Discover more from Culturcidal by John Hawkins
Don’t Ever Trust Anyone That Tries to Convince You to “Be Less”
Over the course of your life, you’re going to run across an almost infinite number of corporations, activists, politicians, and people that look like you or are similar to you in some way or another. Many of these people and organizations will claim to be speaking for you, fighting for you, or looking out for you.
One thing I can tell you from a lifetime of experience is that an awful lot of them are liars. They don’t care about you and the only things they’re fighting for are to get more money, attention, and influence. If people get helped during that process, super, but whether your life gets better, or you drop dead doesn’t mean very much to them. While how much clout they get out of claiming to be “fighting for you” means a great deal to them.
Now, I did say an “awful lot of them” are liars. There are some people that genuinely wish you well. So, how do you tell who those people are?
Well, the first question you should ask is, “Is this family or a good friend?” You know, the sort of people who might buy you a Christmas gift, help you move, or let you crash on their sofa for a couple of nights. None of those things make them perfect, but unless you’re beloved and famous like Elon Musk, The Rock, or Taylor Swift, you’re probably not going to have a lot of people like that in your life. Maybe if you’re good-looking or charming, you might have more than the average person, but over the course of your life, it’s still going to be a relatively small number of people.
Once you get past that group of people, you MIGHT be fortunate enough to know some people who are committed to helping others and doing acts of service. We’re talking about the sort of people who volunteer to help others, serve as missionaries or pastors, work in animal shelters, or find other ways to serve others. They’re flawed human beings, just like the rest of us, but pretty clearly they’re at least TRYING to help humanity in their own way, and it says something that they’re sacrificing their money and time to do it. There are an awful lot of us who generally like the idea of helping in a homeless shelter or going to clean up some trash-strewn part of our local community, but very few of us actually do it. That’s a little ironic given that in my entire life, I’ve never heard anyone who actually put the time and effort into helping people like that say they regretted it, but still, the number of people who go that route is relatively small.
Beyond that, there are all sorts of people that claim they want you to succeed, but do they really mean it? If you’re trying to come up with an answer to that question, there’s a key thing you should consider that very few people do.
Are they trying to make you MORE or LESS? By that, I mean are they advocating for you to become, in the immortal words of Kanye West, “Bigger, better, faster, stronger?”
Are they trying to help you develop skills? Become more independent? Build your own business? Become someone, not just that you would be proud of, but someone your mom or 10-year-old would be proud of. That’s someone who is trying to help you become MORE.
Someone who is trying to convince you to become less is telling you that the deck is stacked against you, that it’s unfair, that you don’t need to change, the WORLD needs to change. The government needs to step in and do more for you, make sure you get paid more, and give you more things for free. You don’t need to become better; you just need to do what they tell you and in return, they’ll give you things that will make your sad life marginally easier and more tolerable. That’s someone who is encouraging you to be LESS. You should be very suspicious of people who want you to be less, who offer you things for free, and who tell you that the world needs to change to accommodate you.
I tell you this for two reasons.
The first is that there is no such thing as standing still in life. You are either going forward or backward, getting better or getting worse, growing or dying. You can wait a lifetime for the world to change or for other people to fix your problems without ever having anything change and guess what? Many people do exactly that and have horrible lives. Do you want to be happy? You have to grow. Do you want to do better in life? Then you have to get better. Your parents may always love you no matter what, but you’re not going to love yourself unless you improve and neither is the rest of the world.
The second thing is that over the course of my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet, interview and watch how a lot of the most successful people live their lives. Many of these people are deeply flawed, they’ve made big mistakes and yes, they’ve fallen short many times. But, you know what else? During that whole process they’ve grown, they’ve improved, they’ve added new skills and they’ve become better than they used to be. Think about the most successful people in America. The ones that are most admired, most liked, and the most successful, and ask yourself some questions about how they got that way. Did they put in no work or a lot of work? Did they take risks or no risks? Did they grow their skills or stay in the same spot?
Do you know what’s really sad? Every human being you know has the potential to be genuinely great at SOMETHING. The reason that’s sad is so many people never find out what that thing is. They get comfortable, they get content, they get okay with being in a rut and they never know what they could have been.
Personally? That quote is a core part of who I am as a human being, but I get that not everyone looks at it that way. Still, if you can be a good cook, a good mom, and good at growing plants, wouldn’t you rather be those things than never reach your potential? Do you think a man is going to be happier staying the same from 20-to-40 or is he going to have a better life if he learns to fix a car, picks up enough new skills to get promoted, becomes a crack shot, and becomes competent at coaching his son’s baseball team? It doesn’t matter if you’re 90 years old, it’s still not too late to get better.
This is one reason why it bothers me to hear people advocate a higher minimum wage, say that every job should pay a “living wage,” whatever that is, call for “safe spaces,” demand censorship to keep people from hearing things they don’t like, claim black Americans aren’t capable of getting driver’s licenses, ask everyone else to pay off student loans or generally focusing on handing people things on a silver platter without them having to learn, grow and work for it. It’s like that amazing quote from Jim Rohn that advises:
Don’t try to idiot-proof it, teach people not to be idiots. Don’t demand that the rest of society carry the worst of us on their backs, try to teach everyone to stand on their own two feet. Don’t try to make life easier, help people become better.
All of us are where we are, but we have the freedom to start changing that.
There’s a lot to be said for making it easier for people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, helping them gain new skills, and making it easier for them to get better. There’s little to be said for telling people they’re fine as they are and everything else needs to change to suit them.