Sunday, March 11, 2012

Life Is Your Own Damn Fault

See also: The Wal-Mart Zoo at bottom of page

From Empowerment to Entitlement: The corruption of the self-help movement
By Larry Winget @ Larry Winget

I doubt there is anyone who can make an intelligent argument against the fact that we have become the society with the biggest sense of entitlement in the history of our world. I have written much about the problems of entitlement in each of my bestselling books and have talked about it for years in blogs and social media and on various television shows. We are the entitlement generation. In fact, the bulk of all government spending is for a series of programs called Entitlement Programs.
People actually believe they are owed a living while doing nothing on their own to make sure they are employed or have any savings or that their bills are paid. That’s why we have 5th generation welfare recipients. Folks believe they are owed retirement income, even though they spent every dime they had their entire working lives with little or no thought about what would happen when they were finally put out to pasture or if their company went out of business. People think they are owed unending unemployment benefits, when they did nothing to put away any money for a rainy day, or do any planning, or even make much of an effort to become re-employed. And the evidence shows that many didn’t even put out the work they were being paid to do to stay employed in the first place. Most of the 99 Weekers never bother to even look for a job until the last few weeks before their unemployment runs out. Many believe they are owed complete health care regardless of the fact that they destroyed their own health by smoking or overeating, usually both. You fall in a fountain because you weren’t paying attention and that’s a perfect reason to sue the mall where the fountain sits. Or spill coffee in your lap in the car and it’s the restaurants fault, not your own clumsy fault. Or have a facebook relationship and when one breaks it off, sue them for a broken heart. Or sue the bartender because you drank too much and had a car accident. Some folks wear the latest fashions and have big screen televisions, drive a new car and eat every meal at a restaurant and yet have never bothered to save a dime and then blame others that they are broke. Bottom line: People believe they are entitled to compensation for consequences they brought on themselves due to their irresponsible lifestyle and stupid choices.
How did this happen? How did we reach this point? My parent’s generation didn’t think this way. Yet they raised the baby boomers, who created this mess. And now the baby boomers have raised a generation with an even bigger sense of entitlement. I just finished reading the New York Times Bestseller “World War Z” by Max Brooks. I ran across this great line: “You can blame the politicians, the businessmen, the generals, the “machine,” but really, if you’re looking to blame someone, blame me. I’m the American system, I’m the machine. That’s the price of living in a democracy; we all gotta take the rap. Nice to be able to say, “Hey, don’t look at me, it’s not my fault.” Well, it is. It is my fault, and the fault of everyone of my generation.”
I couldn’t agree more. It’s everyone’s own fault. I could sum up all that I teach, speak and write about in one sentence: Life is your own damn fault.
But again the question is: What happened to the baby boomers to move them from being self-sufficient like their parents to becoming so self-indulgent? Answer: The self-help movement. Before the baby boomers, there wasn’t a self-help movement, there was only the “help yourself” movement. It was the baby boomers that created and went like lemmings into the ocean to the Positive Thinking rallies. We created bestsellers of Norman Vincent Peale’s books, “If You Can Think It, You Can Do It” and “The Power Of Positive Thinking. and Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” And we took a pots and pans salesman named Zig Ziglar and turned him into the king of motivational speakers. Then we created an entire industry of “motivational speakers” like Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Earl Nightingale and yes, even ME! Some added a religious element and we ended up with Robert Schuller and now, Joel Osteen. Then we pushed the whole concept even further and ended up with stupid books like The Secret and The Law of Attraction and folks started following abominations with a messiah-complex like James Ray. (Say what you like about what I do for a living, but no one ever died as a result of attending one of my seminars. And I won’t make you walk on fire or sit in a sweat lodge. I’ll just ask you to look in an imaginary mirror and take responsibility for the life you have created. If you die from doing that, your reflection must be pretty bad!)
So is the self-help industry a bad thing? And what about Zig and Tony and Norman Vincent Peale and Earl Nightingale and the thousands of other motivational speakers yelling positive platitudes from stages all over the world – are they bad? No. I like much of what the motivational guys do. Not all of it for sure, but much of it. So let’s make it clear, I am NOT blaming the messenger. And I am not blaming the message. The message itself isn’t bad at all, but we have bastardized the message and ended up producing the exact opposite result of the original intent. The original intent was to get people to realize that they had the power, all within themselves, to change their results. It was meant to give them the confidence to go out and work and use their talents to create success, happiness and prosperity. It was a message meant to empower people to becoming all that they had the potential of becoming. That message of empowerment is important and necessary and powerful. However, that message has sadly, been twisted and corrupted and in many cases, lost. We turned empowerment into entitlement.
Zig Ziglar said “You can be whatever you want to be, do whatever you want to do and have whatever you want to have as long as your believe in yourself.” That statement was meant to empower people to have confidence in themselves and to believe in their abilities to work and achieve their goals and aspirations. And we messed it up. It might have been our laziness that messed it up, or our ever-declining work ethic, or our sliding scale of morality, or the gray area of integrity that runs rampant among workers, corporations, Wall Street and government. Add to that our greed and unhealthy desire for more and more and MORE. Maybe it’s our demand for more sensationalism via our insatiable need to be entertained. Or our fascination with the shallow, inane and ridiculous. But whatever happened, it corrupted the entire self-help movement. Somehow the self-help movement shifted from SELF, which was Zig’s (and the others) original message, to HELP.
What’s the solution? Stop thinking about HELP and turn back to your SELF. Stop blaming others. Stop looking to others to save you. Don’t be a follower of the ideas of any sole individual, group, party or movement. Read, study, think and WORK. Rely on your brain and your brawn to create the life you want.
Again, one more time; my message: Life is your own damn fault. Your thoughts, your words and your actions created it. Your thoughts, your words and your actions can change it. Take responsibility for both the mess you have created and the success you have created. Don’t blame others. Don’t look to anyone else to come to the rescue. You do it. Not, you CAN do it. But just, YOU DO IT. Now. Today. Not Tomorrow.

More from Larry here:
The Wal-Mart Zoo
Have we turned into a bunch of animals?

1 comment:

Lew Waters said...

I believe if we really examine this entitlement attitude, it actually began under Roosevelt's New Deal as he prolonged the Great Depression and teaching our parents generation that they only needed to rely on government.

That is how it was passed to us and we made it all that much easier to pass along to our children and theirs.

I don't thik it can be undone either, not until the country collapses and people lose their freedoms.

Even then, some will rather be taken care of instead of doing for themselves.