Tough People…Stupid People…Tough People
Tough Times Cause The Wheat and Chaff to Divide Naturally
Ever wonder where character…personal toughness wrapped with goodness comes from?
Ever wonder how the world accomplished getting itself into the big mess of October 2008?
Will you and I insulate ourselves from the current economic mess and the near future tidal wave or will we be inert and wait for the tsunami to take our homes away?
You and I have the capacity to work toward greatness while things fall apart all around. Tough times are “the great divider” in personal character.
Every day you and I find out that :
- Retirement 401k and IRA’s have lost value…not a little value…a *lot* of value
- A lot of companies don’t have the money in the actual accounts to payout upon retirement
- OTHER PEOPLE have lost jobs
- Other banks have *gone out of business* in the easiest business to run on the planet
- The world’s largest insurance company went kaput (2nd easiest business to run on the planet)
- Lost thousands or millions when the FDIC wouldn’t cover their deposits on account
- Other countries are facing the exact same devastating problems
- You and I have personally been stuck with paying CEO’s of firms they drove their businesses into the ground
- That gas prices are $3 a gallon (in the U.S., sorry to int’l readers who are paying $7, $8)
….and what do people do on a Saturday afternoon?
They go visiting, have a barbecue. They take that long deserved break from their 40-hour per week job. They kick back…and *do* nothing.
One article I read today, “God will take care of me.” Another woman interviewed simply said, “things will get better when we get a new President.”
Must have been the god of “The Secret”.
People do nothing.
It concerns me…that people are yielding their character to inertia…
What is it People Are Doing?
They do nothing…and assume they will be “bailed out” too, if something overwhelmingly dramatic happens to them.
That builds character?
And they abhor the fact that there are about 10-20% of people in town that are working hard doing just fine….resentment toward those who work…
Meanwhile, they hang out, go to the game, whatever.
They are indeed yielding their character…their personal toughness…and they don’t have to…
It’s not just human nature to be flat out inert (lazy). It’s most (but not all) living things’ nature to be inert.
The only time most animals move is when there is a physical threat, they are hungry, or they need to seek shelter.
Same with about 80% of people. But there IS a division of character in the human race that is particularly interesting…
Group A: They see disaster and devastation all around. They hallucinate it won’t happen to them.
They do …nothing.
They might even lose a job.
Now, for years we’ve talked in Coffee with Kevin Hogan about how these kind of things are big houses of cards that come tumbling down.
We know that not only do we have to insulate ourselves from the foolishness all around, but also from the economy in general and, of course, the tax men.
Ah, the taxman…Mr. Wilson…(George Harrison)…
Let’s do the quick math problem…
People who work two jobs don’t pay twice the taxes in the United States.
You work two jobs and you pay 300% more in taxes than the bum next door who works 40 hours a week and “strives for balance” in his life.
Don’t believe it?
Work Job A, earn $30,000, 15% goes to the federal government. That’s $4,500.
The guy who realizes that the only balance is to protect himself and his family?
He works two jobs.
Job B he earns another $30,000. That income is taxed at 28%. That’s over $8,000 for a total of almost $13,000.
So a guy goes and busts his butt for his family or even his own security. But there is a price to pay. A big one.
There are MASSIVE penalties to working hard and smart. There are massive penalties to building character…
“Earn more pay more, it’s just fair”, shouts the gal doing yoga down the block.
No, it’s not right or even close to fair, but the next person to fall is the gal in her yoga stance watching “The Secret”.
Being inert is so ingrained into human behavior that people demand that politicians tax the guy who works two jobs, 3 times the money, so the inert can have “balance.”
It is the price that people who want to actually live a meaningful and complete life have to pay.
Could this be framed another way?
Roots in Poverty
I grew up in a lower income class neighborhood. Poor. Poverty is defined by income levels that are really tiny…yep…for quite awhile…it’s an interesting place to be…and one worth leaving permanently after 7 or 8 years.
Character…toughness…resilience….spirit aren’t necessarily born in poverty. I can think of a lot of people who just gave up that were nearby that “had more.” But, it does provide one of the bigger challenges in life…it’s a first class testing ground.
Let’s go up to the middle class, say the 5th decile instead of the 1st (poverty) decile.
If someone was smart enough to drive to the bank, convince someone to give them a loan then go home and work 40 hours a week and strive for balance, then lose the home…the person was short-term inert and long-term foolish.
“Oh, but he lost his job and then couldn’t pay the mortgage.”
Losing a job is not a crisis…it’s an irritation.
Did he end up in the hospital for multiple years? If yes, I apologize THAT person gets a pass, to be sure. That was what we experienced…twice…
Can I Relate?
When you lose a job, you just realize that you weren’t worth to the company what they were paying you. I learned that a bunch of times and I’m sure you have too. It’s a tough and humbling lesson of course, but that’s all it is, is a lesson.
It’s a point from where resilience and mental toughness can be triggered.
From age 6 to age 12 our home housed six and sometimes seven people. It was roughly 24′ x 24′ maybe a bit smaller.
There were 15-20 kids on the block.
My second Dad was only able to work for two years when he got congestive heart failure, basically living in the hospital and then in a hospital bed in his bedroom later. While all that’s going on, you wish that he had just lost a job.
