising cost of food, transport, holidays, the debt you might be paying off from university and socialising, even the highest grossing salaries leave little to be saved or invested.
This isn’t all, though, as these figures say nothing about the phenomena of keeping up with the Jones’s. The more money you earn, the greater your expenses. If your social circle all possess a four or five-bedroom house, several large cars and holiday at exclusive resorts, it can appear a necessity that you do the same.
Being unable to resist peer pressure will take a huge chunk out of your freedom fund – the money saved to ensure you’re never obligated to work a job you don’t enjoy, either by making smart investments or launching a business you’re passionate about.
So, even if you earn £100,000 a year, when you factor in all these costs, perhaps you’re only left with £10,000.
Not bad, you might be thinking, but how long is that going to last?
Even after 10 years, you’ve only got £100,000. Will that be enough to support you for the rest of your life?
When you analyse The System’s Path a little closer, it begins to seem like a trap. The massive cost of living, whether by design or not, keeps you within it and dependent upon it. If someone earning £100,000 a year, within the top 2% to 3% of salaried incomes in the UK (according to IFS calculations using the Family Resources Survey 2011 – 2012), finds it difficult to escape, then what hope is there for the average person?
Not much, and this is my point. If you’re looking to win your financial freedom through The System, then you’re looking in the wrong place. Even if you follow all the rules (get great grades at school, your shiny degree and the kind of job that would make your parents proud), it’s still likely you’ll be waiting until you’re 50 to be free.
So, what are your options?
Before we go any further, you must enlarge your definition of financial freedom. It’s not exclusively about earning enough money so you never have to work again. It also means living a life where money doesn’t determine your decisions. For example, you work a job you love doing, irrespective of the amount it pays.
Think back to the previous two examples of my friend at JP Morgan, and the theoretical £100, 000 a year salaried worker. Neither are financially free. Despite both earning a lot of money, they are still trapped by their need to make it.
My friend doesn’t work at JP Morgan because he loves being there. He works there because he gets paid a lot and has the prospect of earning even more. He trades his time for money. Therefore, he isn’t financially free (and won’t be for many years to come, despite increases in salary) because money dictates one of his major life decisions and compels him to spend time doing something he doesn’t enjoy.
Ironically, your salary could be a third of my friends, yet because you love your work, you experience greater financial freedom.
This is a liberating message. If you can ignore societies’ conditioning, telling you that to enjoy your life, or be of value, you need a certain standard of living, then you have the opportunity to be financially free. Find a job or, more likely, create a role that you love doing and spend every day of your life stimulated and engaged.
Surely that’s worth having one less zero in your bank account at the end of the year?
You may feel that I’m being presumptuous in my financial assessment of doing the work you love. Who says that you won’t end up making a lot of money and outstripping the employed high fliers? In fact, doing the work you love seems to be the only route to become mega rich.
Society is divided into three sections. First, you have the poor. They struggle to survive (and sometimes don’t) or live off the welfare state.
Then you have the largest section of society that, whether willingly or not, follow The System’s Path. The degree of wealth within this category varies greatly. At one end of the spectrum, you have those with no savings or investments and, possibly, living in debt. However, despite having low paid jobs, they still manage to function in society, follow the rules and accept the social norms.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have people like the two I highlighted in my earlier example. Society considers them rich, yet they are not financially free. They still live a life where, the majority time, they’re doing something they don’t want to do. They just get more handsomely rewarded than the rest.
The final section is the mega rich. Irrespective of age, they have the kind of wealth that means if they didn’t want to work another day in their life, they wouldn’t have to. With the exception of breaking the law (and even then, they can sometimes buy their freedom), they can do what they want to do, when they want to do it. They’re the multi-millionaires and billionaires and they share one strange thing in common.
Unless their wealth is inherited, they reached their exalted position by rejecting The System’s Path. They refused to conform and, instead, followed their ‘crazy’ dream or idea. Think Richard Branson dropping out of school and starting his record label. Think Jeff Bezos resigning from a well-paid, secure corporate job and risking it all to set up an online shop. Think of the countless sports stars who, as children, get told their dream is a one in a million shot, yet still follow it and eventually make their way into the professional ranks. All of them defy the conventional logic of the society they live in, yet all of them end up financially free.
So, what’s the message?
If you have a ‘crazy’ dream, or idea, that has the potential to make millions, then go for it. Despite The System’s protestations, you haven’t got much to lose.
What’s the alternative?
Working your ass off for thirty or, more likely, forty or fifty years doing a job you don’t enjoy just so you can stay afloat or, at best, be comfortably well-off. Why not give yourself a shot at true financial freedom by pursuing the only path that promises virtually unlimited wealth?
Either way, as long as you make a minimal amount of money to cover your expenses, you win.
With enough time, you might succeed and create your fortune. And even if you don’t, or it takes you longer than you expect, you still get to spend your days feeling stimulated and alive.
I hope this blog post has got you thinking. Following The System’s Path is not going to lead to your financial freedom.
If you want a safer life, where you can, largely, remain in your comfort zone, then choose this option. However, don’t make this decision thinking you can use the corporate ladder to slowly increase your salary to the point where you can retire early and walk off into the sunset.
