How to Fight Back When you get Screwed by the System

by Joe Barnes




Date: Mar 6, 2014

How to Fight Back When you get Screwed by the System

Its gonna happen sooner or later. You can follow all the rules, keep your head down and work hard but you’re still going to get shafted. Whether it’s forced redundancy, a bank collapsing and wiping out your savings, somebody getting promoted above you because they’re better at playing ‘the game’, the decline of your vitality as you give endless hours to a job you hate or petty regulations stopping you living the way you want, the system will screw you at some point.  

So what can you do?

Right now, it may feel like you’re in a position similar to Edward Norton’s character from Fight Club in the picture above. He presents us with the archetype of an individual disillusioned by the system yet unable to find a way out. Fortunately for him, he had Tyler Durden and his ingenious life philosophy to help. 

While I can’t compete with the brilliance of Chuck Palahniuk’s creation, I have got answers.

So if you find yourself bored living a life primarily focused on the material, feel that there’s so much more you could be doing with your potential or fed up with having to compromise your ideas and desires then continue reading.

What I’m going to give you is an easy to follow 3 point plan for escaping all the bullshit, backstabbing and stress of the system’s world and a means to finding and creating a life where you determine the direction you’re going.

STEP 1: Question Every Assumption

We have to start here. If you want to live a life where you’re free to pursue your inspiration and express all of your talents and ideas then there is some conditioning that you must first overcome.

For the purpose of brevity, we’re going to focus on 2 key assumptions that the system influences us to believe in and why they must be challenged. 

1. Money makes the world go round. It doesn’t seem to matter much when we’re kids. However, as we get older, it’s no exaggeration to say that the quest to make money becomes the most important focus of our lives.

This happens for two reasons. 1. We’re conditioned by advertising, peers and the media to think that greater wealth equates to a happier life. 2. We’re taught by parents, teachers and the media that a lack of money makes you a less valuable person.

Both of these assumptions are WRONG. In fact, statistics suggest that people in the highest wealth bracket are only 3% happier than average and that an income above $20,000 per capita yields a minimal increase in happiness. However, most people don’t realise this. Instead, they continue to get caught up in the hype and spend their lives ignoring their health and well-being in pursuit of greater pay days or avoiding taking any risks for fear of financial disaster.

You must not let this happen to you!

Inspiration not remuneration has to be your driving force. It’s only by following your heart that you’ll find your true place in life and feel a genuine sense of fulfilment with the success you accomplish. 

2. Authority knows best. This is a big one. We spend far too much of our lives revering authority figures and believing that they actually know what they’re saying or doing.

I’m questioning everything and everyone here.

  • Governments and politicians who continue to make economic growth the main focus of their policies even in the face of impending worldwide environmental disaster.
  • Doctors and scientists paid by huge pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs which have little healing value, while at the same time, discrediting genuine alternative forms of treatment that might help.
  • The education system and teachers who are more concerned with league tables and figures than actually teaching anything that will develop an individual. 

All of these authority figures MUST be questioned.


One of the worst mistakes you can make is to believe that you are inferior to anyone. To live a life where you determine the direction you’re going you HAVE to believe in your own judgement and instincts. Be easily swayed by others, believe that what you want is not possible because some authority figure tells you so or doubt yourself and ask the terrible question, ‘who am I to challenge anything‘, and the strength needed to stand alone will always elude you.  

STEP 2: Get a Dream

Creating a dream for your life is the ultimate security against the whims of the system. While everyone else is subject to the ups and downs of the economy and the disposable nature of most jobs, you’ll have something that can never be shaken.

This dream must be fiercely authentic to have the power to protect you from the system. It’s about what YOU want to be and do with your life. Even if this sounds ridiculous to others, you must go with something that you feel connects with your purpose in being alive. And don’t judge your dream by the system’s standards of wealth and status. If spending all day every day creating oil paintings and selling your work to support yourself brings the greatest amount of joy into your life then go for it. You determine the value of your life. 

Of course, other people may mock your dream and say it’s impossible but these naysayers are overlooking one hugely important fact. A dream creates meaning – a quality we crave above all else.

You see part of the reason modern western societies have such huge rates of depression and suicide is that the majority of us unconsciously feel we’re living meaningless lives. The system conditions us into making money our God but try as we might, we can never fill the hole in our soul through the accumulation of riches and consumer goods. We need something more and this can only be found through living a life that brings out the deeper emotions of love and joy and the knowledge you’re having a positive impact on the world around you.

STEP 3: Start Living It

I don’t need to say this, do I? You MUST MUST MUST start acting on this dream.

It’s hard, I know, but without taking the steps necessary to realise your dream you’ll be trapped in a horrible place. Fully aware and completely dissatisfied with what the system has to offer, yet for fear of failure, lack of belief that it’s possible or whatever other reason it might be, unable to pursue an alternative.

You don’t want to be here. 

This may sound harsh, but its best you know this right now. You’re either in or your out when it comes to escaping the system and realising your dreams. You can’t cling onto the security and comfort of the system while wanting the adventure and joy of pursuing your own unique destiny. At some point you must make a choice. 

In anticipation of you making this decision there’s one thing I want you to remember – there’s no such thing a guaranteed security. Both sticking with the system and pursuing your own destiny carry their pitfalls.

I ask you, then, to look at what you stand to gain and answer this question.

Can you really give up your one opportunity to make a genuine, positive difference to this world for the meagre promise of comfort and luxury? 


Over to you . . .

Do you know anyone fed up with having to play the system’s game? Email this blog to them and point them in the right direction.

Also, let me know your own experiences in the comments section below. How has the system screwed you and what have you done to reclaim your life?


(Image taken from saganass photostream