Lies We Tell that Keep us Poor

Lies We Tell that Keep us Poor

When you're a new parent you want to keep your kids safe. You'd never hope they get teased or made fun of. You want them to be normal.

I understand.

However, as I've gotten older, I've learned there are things our parents have told us that keep us from success. Kids hear phrases as they grow up that form who they are and who they'll become.

Lies Parents Tell

Photo credit: {Charlotte.Morrall} / Foter / CC BY

These lies are meant to help children. They're told with love and good intentions, but these lies are neutering the passion with which we could be living life.

Maybe the word “lies” is a bit strong. Maybe it's too bold of a word to use here. But, so are the results these lies cause twenty, thirty, and even forty years later.

Not all lies come in the form of fairy tales. They aren't as weird as three men in a tub or gross as cutting off the tails of a few blind mice with a carving knife. The ones I'm about to share, though taught with good intentions, have much more devastating effects.

Lies Our Parents Told Us that Keep Us from Success

The early bird gets the worm

The motivation behind this phrase is that parents want their kids to be early so they can be on time. My mom would tell me this when she was having trouble getting to school on time.

This lie is based on scarcity. It implies there is only one worm and only one person can get it.

But what about the bird that plans? What about the bird that struggles and strives, rallies support and finally makes it? Where is the worm for that bird?

Besides, what about the tortoise and that crazy hare?

The tortoise always wins that race. Just sayin'.

Don't talk to strangers

I get it, the world can be a scary place. Parents want their kids to be safe by their side.

This lie is based on stranger danger. Don't talk to strangers because they'll throw you in a van, kidnap you and you'll never be heard from again. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I was told that more than once.

The problem with this one is strangers are in possession of everything we could ever want in life.

Your best friend today was once a stranger. The same goes for your spouse, your business partners, your clients, bosses, and employees.

If you want to sell your product, you have to talk to a stranger. If you want to find love, you have to talk to a stranger.

Patience is a virtue

I would hear this every time I wanted a new toy or whenever I couldn't wait to get to Six Flags.

While there is something to be said for patience, there's also something to be said about being a go-getter. Because if it's meant to be, it's up to me.

Every time you've seen success in your life, I'd be willing to bet it's because you went after it. You applied for the job, you asked the girl out on a date, or you asked for the sale.

When I was in Corporate sales, management repeatedly lied and told us things would get better. They asked us to wait because a brighter future, one that wasn't miserable, was coming “next quarter.”

I suspect that if those managers were honest with us, there would have been a mass exodus and there wouldn't have been any need for layoffs “next quarter.” I also suspect that there are still teammates of mine waiting around for things to get better.

While there's something to patience, and it may be virtuous, it won't help you get where you're going. At some point, you have to step on the gas and go.

Stay in school

In 2012, according to Business Insider, 39% of teenagers were expected to graduate from college. In 1990, that percentage was around 20%, in 1970, 10%. Source.

Parents tell their children to stay in school so they can get a good education, get a good job, work for a great company, and retire at sixty.

That picture is no longer true.

Forty years ago, your education made you unique. It meant you could leave your tiny town and “do something with your life.” For many people, college was their ticket.

Today, the world's richest people did not finish formal schooling. I love this quote from Albert Einstein,

Don't let your schooling get in the way of your education.

School is a great place to incubate while you mature. However, more often than not, going to school requires you to go into debt. It teaches you how to become an employee, and work for someone else.

For the first several years of school, I had perfect attendance. Even on the Friday before Spring Break my parents would pick my sister and me up at 9:05, which was just after they checked attendance for the day.

It wasn't until later in life that I realized a Perfect Attendance certificate at the end of the year wouldn't get my anywhere.

According to a study by Oxford Economics, 33% of vacation days are never used. I get it; the workload when you get back can be a nightmare. I've been there.

Stay in school, get perfect attendance, be a good little boy. I'm glad I didn't listen.

It's not about the money

I've said this myself several times. Recently even. However, if we have this idea, even subconsciously, about money, we'll never have any.

If we tell ourselves it's not about the money, we'll never have any (Tweet that!)

If we believe it's not about the money we'll spend as much, or more, than we make. We'll go into debt instead of saving for the future. If we buy into this belief we'll never have excess money, and generosity comes from the overflow.

Money can't buy happiness

While this one is somewhat true, it's also a dirty lie. Though there isn't a jar of happiness on the shelves you can buy at the register, there is food, water, and electricity.

If you believe money can't buy happiness and there's more than to life than money, you'll never have enough to donate, give, or tithe.

It takes money to feed the hungry and clothe the needy. It takes money to give scholarships and pay bills.

Settle Down, Be Normal

While chatting with my friend Jim Woods the other day, I realized something. I wondered if all the things that got us picked on when we were younger are the things that would make us rich today.

The little girl who lugs around the over-sized instrument case. The little boy who is a little too obsessed with his drawings. The kid who spends his playground time lost in imagination instead of playing tag or touch football.

Adults who become successful, and often rich, are the ones who focus on what they love and ignore everything else. They're the ones who never settle for what everyone else is doing. They don't fit in and are never guilty of being “normal.”

If you want to be successful, look at what everyone else is doing, and do the opposite! (Tweet that)

To stand out from the crowd, you can't go along with the crowd. You may get bumped and bruised, but you'll make a difference.

Question: What other lies, or self-limiting beliefs, are you holding onto which are hurting your chances of living the life you were meant to live?


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  • dhirajsharma says:

    Wow, awesome stuff and very useful to me so thanks for sharing with us sir.

    Have a nice day. – Result Zoo

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