As a small business coach, I find myself contemplating many things that relate to success. And, as an attorney, after the Supreme Court decision on “Obamacare” yesterday, I found myself contemplating entitlement. Specifically, I contemplated “what are we entitled to?”
I took a logical approach to this question. Then I related it to “personal responsibility” and how one becomes a millionaire.
So, let’s consider the question.
Well, we aren’t actually entitled to be born. That takes an act of a man and a woman. That act may be conscious or unconscious. It may be physical or by artificial insemination. However, we aren’t entitled to be born, we simply were born. We also aren’t entitled to die. We simply will die.
Are we actually “entitled” to food and water? Well, about 1/3 of the world doesn’t even have food and water on any regular basis, so clearly we aren’t “entitled” to food and water, we have to do something to get it. So apparently we aren’t entitled to food and water because if we were, wouldn’t everyone automatically have food and water?
Then I thought deeper. I thought about a baby growing up. Are we entitled to our parent’s love? Well given the large number of babies that apparently don’t get a lot of love, if any, we aren’t. Either a parent takes responsibility to provide that love or doesn’t.
In fact, I couldn’t come up with one single thing we are actually “entitled” to receive as a human being.
I also realized there is an important distinction between entitlement and responsibility. While it does not appear anyone is entitled to anything back from the world – just for having been born, I do believe we each have responsibilities.
And, those responsibilities extend beyond ourselves to include others and the society in which we live. My parents taught me that we are each responsible to leave the world a better place than when we got here. That is a foundational concept in both Conscious Millionaire Institute, LLC and in Conscious World Foundation, Inc, the 501c(3) non-profit I founded which works in youth empowerment and leadership.
And, so with the baby, I believe parents, both father and mother, have a responsibility to the baby to love, nurture, protect, guide, care for, discipline, teach, and help their child develop into a responsible, resourceful, and self-reliant adult.
It has also been my observation that people who act with personal responsibility, resourceful, and self-reliant aren’t just more successful, they are also happier and more fulfilled.
By contrast, I’ve observed that people who are constantly looking for the handout entitlement, blame others for their situation in life, and don’t take responsibility, are usually the least successful, least happy, and least fulfilled.
This, of course, brought me to thinking about the people I help: entrepreneurs and people who want to be entrepreneurs. And, I thought about my constant joke about government entitlement programs and making money, more precisely, creating wealth.
There are all kinds of entitlement programs, each designed for various ways to be poor. In short, designed for people who have a victim mindset.
So the tongue in cheek joke I tell?
“There are NO entitlement programs for becoming a millionaire.”
Let’s think about this for a moment. This really isn’t a joke, is it?
Because the truth is the ONLY way you can become a millionaire (well, a self-made millionaire as in you didn’t win the lottery or inherit the money) is to move out of victim hood and move into personal responsibility.
The truth is:
Weak people look for entitlements. They maintain a victim mindset and seek someone to take care of them. And, by providing that to them, we reinforce their own – inaccurate – self perception that they can’t take responsibility for themselves.
This all relates to the “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish – which includes how to take responsibility for fishing and feeding him/herself – and you feed them for life!” story. It’s an enduring story because it tells an enduring truth.
Now, some people reading this just started screaming and yelling. They may even project all kinds of untrue things on to me. Like how could you be so heartless and not realize that these poor “unfortunates” need our help? What kind of person would say such a thing?
My answer, a conscious man who grew up in a family with little money, in fact, with many financial struggles. A man who at the age of five decided he wasn’t going to be a victim to this way of thinking and acting – that he was going to become a millionaire and be empowered to make his difference in the world!
How? Well there weren’t any entitlement programs then, just as there aren’t now, for becoming a millionaire – so I figured out I was going to have to do something about this myself.
By this I mean, I was going to have to take personal responsibility.
And, in further response to what kind of man would say these things? I am a man who deeply cares about others and wants the best for them. Which is why I am writing this. I feel compelled to speak the unvarnished truth.