One way or another, it will end up using you!
(Image taken from Keith Cooper photostream at flickr.com)
Did you know that you only have 5% conscious control over your daily actions and decisions?
The other 95%, according to neuroscientists, is determined by your subconscious programming. This means that when you choose what to eat, perform in a presentation, compete in a contest, sleep at night and interact with loved ones, you have very little direct scope to influence the outcome.
Instead, what occurs is decided by your subconscious programming. This is determined by years of repeating certain actions (e.g. practising a musical instrument), behaviour (e.g. always choosing fatty foods) and also the beliefs you’ve adopted about yourself and the world.
There’s a problem with this 5%/95% balance. So that you don’t have to learn important skills and, even language, from scratch every time you engage in a task, you have evolved to run mainly on autopilot. However, it’s likely you’ve had little influence over part of the programming that controls you when in this mode.
Of course, you can repeat actions over and over and, thereby, learn a skill, but the proficiency with which you use that skill will be determined by your beliefs. Most of these beliefs (unless you are an exceptionally conscious being and have been since early childhood) will have seeped into your programming unconsciously.
Consider The System we’ve been raised in and you’ll see why this is a problem. We’ve been taught that so much is impossible and that we have weaknesses and limits. Furthermore, we receive conditioning through the various influential figures in our lives – parents, teachers, bosses, popular people we want to impress, girlfriends or boyfriends, religious leaders, therapists – who comment on our ability and worth. If their influence is strong enough, then we’ll believe what they say, whether their comments are true or false, positive or negative.
I hope the picture’s getting clearer. A person running largely on autopilot, receiving a large amount of negative environmental conditioning, over which (especially at a young age), they have little ability to filter out, ends up feeling powerless and frustrated.
Have you ever felt like this?
If so then I want you to know you’re not a victim to chance, God or genetics. Furthermore, your life isn’t doomed to play out the way it always has. There is a means to unlocking your potential and living the life you want but you need to be aware of The System’s manipulation.
In this article, I’m going to explain the ceiling it imposes on you and show you how to break free. For if a lack of understanding about the power of belief can shrink your opportunities, then clarity will open the gates to a life beyond your wildest dreams.
The placebo effect provides the most compelling evidence of the power of belief. Throughout medical history, there are numerous documented cases of patients reporting healings, or that their symptoms have disappeared, after treatment with ‘fake drugs’ and, even, ‘fake surgery’. Of course, the patient doesn’t know this at the time. They believe they are the recipient of the correct medical intervention and respond as if it is so.
Take an example from the 2002 New England Journal of Medicine. In this case, prominent knee surgeon Dr Bruce Moseley, conducted an experiment on three groups of patients, all of whom experienced osteoarthritis of the knee.
Dr Mosely had enjoyed great success with his previous surgeries and wanted to discover exactly which part of the procedure was effective. Therefore, with the first control group, he shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee. In the second, he flushed out the knee joint, removing material thought to be causing inflammation. With the final group, he did nothing. He performed a fake surgery, making the standard incisions but carrying out no medical procedure. Of course, the final group were led to believe they’d received ground-breaking surgery and were put on the same postoperative care program as the other two.
The third groups knee conditions improved to the same level as the first two!
Take a moment to let that sink in. It means that belief played just as powerful a healing role as surgery.
Can your mind fathom that?
The System we’re raised in teaches us that physical injury or illness needs a physical cure. We’re like machines. If one part doesn’t work then you take it out, either replacing it with a new one or removing altogether.
Yet here we have an example proving there’s a force beyond the physical that also plays a role in healing. The mind, if convinced of the truth, can compel the body to produce a healing effect.
With this kind of power, what else do you think it could do (or more pertinently, prevent you from doing) if manipulated or harnessed in the correct way?
Let’s explore that question.
The above example was taken from a book called, The Biology of Belief, written by Dr Bruce Lipton. Further on, he provides another fascinating example but this time concerning the power of a nocebo – the reverse of the placebo effect where a suggestion or diagnosis causes illness when there was no physical cause.
In this example, a patient called Sam Londe was treated for a believed case of esophageal cancer. At the time (1974), the medical establishment believed this form of the disease to be fatal. Nothing could be done but ease the patients suffering and prolong their life before an inevitable death. His Doctor, Clifton Meador, treated him with this belief, and although initially helped Londe, was certain that the cancer would return.
Sadly, there were no surprises or miracle healings in this example. Londe died a few weeks after his diagnosis. However, there was a big surprise when the results of the autopsy were revealed.
It turned out that Londe had very little cancer in his body. There were a couple of spots on the liver, and one on the lung, but not enough to kill him. Furthermore, there was no trace of the esophageal cancer that was believed to be the cause of his death. Dr Meador told the Discovery Channel, ‘He died with cancer, but not from cancer.’
So, what killed him?
We can only conclude that it was the power of belief. The Doctor, an influential and powerful figure in society, presented Londe with a diagnosis that was not true. However, because of his status, Londe had not thought to question the Doctor’s diagnosis and instead, accepted it for the truth.
