Conway Daily Sun, February 8, 2012
By Michael Kline
When you feel envious, is it because you really want something or is it just a habit? Sometimes we say we want something, but we really don’t. Envy is not a friend. The world is a circle, and there is always someone much richer and much poorer than you. To envy is a major waste of time, as it cannot ever be satisfied.
Lately there’s been a lot of talk about envy in the news. You don’t need to be a cable TV junkie to see how even well-intended words can cause an uproar when words are poorly placed, taken out of context, or simply disagreeable. The phrase “politics of envy” seems to be one of the many new “code-phrases” politicians use because they know that their intended audience will understand them with a different twist than what other people think they mean. One person might think it means that people without money are just jealous and have nothing to complain about. Someone else might think the phrase means that some certain types of people are too lazy to work and only want government handouts. The politician brilliantly (or hideously depending on your point of view) lets his audience decide on their own, who he’s talking about. Each listener will insert either themselves or some minority group, or political group into the equation. That’s the brilliant part of using code words; you don’t have to defend what you let people think all by themselves. I don’t use code words. I am clearly stating that in my opinion, if you look at what other people have, and you think you want it, you can choose to complain about it, or you can empower yourself to do something about it.
Let’s talk about envy. On occasion, I am verbally assaulted with words like “easy for you – you have money”. In my volunteer work, I hear people say things like “there’s no help for the poor to get started, everyone wants to keep us down”, or “no one will lend me money or give me a grant, or give me a chance, so I can’t start anything”. Knowing these people are suffering and have been fed (or fed themselves) a lot of brain-washing crap, I try to answer with encouragement. To be honest, my true feeling is that of astonishment and I want to say WTF? (win the future)! I could almost say I understand how Mitt Romney must feel when he talks the politics of envy. (oh relax, I said almost)!
Give or take a few hundred million dollars, I’m wealthy too, although still poor enough to be in a much higher tax bracket than real millionaires! My wealth is measured in blessings of family, friends, an ability to work, and personal traits such as creativity and tenacity, that allow me to create whatever I need. Speaking about material wealth, at the poorest point in life I slept in my car and showered at work while between couch surfing and finding a room for rent. These days, I am enjoying my personal and financial freedom as I have defined it for me. I suspect many more affluent folks would freak if they had to live within my means, but as I said the world is a circle and this stuff is all relative. My point is that I am qualified to make the argument I am about to make, so if you find yourself wanting more from life, pay attention. I can’t imagine how most people couldn’t achieve at least enough to be comfortable and take care of themselves and their family.
Mostly, it takes wanting something. I mean really, really want it. Most people don’t have a clue how to figure out what they really want, so start with this clue to know what you don’t want – if you are not willing to do the really hard work to get something, you’re not talking about something you really want, or you would just shut up and do it. I really wanted out of poverty – it turns out, I don’t enjoy poverty and I never want to see it again. Today I have a home I love, in a neighborhood I love, in the town I love, because I worked 7 days a week for most of twenty years. Smarter people might have accomplished much more in less time, but this is how I know that with enough passion and tenacity, anyone can do it eventually. We’ve renovated and flipped eight homes over the years, while most people would not be willing to live in renovation hell for two years at a time only to sell their home and move again and again. Constant disruption and stress is a price I’m willing to pay to get what I want. It’s just choices. Our current home (like every previous home) we bought at a steal which took three years of house-hunting to find. Most people don’t have that level of patience, so they might make a different choice. Patience is a price I’m willing to pay to get what I want. We worked fourteen hours last Friday and fifteen hours on Saturday, tiling floors. I felt like I did twenty years ago when we did our first house – excited, proud, rewarded, exhausted and aching. It’s a price I’m willing to pay to get what I want. The reward is I have no complaints and most everything I want.
Nothing is free, but everything is affordable. Anything that costs money can be gotten without it. It doesn’t take huge talent to achieve something – consider most best-selling products and services today are mediocre at best. You don’t have to be particularly smart – I’ve seen plenty of idiots achieve great results just out of pure commitment. You don’t need money or friends – you can make both. You don’t need looks or style – you have to figure out what you want, determine what it will cost to get it, then go about paying that price. Go get ‘em!
Disclaimer – in no way, shape or form, am I saying people don’t need our support and help. There are far too many people who do not have resources to make a change in their life. Not everyone lives in a community that enjoys our opportunities. Not everyone has the minimum level of skill to even read this article. Lots of people need government or charitable help, I just don’t want you to be among them if you don’t have to be. If you have resources, please share them – money may be the least helpful compared to advice, encouragement, education, inspiration, etc.
Michael Kline is a local retailer, success coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website, www.klineseminars.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.