This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999
I bet you all remember this line from the prophetic movie “The Matrix”, not just because Morpheus said it, but because it applies one hundred percent to everyone’s real life. Social Conditioning which is the main focus of this article, is a real killer. A silent killer that not only destroys your dreams, but also puts you in a sweet sleep that most of the times you won’t be able to wake up from.
I have been fed the BLUE pill
According to wikipedia, social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. In simple terms by social conditioning we mean all the *messages, lessons and behaviors* we are taught from the time we are born, until the moment we die, on how we should feel, think and behave relatively to the three main pillars of life – health, wealth, relationships.
Ninety nine percent of the times, this conditioning ruins us so badly that the best case scenario is to become another average person in our society. Let alone what the worst case scenario might be.
This my friend is the blue pill you have been taking for your whole life!
As I mentioned before, although bad social conditioning will have a big impact in all major aspects of someone’s life (health, wealth and relationships), in this specific article we are going to see closely how we are influenced by it, relatively to our wealth route – anyone surprised?? – and what we can do to overcome it. I promise though, that I am going to touch this issue again in future posts, talking about the impact of social conditioning on our health and relationships.
First the mindset, then the achievement
In order for any person to achieve something great in his life, he generally needs to do two things:
- Set a goal and believe this goal is achievable (mindset, theoretical level) – Importance 90%
- Learn the “how to” (practical, technical skill) – Importance 10%
Believe it or not, most people think the second part is the most important or difficult one. Actually this cannot be further from true. In every instance of a major success or skill acquisition, believing in it, is by far the most difficult – and the only essential part for that matter, if you ask me. If you really believe that something is achievable, there is no fucking obstacle you cannot overcome in this universe, to get it.
Here lies the most difficult part though. How many of us REALLY believe they can become rich? Have you ever asked your friends, relatives, co-workers? Well, I have…And I can assure you, I couldn’t find many – actually it is closer to zero, but I was trying to be nice.
Who is to blame? You might ask. To be honest, that is not an easy question to answer. It’s a little bit of everything. By the time we are born and maybe for a few months to follow, most of things (not all) are going as nature intended it. Most of the programs that are hardwired in our brains, should work OK. By the time the child starts to have the first real interactions with her family, this is the time things start to get screwed.
Our parents – although they love us almost infinitely – they as well are the same victims of the same social conditioning. They, as well believed that becoming rich is not possible and the best case scenario for you will be to finish the school with some decent grades and then try to get into the college. If you are good enough to graduate from there, you should really make an effort to get into some shitty job (by sending out a few hundred resumes) to barely make a living. If you make it through this stage again – essentially your whole life, from 25ish to 60ish – you should feel like a king if you get some pension, only to die poor a few years later.
Please take a moment all of you, to really think about it for a moment. How many of you deviate even a few degrees from the mindset mentioned above. Not many I guess.
You, my fellow readers, have been victims of the same social conditioning, as I was, for a lot of years. The brain wash we pass through, all these years is so tremendous that very few of us really make it to riches. It makes perfect sense to stay poor, if you really believe that being rich is impossible, or just a very distant dream.
We have been fed the blue pill of ignorance for too long.
The first million is the most difficult to make (read through the end of this article to learn why)
I bet you have heard of many examples of world records or great achievements, that remained unbroken for years, only to be repeatedly broken after the first time someone made it. The reason this happens is because up until then, none was thinking it was possible.
Unfortunately – like it is with everything else – when it comes to money, odds are, none of your close environment believes being rich is really possible, so as years pass you are *taught* to believe the same thing. Our social circle has a tremendous influence on us and the way we build our belief system. Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, go really deep to all the implications and how much we are influenced by our social networks in their excellent book Connected.
They even mention in there, that it is very easy to find someone’s income if you know the income of his five closest persons. All you need to do is to sum up all five incomes and divide with five to find the average.
Moreover, like conscious level of bad social conditioning wasn’t enough, there is an even worse kind, none of us can really “see” or feel. The worst kind of social conditioning – like all cool stuff – always takes place in the sub-conscious level. Indirect social conditioning like bad behaviors, stupid/non existent mindset, pessimism and a million others, really shape our behavioral patterns in a huge way.
I want the RED pill
Like I always do, I am going to give you some hard shells to shoot down the big ugly monster of social conditioning. The methods mentioned below are some universal guidelines that worked for me in the past, and they are still, as of this writing the best way I have found to clear and reset my mind on a daily basis. Red pill is made of three main ingredients:
- Educate yourself
- Improve your social circle
- Recalibrate and focus on your long term goals
Let’s see in more detail one by one.