What followed was Londe’s death. Although there was not enough cancer present in his body to kill him, he’d developed a belief that there was. Due to this programming, his body was compelled (via the 5%/95% mechanism) to act upon this belief.
I’ve included these two examples in a deliberate attempt to blow your mind. I want you to understand the role the power of belief can play in your life, often without you realising it. I believe The System, either accidently or deliberately, uses the power of belief to blind you from how amazing life could be, both for you individually, and humanity.
Another reason for the second examples inclusion was to demonstrate the power we accredit the people The System considers influential. Do you think that if a friend told Sam Londe he had esophageal cancer and, therefore, had no chance of recovery, then his body would have responded in the same manner?
It’s unlikely. It was because the role of Doctor is so respected in our society, and seen as a keeper of knowledge that ordinary mortals do not possess, that his suggestion about the terminal nature of the cancer carried so much weight.
When you consider that Doctors are just one of many influential figures our system ascribes a significant influence over our minds, you begin to see the extent of the problem. When these voices combine, telling us how the world is, and what our opportunities are within it, a model of our possibilities is created in our minds. And much like the diagnosis the Doctor gave Sam Londe, this model shuts us down.
We no longer need the nine tenths of our brain we famously don’t access because, apparently, our possibilities are so limited. In fact, we hardly need anything at all to function in The System’s world. Just work hard and comply. Our creativity, innovation, imagination, personality and uniqueness have no purpose because we’ve been led to believe that a world where our dreams come true is pure fantasy.
So, how do you free yourself from The System’s manipulation and harness the power of belief so you can do whatever you want with your life?
This story, taken from Brett Moran’s book, Wake The F#ck Up, will point you in the right direction,
‘In Southeast Asia, elephants are still used for transportation. At the end of each day, the elephant handlers prevent them from running away by looping a thin piece of rope around one of their legs and attaching it to the ground using a small stick. Do you think the elephants, capable of moving massive loads, couldn’t simply pull out the stick and do a runner? Of course they could, so why don’t they?
When the Elephants are young they are restrained by hefty ropes and no matter how hard they struggle and pull they can’t escape. Over time they give up fighting and by the time they reach adulthood they have been conditioned to believe they can’t move when they’re tied up, even though the smallest of tugs would set them free.’
You are the elephant; wise, mighty and powerful.
Realise this, pull your rope out of the ground and do whatever the hell you want!
(image taken from DavidBlackwell stream flickr.com)
I’m currently watching ‘Beyond The Flood’. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and focuses on the devastation being caused by climate change. For today, 30th October, it’s free on a ton of different devices and on YouTube. My advice is to watch it.
It’s shocking, heartbreaking and disgusting. I don’t know what to think about humanity. It honestly leaves me with a feeling of revulsion that we knowingly continue to use sources of energy that are destroying the planet at an alarming rate. It’s beyond criminal.
I just saw this statistic. 50% of the oceans coral reefs have been destroyed in the last 30 years. 80% of the tropical forests in Indonesia have been burned and cleared so that corporations can grow palm trees to provide palm oil in most of our products, both food and cleaning.
I feel helpless and enraged at the same time. I studied Politics at University. I wanted to go into it when I left but I saw it as futile. I didn’t want to be a Yes man in the Conservative or Labour Party and I believed the party I believed in – The Green Party – was so far from ever making an impact that it was pointless. Instead, I thought I’d get into personal development – a field I love. I thought I’d become successful in that and then, using my profile, I’d be able to transition into Politics and have an impact. Writing that seems laughable. What impact am I really having?
Anyway, there are some small measures we can all take to make a difference. It’s unlikely governments are going to take a lead on climate change because they’re in the pocket of big business. Ruthless scumbag industrialist like the Koch brothers in the USA (who really should go down in history alongside Hitler and Stalin) own a large portion of the fossil fuel industry and lobby government to make sure no measures are taken that would harm their interests and promote the protection of the environment. Therefore, it’s up to us to make a change. Here’s what I do (and I’m very very far from perfect).
Buy mainly organic food
Observe meat free Monday
Limit my beef consumption to only one meal a week
Use a green electricity supplier (Ecotricity)
Didn’t fly at all in 2015
Refuse to buy shares and invest in companies that are unethical (which means virtually all of them)
Don’t work for unethical companies
Negatives and things to be improved:
Flew twice in 2016
Still eat way too much meat
Drive a petrol car
Have way too many hygiene, toiletries, cleaning and food products containing palm oil
My banking is done with HSBC
(image taken from Jan Smith photostream flickr.com)
Do you have any idea what you are truly capable of?
Can you grasp the awesomeness of the life you could be living RIGHT NOW?
You, yes YOU, were born with the potential to be great and have all the resources needed to be happy, loved and wealthy.
What, then, causes the vast majority of us to lose sight of the bigger picture? What causes us to lose belief in ourselves, suppress our calling and make the majority of our decisions based on a fear of what could go wrong, rather than the possibility of what we stand to gain?
This invisible prison, comprising all the things we’re told by our parents, teachers, bosses, friends, colleagues, the media, government and religious leaders (concerning what can and can’t be done and what’s acceptable and what’s not) sets boundaries in our minds regarding life and our possibilities within it.