You receive from life exactly what you take responsibility to create. YOU create your future.
Now, what I’ve discovered through my own success, observing other successful people, and from coaching some amazing entrepreneurs who made great strides forward, is the following.
Each person has a choice to make. They can either remain weak and live in victim land, which ultimately doesn’t help yourself, others, or the world.
OR you can choose to do the following three things:
1. tap into your potential
2. take responsibility to do something with it
3. create the results you want and achieve the wealth, life, and success you desire.
I work with people who want to live in personal responsibility land. They realize that there are actually NO entitlements for people who want high levels of success.
Therefore they take responsibility for turning their potential into results – results that help themselves, other people, and our world. They take responsibility for achieving what they desire, for making their difference, for touching other people’s lives – for leaving their mark on the world and for creating their legacy.
The unvarnished truth, my friend, is the following…
YOU are entitled to nothing. And if we as individuals or as a nation think, feel, and act if we are, then we create a weak, not strong future for ourselves.
Of course, it sounds great to say that if you can’t afford this or that, you’ll get it for free. It even sounds like the “good” or “right” thing to do. However, as “well intended” as it may be, when we create programs that give handouts without also requiring the recipients to become responsible for their lives and futures, we create dependency instead of resourcefulness and self-reliance.
And financially, the truth is, as every entrepreneur knows, every expense has to be paid for. Now or at sometime in the future.
Now, it is obvious that I only chose to deal with one of the issues from the Supreme Court Case. And, it wasn’t the reasoning for the holding, even though I personally think that recasting the issue from commerce clause to taxing authority to let the law fully stand was bad judicial reasoning. I also didn’t address many aspects of the law that I believe are good social policy.
Instead, I chose to only address one issue: the underlying philosophy of this law. And, I chose to address it because this is THE issue that relates to both the strength of each individual and the overall group strength of our country.
And, as a person who deeply cares about each person achieving their true potential and creating their desired futures, this issue concerns me. Here it is in straightforward terms…
The truth is simple. We create weak people who feel like victims when we train them to expect entitlements. And, when we do this, we are, in effect lying to them. What?
Yes, we are lying because the mere act of treating them as “less than,” as “unfortunate,” as “victims of their circumstances” or whatever other excuse one may create for why they can’t take charge over their future, we are lying. We are lying because the truth is they CAN take responsibility for achieving. They CAN become self-disciplined. They CAN create a better future. With rare exception, such as severe handicaps of some type, everyone CAN.
And when we lie like this we not only create weak people, we create a weak nation. Think Greece.
Worse, even when it is well intended, when we create programs that, in effect, simply give handouts without also requiring a person to become responsible and self-reliant, we create weak people, not strong people. In this way, we actually do a disservice to them.
However, when we tell people YOU CAN and then expect them to take responsibility by turning their potential into results, we create strong people and therefore a strong nation and strong future!
Now, the point of this blog is singular. It is to say: YOU have an OPTION. And, that option is to take responsibility to create the life and business you want.
There is only one level playing field in life, my friend. And it isn’t one in which each person starts at the same place. That isn’t how life works.
The one true leveler in life is CHOICE. No matter what has happened in your past, what circumstances you have in your life right now, you have a choice to take responsibility now – for your life and your future.
And, that, my friend, is the only path to becoming a millionaire, the only path to creating a meaningful legacy, the only path to achieving of true lasting value with your life.
It’s your life. It’s your future.
Which path do you CHOOSE to take?
J V Crum, III, M.B.A., J.D., M.S. Psy
Author, “Conscious Millionaire: The Formula for Creating Wealth.”
Keynote Speaker, Event Presenter, Radio and TV Guest Personality.
Small Business Coaching, Entrepreneurship Training, Leadership Development
Founder/CEO: Conscious Millionaire Institute, LLC / Conscious World Foundation, Inc.