I wish I could tell you that life is fair. I wish I could report that every person has your best interest at heart. I wish I could promise you success in whatever ambitions you choose to pursue. I can’t do any of those things, though. Life isn’t fair, people are selfish, and risk cuts both ways. Can you handle the truth? If so, click ahead for a reality check.
1. Life Isn’t Fair
Karma doesn’t exist. If it did, do you really think liars and crooks would be elected to lead countries? Even the most corrupt politician can leave office to move on to a lucrative career in consulting, lobbying, or public speaking. Just ask Keith Alexander.
I know what you might be thinking. “How do they sleep at night?” I don’t have a good answer to that question, but I can assure you they do – probably on an expensive bed that is a thousand times more comfortable than yours.
Please don’t read this as a defense of morally bankrupt behavior. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for authorizing drone strikes that kill civilians, intercepting private communications of innocent people, or starting a war on false pretenses. Some people can, though, and they are usually the ones who end up in positions of power. Isn’t that a comforting thought?
2. People Are Selfish
Want to make new friends, get a promotion, or start a business? If so, you better be prepared to add value. That doesn’t mean you need to bribe people with free booze in a misguided effort to convince them to hang out with you. But you do need to understand that life isn’t a charity.
No one owes you anything. Not friendship, not a raise, and certainly not a customer base. You must show a person that you are caring, interesting, and fun to be around before she becomes a friend. You must show your manager what a valuable asset you are before you can expect him to give you a raise. You must provide your target market with a solution to a problem before they will buy what you’re selling.
It’s interesting that being selfish is seen as a bad thing, despite the fact that we’re all that way to some extent. Of course, it is better to search for win/win situations, but even these are rooted in self-interest. Most people don’t network for the fun of it. All pleasantries aside, they network with the intention of meeting people who have talents or connections that might prove useful in the future. Admit it: you’re selfish. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t get arrogant about it.
3. Risk Cuts Both Ways
I hate this nugget of business advice that’s frequently given to people who consider pursuing self-employment: “You’ll never work hard enough to make things happen until you remove your safety net.” Only a delusional person can say this with a straight face.
I have to confess that I am biased. I removed my safety net once. As a consequence, I went from being financially stable to covered in debt. Starting a business is fulfilling, but not many people experience overnight success. You might have to bleed money for a few months (or years) before you get anywhere. Most people aren’t prepared for this reality, which could explain why 8 out of 10 new businesses in America fail within 18 months.
Given the dismal success rate of new businesses – not to mention how difficult it is to claw yourself out from a pit of debt – it seems 100% irresponsible to tell a person to remove their safety net before they have a proven idea. By “proven,” I mean, “profitable.” You have a lot of years ahead of you, so don’t get antsy. Don’t let me discourage you from pursuing your dream. I’m glad I pursued mine! You can accomplish anything as long as you’re patient and hustle consistently. That said; don’t quit your day job yet.
4. You Can’t Affirm Your Way to a Better Reality (You Can Only Affirm Your Way to a Better Attitude)
Abundance is a lovely concept, but thinking about it won’t make money fall out of the trees in your backyard. You might feel more inspired to reach out to potential clients if you have positive thoughts on your mind, though.
Affirmations are a great tool for anyone who struggles with negative thoughts. Some people need to speak an empowering thought out-loud several times before they believe it to be true. It’s hard to avoid procrastination when you think you’re a loser who can’t do anything right. An affirmation like, “I am the CEO of my life,” could inspire a person like this to take action and improve their life.
Affirmations become a problem when people buy into the ludicrous idea that they can attract something into their life by simply thinking about it. If you want to fall in love, then you have to put yourself in a place where you’ll meet potential suitors (lots of them if you’re picky!). If you want to be wealthy, then you have to work hard and cut unnecessary expenses without mercy. No amount of positive thinking can make up for a lack of action. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool and a liar.
Could any of the people you care about use a reality check? If you’d like to provide your friends with a healthy dose of tough love, click here to share this article with your friends on Facebook.
Read More Articles by Daniel Wallen:
- 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Become a Freelancer
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- 13 Motivational Quotes to Fire You Up in the Morning (Make #5 Your Battle Cry)