For some, though, it’s impossible. They know there’s got to be more to life but, sadly, can’t define what it is or lack a belief they can achieve it. In short, they feel trapped.
If this describes you then I have something very important to share. There IS a way to break free. There is a way to access all of your potential so you no longer have to accept the life The System presents you with and can, instead, create your own.
To do this, you have to free your mind from The System’s conditioning. It traps you in 5 key areas that I will now explain.
We worry about getting old; we worry about illness or developing a life threatening disease. We worry about losing our jobs and not having enough money to pay the bills. We worry about failing at work, in our hobbies and with our dreams.
We are constantly projecting ourselves into the future and imagining events going wrong.
Where does all this worry come from?
Is it a natural human condition?
It exists because we exist in an environment of fear. Newspapers, and the wider media, are always telling us about what’s going wrong in the world. Our parents and teachers inform us of the consequences of not studying hard at school. Employers and colleagues play on the fear of being out of work.
What happens when you are conditioned into accepting these outlooks?
You stop taking risks. You stop taking advantage of opportunities because all you imagine, when contemplating action, is failure.
The solution to this problem is letting go. Using awareness and discipline, you must monitor your thoughts on a daily basis and remind yourself to let go whenever a fearful projection of what might happen in the future arises.
Do this and you’ll learn that 85% of your fears about what might happen never occur. And even if you do make a mistake, the chances are that you’ll be able to use it to your advantage or, at the very least, learn from it and improve.
In my book, I talk about ‘The System’s trance’. This term describes a state of consciousness where we’re permanently distracted by various information streams.
When in ‘The System’s trance’, it’s possible to spend an entire day without any form of deeper thought. You get ready for work while listening to the radio. While commuting, you’re reading the newspaper. While at work, you’re focusing on the job at hand but also browsing the internet and scoping out social media. The journey home might involve plugging into your song catalogue. When you get back, it could be an evening of TV or box sets.
What happens when you live this way?
You end up living in a permanent state of distraction. You jump from one information stream to the other, getting a brief buzz from being momentarily entertained, yet never experiencing any peace and, more importantly, struggling to focus your thoughts.
You need your mind to be able to escape The System. Your ability to get clear on what you want, and then focus obsessively on achieving it, is the number 1 factor in determining whether you will be authentically successful.
So what can you do to break ‘The System’s trance’?
Clearly, you’ll want to keep your engagement in the information streams listed to a minimum. Beyond that, you must take time to harness the power of your mind. Meditation to clear your thoughts is great, but you’ll also have to set aside time to really focus on what you want to achieve.
Most people spend their lives unable to be who they want to be, or take the action they want to take, or say the thing they really feel because they are worried about what other people will think.
Playing on this fear is one of The System’s most effective strategies for keeping us trapped. From our teenage years, we’re taught that ‘fitting in’ is the path to being popular and happy and as a result, a pathological fear of standing out develops. The safest policy appears to be filtering our actions and words in such a way that we’ll never offend and be acceptable to all.
If we don’t follow this approach, we’re told, we risk being branded a troublemaker, weird or an outsider. All kinds of problems occur when we get stuck with one of these labels. Our options for socialising diminish, our circle of friends shrinks and we end up spending more and more time on our own.
As unappealing as these outcomes may seem, though, there are consequences to allowing a worry of what other people think dictate your decisions and behaviour. A lack of spontaneity, an inability to express genuine concerns and an unwillingness to be seen to fail will all stop you from advancing your life.
The best way to overcome this worry is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Do the thing you fear being ridiculed for and you’ll discover your fear was disproportionate to the reaction you actually receive.
After-all, most people are far too preoccupied with their own lives, and themselves, to spare you a second thought. Use this to your advantage.
As children, we’re taught that we need to get good grades so we can go to University. At University, we’re told that we need to get a degree so that we can land a so-called ‘good job’. However, when we get the job (assuming you do), the chase isn’t over. We now have to seek promotion after promotion so that we can earn enough money to retire as early as possible. When we retire though, we’re so burnt out from a lifetime of chasing that we can never really enjoy the moment.
The System teaches you to want things. Accumulating more and more of them is the route to happiness. The problem with things, though, is that you always have to work towards them. As a result, it’s very hard not to spend a lot of your life focused on the future.
This saps your energy. Chasing after something you don’t have involves struggle. It also dulls your happiness and damages your ability to enjoy the present. Worst of all, it places you in the wrong mind-set to be successful. After-all, how can you achieve your goals when you approach them from a position of lack?
The solution to The System’s trap of chasing is to regularly practice living in the now! Enjoy each moment as much as you possibly can. Let go of all of your worries and stop seeing your happiness and success as being dependent on you achieving something in the future. Do this, and not only will you have more fun, you’ll also find you have more energy for the goals you want to achieve.
Did you know that one of your greatest resources for authentic success is non-conformity?
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? However, have you ever noticed how the people celebrated by society are the ones who are not afraid of being themselves? They don’t play by the rules and they don’t keep their heads down. Instead, they embrace who they are and they allow their personalities to shine.