My personal “system” was simple. I wake up in the morning. I deliver the Waukegan News Sun. I go to school. I come home and take care of the kids until Mom gets home from work. I do chores, then homework, then I could go play for a couple of hours or go sell greeting cards in season, or shovel snow or cut someone’s lawn with a grass clipper. (We didn’t own a “real” lawn mower until I was 13.)
Saturdays and Sundays were great because I could put in several hours of work after delivering the paper. I didn’t have to take care of the kids because Mom was home. AND, I might get to go play baseball in season. (We grew up on the north side of Chicago, starting with Highwood…baseball is VERY important in Chicago!) Sunday was best, because I could work for Mr. Sokolies at his “sokolarium.” It was like a greenhouse on a big scale, a terrarium on a small scale. Sunday he worked and paid me $1 an hour to pull weeds. (He felt sorry for me. I was not worth the money when I was 11.)
Pretty much all the Dads worked on the street. Those who would “lose their jobs” would go get OTHER jobs. You rarely saw the Dad’s around, but they were doing there jobs. So were the Moms.
2008: “Oh, so you really do understand?”
I more than understand people who chronically want the world to be ideal for them…and I appreciate those who play cards with the cards they are dealt.
We grew up with a very simple fact which translates into 2008 and like this: If someone can make it to the unemployment office, they absolutely can develop RESILIENCE and can make themselves a job….
I get what it’s like to be one step from walking in the orphanage with my two brothers.
My Mom said, “we’ll try and keep you kids together.”
No, I positively understand that we want things to be “easier” and that is human nature…and when people yield to that…they fail as people.
This one desire…has screwed up…so much…the desire to do nothing…
Today you pay for the goofiest things.
Oh, sure, we pay corporate officer salaries from our own savings account. That’s to be expected in a bailout…I guess…but then we also pay people with forced gifts (yes direct from from your checkbook to yet another person you don’t know) their food stamp checks…their Section 8 check…their this check…their that check.
It’s rather mindblowing…Who comes up with stuff like this? (Yes of course.)
You know…there’s a lot of people who simply and literally can’t move from their chair…their wheel chair…and of course… most of them have jobs.
But you never hear these people or the families of these people grumble.
You only hear about people who have a standard of living expectation that they “deserve”.
They are inert and will remain inert.
It’s an important distinction. Prior to the United States enforcing the payment of other people’s bills, this was a heck of a place… where spirit and resilience were forged. Then politicians finally caught on to people’s weaknesses and helped exploit them. Now the people just demand what 50 years ago would have been outrageous.
So now we are back at a point where the blade is on the anvil.
Most people WILL be dramatically and negatively affected by what is happening in the world in 2008, and what will happen for the next 5-10 years…it’s going to be interesting and they will do nothing…
They will develop a conscience…character…resilience… They will move.
And when people MOVE stuff happens. Personal toughness and resilience develop…
In 2008, when people say they “deserve”….other people cut them a check.
Rule: When people are foolish they do indeed need to PAY a PRICE not GET PAID A PRICE.
Everytime you hear of ANYONE or any company being “bailed out” think about that. See if it truly makes sense in your own mind for you to be writing them another check from your personal bank account.
But, regardless of the circumstances you can’t control, YOU CAN live a real life in 2008, if “PLAY” is pushed on the Character Panel….
And it is choice. If you can MOVE you can CHOOSE.
Warren Buffet noted it last week. We are heading into one of those periods…Mr. Buffet is one of those people I like to listen to…he has a decent track record…eh hmmm…
And there is no denying it…and there is no denying that you, me and a whole lot of people will work through the challenges that are here and coming soon to the proverbial theater near us….
But the challenges are great….
People who pay taxes are currently being asked to pay ALL the bills of companies who have gone broke.
The rules of the game are becoming…dumb as dust.
History DOES repeat itself. Someone at the White House thinks this is going to change?
Give a company your money and the company will magically grow a brain?
I think not…
Giving PEOPLE free money is foolish enough.
Classical Condition…Psych 101…Day 1…
People only develop personal self-responsibility, community discipline and potentially successful work ethic when they CASH CHECKS THEY EARNED.
Cutting people checks to not work simply can’t ever happen. INERT behavior is being rewarded in ways I’ve never seen in my life… That has one and ONLY one end result…
And Then There is Character…
Don’t allow your SELF to be rewarded for INERT behavior. It’s like getting high fives for tanking a gallon of ice cream on a diet.
Here’s the great thing.
In tough times, most people complain, blame…turn their fear into inertia or they turn around and turn fear into power.
It’s OK to be scared. Nothing wrong with that. People SHOULD be scared. Shoot, Warren Buffet is nervous!
In fact, truly foolish people are NOT scared and THEY SHOULD BE.
Fear is PROGRAMMED into your BRAIN TO KEEP YOU ALIVE.
You got a bunch of crazy people taking your money and giving it to COMPANIES and OTHER GOVERNMENT BODIES that have GONE BROKE.
That’s a GOOD REASON to get scared.
But your RESPONSE to that fear is what will determine YOUR fate.
While scared, do you pay the price of tripling your taxes….to build a secure and safe life perhaps a life with abundance?
Do we curl up and hide in the corner waiting for the tsunami?
Do we develop character, resilience and personal toughness…or…not…?
Set your life in motion TODAY.
When you feel like grumbling…get UP and MOVE.
Character is being constructed while you move…
It feels good…very good!
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