The cult of Success™

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I remember the first book about financial improvement I ever read: it was “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. I was lucky enough to have read it young enough that it did begin to change the way I thought about money and finances: less as tools a more as points in a game.

In part because of the mental shift of reading that book, I started my own business in college, Clarus Vending, which I later sold off.

The mentality that most Americans have about money is wrong–and is unhealthy. But the movement that “Rich Dad Poor Dad” started has turned into something dangerous.

And I’ve had enough.

Now, day in and day out I’m bombarded with books and quotes and seminars that promise to change your life. For just $399 anyone can enroll in a motivational seminar that promises to make you at least $1000 within three months. For $18.31, anyone can buy a book about some magical subconscious magnetic field that promises to make all your thoughts a reality–WITH free two-day shipping.

The courses and the books, in the meantime are full of nothing but one of Cards Against Humanity’s best-selling items.

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Spiritual money

Most religions have their own traditions and rituals that help establish a sense of community and a reverent atmosphere–the Cult of Money and Success is no different. In their case, they use vision boards and visualizations of money coming to them. In fact, I would not be surprised in the slightest if some Money Magic Secret and Success book peddler told their readers to whisper to the money to have it come back while spending it.

But that is exactly the problem with these kinds of books and seminars. Those who are actually successful did not begin at these seminars NOR do they attend them in the hopes of getting richer. All they really do is cover how to make a vision board and the most effective way to visualize money.

I will admit, as inspirational and motivational seminars they do a fantastic job. But that’s all they ever were. Taking those seminars expecting them to be the source of all money is a bad idea a best and straight-up delusional at worst. The fact of the matter is those courses exist just to motivate, not to provide solutions.

But like in the movie “Yes Man,” that magic that the main character signed on to turns out to be nothing but nonsense. In the movie, the guru revels that it takes the judicious application of the his “covenant” to bring about actual success.

But most people, like those in the movie, don’t apply the concept judiciously, but rather blindly follow the teachings presented. So instead actually seeing success and money, most just end up needing to pee really bad from all of the Kool-Aid that they drank.

Oh yeah.

Formulas exist in math and cooking

And that’s just about it. The path to success in any case is impossible for any one person to understand–much less to package neatly within 200-300 pages written at a 7th grade reading level, the US average as determined by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

It just doesn’t work.

It hasn’t worked.

Stop looking for easy solutions and welcome to the long slog up. Inspirational quotes and self-help books and visualization boards have a purpose, but their purpose has become distorted. It’s time to reclaim their purpose for that they are: symbolic aids and not as the actual solution.

You’ll be amazed what heights you’ll reach once you actually start climbing.

Do you like what I write? Follow my 140 character rants on Twitter

Cover photo by Alexandre Perotto

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