Perhaps the best example of this is Muhammad Ali. At first, the 20th centuries greatest non-conformist was reviled by many sections of American society. However, as the time passed, and he insisted on staying true to himself and his beliefs, he attained an adoration that can only be achieved when you’re living from an authentic place.
The problem is, though, that The System will do everything in its power to make you afraid, and ashamed, of being yourself. It plays on one of your greatest fears – being rejected – to cow you into conformity. You’re taught that uniqueness is something to be mocked and that expressing opinions, or following interests, that run counter to what’s considered popular is uncool.
The consequences of bowing to this pressure are spending your days living someone else’s life. Whether it’s the life your parents want for you or the life your friends say you should have, the success you achieve will feel hollow because it is not determined by you.
You escape this trap by having the courage to be yourself. Over the course of the next week, I challenge you to tell someone you know something about you that would surprise them. Whether it’s a big dream you want to achieve or exhibiting a behaviour you would normally keep to yourself (for example, singing while in their presence), taking this action gets you out of your head and makes you more comfortable in your skin.
Remember, most of the concerns you have about doing this will never materialise. As always, your greatest enemy is the fear The System puts in your mind.
This article is one of a two part series. While this one focuses on how The System traps you personally, the next article focuses on how The System traps you professionally.
So if you want to discover how to break free from a job you hate and begin making money from something you are passionate about, then be sure to subscribe below. You’ll receive the next update in roughly a month’s time.
(image taken from Craig Sunter photostrem flickr.com)
You’ve been lied to your entire life.
It’s likely that everything you’ve been told by your parents, teachers, colleagues and friends about how the world works, and your role within it, is inaccurate hearsay designed to protect you from dangers that don’t exist; or in the case of the government, media and religion, control you in order to support the agenda of a tiny global elite.
The whole play it safe, get a well-paid job, don’t cause any trouble, work hard, follow the crowd and respect authority line; nine times out of ten, is going to lead you to a boring, meaningless life where the only rewards up for grabs are security and comfort.
If that’s something you don’t want then it’s about time you started rejecting almost everything authority figures have to say. They ARE NOT trying to help you. They are trying to control you (or manipulate you into buying their products). And when they genuinely are trying to help you, the position they come from is so entrenched in fear that their advice will do nothing but hold you back.
But how can I say this with such certainty and why should you listen to me?
Because I have proof. I have proof that The System we are taught to respect, revere and believe in; lies, screws people over and is open to manipulation by those in authority.
Some of this proof may, or may not, be news to you. It doesn’t matter. I’m documenting it here so that you can be struck by the magnitude of the sham we are led to believe in.
My hope is that by seeing this undeniable evidence laid out before you, you will be empowered. You will realise that you no longer have to play by The System’s rules and start to operate by your own.
I will now present you with three examples that demonstrate the extent of The System’s lies. They focus on some of The System’s major institutions and make a mockery of the notion that they operate for our greater good.
1. The Police and Justice System
The most obvious example of why the police shouldn’t have our implicit trust can be seen with the recent spate of brutality cases. With Officer Slam, the death of Eric Garner and the jaywalking teenager video all making the news, we’ve seen the fallible side of the police force, filled with flawed individuals, and more in need of reform than respect.
Sadly, this is only part of the problem though. The travesty of justice that is The War on Drugs raises further questions about whether the authority of the police and judicial system should be respected.
A series of policies, first enacted by Nixon in the 70s, has led to a situation where police officers are financially incentivised by The System to make soft drug arrests at the expense of time spent investigating more serious crimes. As a result, non-violent offenders are clogging up U.S jails at ever increasing rates. Some receive outrageous mandatory minimum sentences, fuelled by ignorant hysteria whipped up by the media, with the outcome of depriving hundreds of thousands of people of their liberty, enraging communities and creating an underclass more likely to engage in crime now that a criminal record severely restricts their employment opportunities.
The politicians and corporations don’t care though. The former can swagger around pretending to the electorate that they are tough on crime and the latter get to profit from a source of cheap labour.
So remember, when the police take the oath to serve and protect, you must consider on whose behalf.
Science has become God in the western world with it’s findings, discoveries and theories being accepted as The Truth by an awe struck public.
Ironic, really, when you consider that science was, at first, the anti-system voice. With its evidence based discoveries it slowly liberated the masses from the religious paradigm and all of the limiting beliefs that went with it. However, times have changed and since science has become part of The Establishment, it too has been infected by The System.
Take, for example, the recent comical news that there is little link between obesity and drinking sugary soft drinks like Coca Cola. Yes, according to some scientists, the same drink that has a secondary use as a toilet cleaner doesn’t really play a role in making you overweight.
Really? I know my scientific training is poor but I’m aware of the link between sugar consumption and weight gain.
Could it be, revered scientists, that someone is paying you to say that?
Oh yes, they are. Surprise, surprise, its Coca Cola.
While this is just as big a stain on the credibility of corporations as it is on science, I want to highlight the role of the latter because their authority rarely gets questioned.
You see this isn’t an isolated incident. There have been similar cases with the tobacco and alcohol industries and most damaging of all, the persistent denial of man-made climate change that was perpetrated by some scientists throughout the end of the 20th century.
