While there are many successful people making important contributions to society, there are many more that exemplify greed--always seeking more at the expense of others. And, unfortunately, one of the best ways to profit off of the brainwashed masses is to promise them something.
Something that they need. Something that they want. Something that they think will make them feel happy and proud of themselves. Something that they can believe in.
And many people--hungry for a more meaningful life--are looking for just that: the promise of a better future that requires nothing more than a swipe of the credit card.
Honestly, who wouldn't want to buy their way to success and happiness?
I know I would. And, if I'm being honest, I embodied that philosophy up until recently and still get caught in that trap of consumerism.
When I was sweating on the blacktop during my fourth-grade recess, I recall the competitive intensity of a game called knockout. In this winner-take-all contest of basketball shooting prowess, I noticed something interesting--the best shooters wore awesome shoes.
This being in the late 1990s, my superior peers sported all kinds of neat sneakers, everything from Iverson's to Shaq's to Jordan's. If only you could've seen my elation when I discovered their secret! All I needed to beat these jumping giants was to convince my parents to buy me some outrageously expensive shoes.
After some serious convincing, I arrived with my first pair of quality high-top Nike basketball shoes. With my newfound confidence and belief that I had just acquired the best jump shot in the entire school, I took to the free throw line. Two bounces. MJ spin. And then I shot.
As you can guess, I didn't win that day. Or many days after. But what I discovered was priceless: that shoes weren't the magical shortcut to athleticism.
Now, I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't have to learn that lesson many more times to understand it, but the truth is that most people never learn something this simple: happiness is not found in objects. And, extending this further, success cannot be acquired through shortcuts.
Despite the many promises on our televisions and social media feeds, objects don't bring happiness and one online course won't bring you success.
You can't make millions by setting up one simple funnel and vacationing in a foreign country. That's just another enticing image inviting you to spend money on a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
The long-term problem is that you aren't creating the foundation of habits that will result in achieving the success you desire. No matter how many quick fixes you purchase, no matter how many motivating seminars you attend, they won't bring you what you really want. That takes effort. Consistency. And excellent habits.
If you truly want happiness, you need to stop practicing the habits of unhappiness--seeking happiness in objects. Happiness is a state of being, part of the natural fragrance of your essence when it's free from obstruction.
Practice releasing the knot that prevents you from experiencing happiness through therapy and coaching. Develop a meditation routine that enhances your ability to be present and engaged without thinking. Allow yourself to deeply feel and express your feelings rather than shutting them out.
And instead of buying short-cuts to success, start networking. When you get home from the job you despise, that's when it's time to invest in your dreams. Set aside time to consult with people familiar with that territory. Do whatever it takes to make that vision manifest in reality if it's that important to you.
Don't buy the shortcut. It won't work. It'll only prolong your suffering like trying to pull your finger out of a Chinese finger trap.
All shortcuts are nothing more than detours in disguise.
But they are so darn attractive.
If I could get away with wearing an electric belt 24 hours a day to have shredded washboard abs like the dudes on supplement containers, I would. But no matter how many electrodes shock your abdominals, you'll be better served by crunches and planks.
Trust me, I tried that one too.