The absolute first step you need to start with the “cleansing” of the bad conditioning is education. The real know how of things, is the rifle that never misses when it comes to make a killing of all bad examples we are fed for years. By studying a lot you not only learn how things are supposed to work by nature – contrary to what society on average thinks it is supposed to work nowadays – but you also get real life examples of very successful people that went contrary to what general population made in order to succeed. There are countless books you can read – I will even have a fully dedicated post to the most influential books I have read that changed my mind – that will truly help you clean the bad mindset you have built all these years.
Books like biographies of successful people, high quality mindset books that teach you the correct mindset that someone needs to have in order to succeed in his life like Rich Dad Poor Dad, from Robert T. Kiyosaki or How Rich People Think, from Steve Siebold, are only a few examples of such books.
Another fine method of education is watching online lectures and documentaries. Now, not all documentaries are helpful, but on average a well put documentary is a thousand times better than the crap you are going to watch on an average TV show.
[bctt tweet=”Average people have big TV’s, successful people have big libraries”]
Lectures and documentaries about economics, financial history, money creation etc. are only a few of the vast amount of information you can find available for free on the internet. Topdocumentaryfilms.com is one of the best places to start watching documentaries, for virtually about anything you might want to educate yourself. Online courses are another excellent way of education. The Great Courses is among the best online courses systems you can find. You should definitely want to take a look at that, if you ever find yourself easier to learn by watching than by reading.
Improve your social circle
What a huge area to cover here. This phrase alone could be a whole article on its own – and it will probably be. Apart from the TV, magazines etc. the persons closest to us will influence as a lot, whether we like it or not. Since you will need to spend most of your will power to clean your head first, you won’t be able to make the same for all of your friends, family and the rest of your social surrounding. It might sound extreme to you, but desperate times call for desperate measures (what an awesome quote)!
Since our goal is always excellence, we cannot leave anything to chance. You might need to reduce the time you allocate to some people or lose them altogether, even if we talk about people we really love and care about. I have done this before, and I would do it again without regretting for a single moment. There are lots of really great people out there and there is no need to be stuck with old emotional liaisons of the past, just for the sake of it. Just go out and try to always meet new brilliant and successful people that will have something useful to tell you about.
My personal mindset on this is that, in order to keep or create a new connection, I should be able to take some value from him, give some value to him, or ideally exchange some value between the two parties. When none of you or the other party has something of value to offer, it’s simply no deal.
Recalibrate and focus on your target again and again
Re-design your reality, erase the bad social conditioning
The final step is to really design your reality from scratch. It will be hard. It might take months or even years, depending on your age, your perception, your overall awareness and the amount of effort you are willing to put into this. But eventually you will get it right. It will take massive amounts of effort to un-do all the harm and the brain wash you have suffered all these years.
There will be times you will want to quit and go back to watch some stupid TV show. These are the times you should be adamant and take a book to read instead. Always be laser focused on your target. If your goal is to make a million dollars, have it painted on the wall of your house and never lose site of it.
Start by making simple things first. You will need to take one step at a time. Try to come up with a business idea to make a single dollar. When successful, make everything you can to repeat and scale this. Nobody said it will be easy, but I bet it will worth every second of fear and joy you put into it. Nobody gave it for free to you. You earned it, it’s YOURS!
Back to the million dollar bait I have thrown to you before…
The first million dollar is always the most difficult to make, mainly due to three reasons:
- You don’t really know how to make it (technically speaking), this is also the reason most people think of as the most important one.
- You don’t have much of a leverage in order either to invest, or as a working capital to grow your business (things get a lot easier after you have some really good leverage).
- You don’t really think is is possible to be done until you make it for the first time! (now you have it, this is the real reason the first time of everything is the most difficult one to make)
So which pill are you going to take after all?
Bad social conditioning is the worst thing that will happen to your life. Ever. You can blame social conditioning virtually for everything, even the good things that happen. Our goal is to always try to understand the problem and come up with a solution about it. Instead of staying on your couch and blaming others for all the shit you have tasted, take all the blame yourself and start thinking what needs to be done to make things right.
This post can be a starting point to take corrective action now. It never is too late to make things right, grab a book, kick all the bad influence out of your life and set a clear goal that you will want to achieve even if that means you will have to cross a desert on the back of a three legged, semi-blind camel who only speaks Greek.
Could you actually come up with some other examples of bad social conditioning that influence our lives on a daily basis. Have you ever made a try to change some of them?