The pattern is always the same. Corporation with zero ethics pays scientific institute to carry out ‘research’ whose findings will benefit their agenda.
What this sorry state of affairs reveals is that science is run by people, not Gods, and, in some cases, the pursuit of the dollar has become more important than the pursuit of The Truth.
I’m sure you already distrust your government. However, just in case you need any reminding let’s revisit the Iraq War of 2003.
In this terrible conflict, the governments of the US and UK lied to their people about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and then proceeded to invade the country without any legal backing.
Yet we’re raised to believe that our governments are full of highly intelligent people who know what’s best for us and uphold our treasured belief in democracy. Of course, they have to make tough decisions, with severe consequences, but they always act for the greater good.
Or do they? It’s becoming more and more apparent that they act for the interests of a tiny global elite and to mask this conflict of interest, they lie to the public. They tell us we need to be protected when the extent of their surveillance operation is revealed. They tell us we need to fight for our freedom by invading far off lands, that pose no direct threat to our people, when what they really want to do is secure new business for the corporations that back them.
They lie to us again and again and again. So why should we believe them, or believe in them?
Ok, the rant is over. However, there was a purpose behind my attack.
I want you to finish reading this article and realise that you owe The System absolutely nothing. Not your respect, not your obedience and not your time.
In fact, you don’t have to be anything other than what you want to be and the forces that tell you otherwise are simply NOT legitimate – as I have demonstrated.
And that’s the gift I want to give you through this article – the knowledge that you don’t have to live up to authority figures standards.
My hope is that it might prevent you from signing up for the Armed forces, out of a false sense of duty, for a country that doesn’t care. My hope is that it might make you think twice about applying for that corporate job, that you have no passion for, but your parents think would be a good choice. My hope is that it’ll give you the courage NOT to go to university if you’ve got a passion elsewhere you’re keen to explore.
Happiness lies on the other side of defying authority. It comes when free from system imposed obligations, duties and the concept of what you should be doing with your life.
In order to help you get there, I want to leave you with this little reminder (see infographic to your right). I call it the Freedom Manifesto – 7 daily steps you can act on to liberate your mind and help you reach your highest potential.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The System. Click here to get the course right now! (You will find the unconventional approach to developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!)
(image taken from The People Speak! photostream on flickr.com)
Why, you might ask, have I posted this ridiculous picture of myself on my supposedly serious blog?
Do I need some attention?
Have I decided to turn Screw the System into a health and fitness blog?
Have I lost my mind?
None of the above.
While I appreciate that there are thousands of guys on the internet with more photo worthy physiques, I wanted to let you know that I keep myself in shape. I play tennis twice a week for about 3 hours in total; I lift weights twice a week for about an hour and half and I also go on one 5 kilometre run.
I’m telling you this so you know that the intention behind the photo is less about showing off and more about making a point. My body is a symbol of defiance. I’m flexing my muscles at the system and telling it, ‘I won’t let you control my time or set my agenda.’
I do this at a price. Over the years, dedicating approximately 5 hours a week to athletic pursuits has damaged my potential earnings. I recently calculated that I would be $100,000 richer had I not exercised at all over the last 11 years and instead, used this time to see clients and build my business (apologies if you thought the $100,000 in the title referred to some newfound surgery or pill that transforms fat to muscle!).
Let’s put this into perspective, $100,000 is nothing to be sneezed at. It’s a deposit on a home (in some countries it is a home). It’s one of those flash cars we’re taught to value so highly. It’s money I could invest to make myself richer.
So, instead of ‘enriching’ my life in one of the above manners, why would I choose to spend time punishing my body through physical exercise?
BECAUSE I LOVE IT!!!!
Since I was a small child, there was little that gave me quite such a thrill as chasing after a ball or competing against other kids to see who was the stronger or more skilful. However, when I got to the age of around 21 or 22, I realised that all of this was supposed to stop. It was kids’ stuff. What was considered more responsible, the path to getting ahead and the generally accepted thing to do, was spending 50 plus hours a week building a career you weren’t passionate about – Free time either didn’t exist or was to be spent getting blindingly drunk in the correct, socially accepted way of having fun.
I’ve never been one for walking the system’s path though. Why should I give up something I love to conform to society’s notion of the correct allocation of time and a proper appreciation for material worth?
It’s a question I now throw at you!
Some people might see the $100,000 figure and think I’ve made a crazy choice. To hear that I absolutely do, on occasions, refuse to take on extra paid work so that I can go and play tennis may be beyond comprehension to those of you more materially inclined. However, there is method to my madness. There are very good reasons why I consider my athletic pursuits well worth the $100,000 hit (and even more!). I will share them now.
Clearly, exceptional health is a great payoff of following an exercise regime. While some of my peers are starting to experience the onset of the ageing process, I don’t feel a day older than 18. Physically, there’s little I can’t do and I live each day with the energy and enthusiasm of someone wanting to change the world.
This is only a side benefit, though, compared to the main prize of enjoying my life NOW! The system influences us to work and work and work and then one day, probably when you’re too old to appreciate it, you can relax and have fun. Problem is, you’re so burnt out from living such a stressful life, and so dependent on an organisation for daily structure, that you don’t have the energy to enjoy your retirement, nor the wherewithal to know how to spend all this newfound time.
So why wait?
Retire now! Or at least retire from the excesses of the 9 to 5 culture we get shoved down our throats.
Sure, it’s more than likely that you’ll earn less money but you’ll have more time to actually live.
This is something I’ve learned to appreciate on a Monday morning – when most of London’s inhabitants are stuck in sweltering tube carriages or offices – while I’m out in the sunshine, in the middle of summer, thrashing tennis balls up and down a court engaged in an activity that I find utterly absorbing.
Of course, you may hate tennis and abhor any kind of physical activity. However, I would be truly surprised if you had no unpaid interests that make you come alive.
Do you spend enough time doing them?
Are you sacrificing your enjoyment NOW for some crazy notion of reward at the end of your life?
If so, you could be making a big mistake. Research shows that engaging in playful activities can have all kinds of benefits for your brain – increased adaptability, antidote to depression and improved brain function (there’s a great TED Talk on the subject if you click here).
Whatever your passions and interests are, I’m hoping my little story has convinced you of their worth. The system wants to take everything from us and make us believe that life is one long list of obligations, duties and standards to which we should conform. However, making time for the pursuits that are important to you, even if there is no material value in doing so, reconnects you with who you truly are and brings back some of the joy into living. Who knows, spend enough time doing them and you may be able to turn it into a lucrative career . . .
Know a friend that spends way too long working and neglects the things they used to love doing? Email them a link to this article and help them reconnect with their sense of adventure.
And please, tell me about some of your acts of defiance in the comments section below. What activities do you refuse to give up despite societal pressure to be a serious, respectable citizen?
Rebellion is taking a new form. The 60’s had the sexual revolution, recreational drug use and war protests, the 70s had punk rock and strikes and the 80s and 90s saw the growth of hip hop culture. But what have we got today?
For better or worse (I’m inclined to think the latter), capitalism and consumerism are now the dominant socio-economic forces in the world. Although begrudgingly accepted rather than loved, their legitimacy and authority remain unquestioned. Almost all countries are united in their blind pursuit of economic growth and this filters down into populations obsessed with gaining, and terrified of losing, money.
As a result of this material preoccupation; ethics, morals and conscience have been thrown out the window. Profit comes first. This is the system’s mantra and we see it reflected in our companies, governments and even health care.
This lack of scruples from our major institutions sets a precedent for us all to follow in our occupational and lifestyle choices. We won’t think twice about working for unethical companies, buying unethical products or casually exaggerating our own status and achievements to impress others.
We live in a world of bullshit. Everyone responds that they’re ‘fine’ or ‘great’ when greeted yet we know we’re not (suicide is the biggest killer of men between the ages of 18 and 34 in the UK), advertising tricks us into believing that big corporations genuinely care and our politicians are more concerned with how the next headline reads than doing what’s right.
In such a topsy turvey world, where it’s less a case of good vs bad but evil vs even more evil, who do we turn to when looking for those prepared to challenge the establishment?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the drug fuelled, tattoo covered rock or rap star. Their form of rebellion plays into the system’s hands, promoting a shallow hedonistic lifestyle that primes younger generations for a lifetime of material pursuit.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the armed revolutionary. Their form of rebellion is now lethal in a world where technology can destroy millions of people at the press of a button.
Instead, we need to think out of the box. We need to look in a place that has never before been associated with rebellion – the Good Guys (and girls).
Before we go any further, there’s a something I have to make perfectly clear – when I say Good Guys, I don’t mean saps. Think William Wallace in Braveheart, think Rubin Carter in The Hurricane, think Erin Brockovich in . . . you get the picture. Basically, tough sons of bitches with an impeachable moral code standing up for what’s right.
Remember, the game is all twisted. You don’t rebel by challenging anymore, you rebel by being yourself. In a system where we’re encouraged to mute our opinions and keep our true feelings under wraps, this is the ultimate act of defiance.
Honesty, integrity and caring about other people – traits typically associated with goody goodies – are now badass because the system teaches us to always think of ourselves, manipulate people for our own advance and put considerations of finance above all else.
Defiant honesty stretches beyond how you treat others though. More than anything, it’s about being true to yourself. It’s about having the strength to admit you’re not satisfied spending 40 plus years of your life working 40 to 50 hours a week in a job that gives you nothing greater than financial reward. It’s about being bold enough to say that drinking yourself into oblivion at the weekend is not your idea of fun. It’s about being open enough to admit your flaws and weaknesses and resisting the urge to put on a front in an attempt to impress others. In short, defiant honesty is about rejecting societal norms if they don’t work for you.
This kind of honesty undermines the system. Without violence or struggle, we just turn our backs on that we don’t truly believe in. And the world would change.
Imagine what would happen if we only chose careers we were passionate about. Imagine who you would let into your life if you were honest about the way you feel and willing to be open about your uncertainties. Without seeking to be, these changes would be revolutionary.
Remember, the system is so corrupt that it can’t function when confronted with truth. It needs us to perpetuate and participate in its lie for it to have any legitimacy. Stop doing that, by being truthful to yourself, and its illusion of power over our lives will soon disappear.
‘Nice theory’ I hear you saying, ‘but how does this work in ‘The Real World’?’
I can’t promise you that practising Defiant Honesty is going to be easy or that it’s going to make you rich. However, you will be noticed. In fact, you’ll stand out like a beacon of light in a world self-serving clones.
This has many advantages;
· A loyal client base that loves you for always putting service and their well-being above profits.
· The respect and trust of other people.
· A chance to be on the cutting edge of innovation as your refusal to conform grants you access to avenues other people just won’t explore.
And then there are the benefits to your soul;
· The peace of mind gained by living life with a clear conscience.
· The toughness forged from resisting the near insurmountable pull of peer group pressure.
· Being loved by others because you’re always there for them regardless of work commitments or financial issues.
I hope I’ve convinced you with this argument. You don’t need to swear, smoke or stick your middle finger up to be a rebel anymore. It’s something accessible to all of us who are brave enough to follow the values of honesty, integrity and caring about other people.
Do you know any rebels? Email them a link to this article and give them a heads-up on the new form of rebellion.
Do you practise Defiant Honesty? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.
(Image taken from Toban B. photostream flickr.com)
I’m gettin’ paid!!!
The sun is out, the kids are on their school holidays and my tennis camps are packed. I’m making money. Maybe not BIG money, but I’m clearing over $1500 a week.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I’m into the highest grossing period of my year, yet I couldn’t be further away from realising my dreams!!!
Sounds confusing? Let me explain my dilemma and in the process, shed some light on a problem anyone with ambitions of starting a new business, or quitting a conventional job in pursuit of a more adventurous life, must face.
We all love getting paid.
Whether it’s the end of the month, or someone handing you the cash directly, there’s something special about seeing those digits, or paper, stack up. After all, the system bombards us with the message that receiving regular, and large, amounts of money is the path to happiness, security and a life devoid of problems. However, the problem is that our brains are hard wired to seek and repeat pleasurable experiences and this, combined with the system’s conditioning, influences us to place making money as one of, if not THE, most important driving force in our lives.
‘Not me,’ I hear you say. ‘I don’t care about being rich.’ Fair enough, but I bet you care about being poor. I bet you won’t sacrifice your job no matter how much you hate it or how little you’re paid. You see, as much as we’re taught to love the thought of being rich, we’re taught to fear a lack of money even more.
Which brings us back to my dilemma. This conditioning to always focus on the bottom line has created a bizarre paradox whereby I’m experiencing the most financially successful time of my year, yet the bigger picture is slipping further and further into the background.
Let me further explain.
A few months ago I wrote a post pontificating on the importance of T.I.M.E. You can read the full version here but the overall gist was that the Dreamer needs to be putting in the equivalent of 2 hours 45 minutes daily to ensure those dreams turn into a reality.
This may seem like a lot, but I’m not alone in my thinking. Influential blogger, Jon Morrow, wrote a brilliant post on how to get more traffic to your website where he draws the same conclusions. He claims that if you want to generate serious traffic then you’ll have to spend the next 4 to 6 years putting in 20 to 40 hours a week! (Read the full article here, it’s an eye-opener!)
Can you see where this is heading?
What’s the number one factor that prevents you from putting 20 to 40 hours a week into building your blog, developing a skill or starting your business?
THE NEED TO MAKE MONEY. Or to put it more accurately, the perceived need to make money. The system fills our heads with this false notion that we can do anything with money and nothing without it. As a result, we don’t spend non-directly rewarded time building our dream when we could be spending it clawing in the cash. We won’t make what we believe is a sacrifice.
Today, I want to convince you this isn’t a sacrifice. I want to explain why making $1500 a week (or any amount) sometimes just isn’t enough.
There’s something far greater at stake than financial return here. By not building your days around the 2 hours 45 minutes you need to be doing, you’re missing out on the chance to make a difference with your life, make a living doing something you love and ironically, the opportunity to get mega-rich and win your financial freedom (as opposed being ‘system rich’ yet still having to work a 9 to 5 for the rest of your life.)
I know how hard it can be to resist the impulse to do the work and tasks that appear to be urgent, but if you’re serious about realising your dream then you have to go through a radical adjustment in your way of thinking and the scheduling of your day.
In anticipation of that change I’m going to blitz you with some suggestions and insights that will help you remain focused on the bigger picture.
Recently, I calculated that I could almost double my income if I gave up on Screw the System and transferred that time over to seeing tennis and hypnotherapy clients.
The thought that bugs me, though, is would I be richer?
What’s that extra money worth? A slightly better car, a slightly larger house? The chance to escape your life with a vacation twice a year instead of once?
In the final analysis, I had to ask myself this question – Are small luxuries really worth giving up the chance to be great?
Think about it the next time you find yourself knee deep in work that brings no passion into your life!
When was the last time you got sucked into the trap of making money and neglecting your dream and what did you do to get out of it? Let me know in comments section below.
Also, do you know anyone who talks about starting a new business yet is too wrapped up in their job to take the first steps? Email them a link to this post and give them the kick they need to start making some changes.
(Image taken from 410 K 2012‘s photostream flickr.com)