The Insufferably Viral Arrogance of the Middle Class

 

My Pyramid

I – like a solid portion of my audience in all likelihood – come from a middle class family.

Seldom have I felt like anything in the world was out of my grasp, and I generally assume that if I want to do something, there will be a way to do it if I’m willing to work hard enough.

Vertical mobility is a psychological reality in the First World (even if it doesn’t necessarily happen as frequently as we’d like to believe) which means that if I find myself in a situation I don’t like I am certain I can figure out a way to make myself stronger/richer/faster/whatever other adjective I want to be. It happens all the time. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work for me.

Boom, the arrogance of the middle class. And largely it’s warranted. Despite all the problems with the Western World, the fact is that we really do have a massive middle class and because of this the vast majority of people are comfortable and confident enough to not worry about a whole lot beyond what impacts their immediate lifestyle. We’re pretty far up Maslow’s pyramid, and the view is great.

But therein lies the downside, as well, because no matter how much we are told about the problems of the world, it’s incredibly difficult for us to put ourselves in the mindset of someone who is living in a wildly different reality.

Their Pyramid

I’m traveling through Peru, on my way to Lima from Buenos Aires and I’ve got 10 hours left on a 72 hour bus ride.

This bus sucks, and that’s no lie. The seats are cramped, the bathroom may as well not even be there and the air conditioning isn’t doing much to suppress the pulsing desert heat.

Looking out the window, I see a handful of Peruvians my age, clustered around a fire outside a house built out of tree trunks and plaster, the top unfinished and one side collapsing. They look up as the bus passes – a little surprised but not enough to stir from their reverie – eyes pivoting back to the sputtering of the flames, minds reseting, eyes unfocusing.

I know from speaking to a few people in this part of Peru that their prospects are clear, and they aren’t much.

The buses are where most of the locals make their money, climbing aboard and peddling homemade foodstuffs and to captive passengers and then getting dropped off a few miles further down the road, hoping to catch another bus or otherwise walking back, potentially not having made a single sale for their efforts.

There’s a chance that someone here will meet a mate from another country or city and make their way to a city, but it’s incredibly unlikely, and the locals are still talking about the last one that happened…30 years ago.

No, what usually happens to these kids is they grow up in the same town as their parents, doing the same thing that their parents do; manning snack shops, selling Inca Cola to tourists and lounging about with their friends after dark, encircling a fire build on the front stoop, talking about anyone interesting they saw on the buses earlier that day and probably that lucky gal from 30 years ago.

Motive Power

What’s the point of motivation? Or a better question, where would it even come from? If your reality is such that you’re good and caught in a town where mobility – upward or otherwise – simply isn’t possible on any kind of scale, what’s the point of moving beyond the campfire to see what else is out there in the world? There would be no one to encourage you. No old wive’s tales about the son-in-law who sold his startup for 5 million dollars while in his teens or the middle-management shlub who became CEO.

That’s probably the biggest benefit of being a member of the middle class and the biggest deficit suffered by those who are not. The modern folktales passed on from person to person, describing what’s possible and who can do what and how are what keep us all ticking, moving forward and striving for more.

Keeping these tales alive are what keep our ambitions alive, and passing them on are what spreads the fire of innovation.

Spark a fire; tell your tale.

76 comments

  1. Thank you so much for ending the post on a good note. I’ve heard too many times “You should be grateful for your cush life. Millions of people are starving in foreign countries. You have it easy.”

    Well, yes, in many ways I do have a cush life, and I totally appreciate it. But on the other side I can’t help but think comparing ourselves, our lives, and the culture that’s helped us become who we are; compare those very personal aspects with those of the completely different set of traits that someone across the globe does. Not to even mention the traits of somebody who lives down the street. It’s all in relation to each person. Everybody has their own personal life that only they truly know.

    But yes, I still appreciate my “wealthy” upbringing.

  2. Thank you so much for ending the post on a good note. I’ve heard too many times “You should be grateful for your cush life. Millions of people are starving in foreign countries. You have it easy.”

    Well, yes, in many ways I do have a cush life, and I totally appreciate it. But on the other side I can’t help but think comparing ourselves, our lives, and the culture that’s helped us become who we are; compare those very personal aspects with those of the completely different set of traits that someone across the globe does. Not to even mention the traits of somebody who lives down the street. It’s all in relation to each person. Everybody has their own personal life that only they truly know.

    But yes, I still appreciate my “wealthy” upbringing.

  3. Thank you so much for ending the post on a good note. I’ve heard too many times “You should be grateful for your cush life. Millions of people are starving in foreign countries. You have it easy.”

    Well, yes, in many ways I do have a cush life, and I totally appreciate it. But on the other side I can’t help but think comparing ourselves, our lives, and the culture that’s helped us become who we are; compare those very personal aspects with those of the completely different set of traits that someone across the globe does. Not to even mention the traits of somebody who lives down the street. It’s all in relation to each person. Everybody has their own personal life that only they truly know.

    But yes, I still appreciate my “wealthy” upbringing.

  4. Thank you so much for ending the post on a good note. I’ve heard too many times “You should be grateful for your cush life. Millions of people are starving in foreign countries. You have it easy.”

    Well, yes, in many ways I do have a cush life, and I totally appreciate it. But on the other side I can’t help but think comparing ourselves, our lives, and the culture that’s helped us become who we are; compare those very personal aspects with those of the completely different set of traits that someone across the globe does. Not to even mention the traits of somebody who lives down the street. It’s all in relation to each person. Everybody has their own personal life that only they truly know.

    But yes, I still appreciate my “wealthy” upbringing.

  5. Interesting that you associate those tales with the middle class specifically. I’m inclined to think that inspirational stories are what emerges from those who don’t have the middle class arrogance. We were raised believing it’s perfectly alright (in fact, it was encouraged) for us to question authority, speak up when we have an idea, and claim a position in society that is ‘rightfully’ ours (I’m not discounting the work to get there).

    But then I think, the stories of others who have moved out of a position of poverty or perceived inferiority would be necessary for those outside of the middle class but who are still aware of the opportunities that they aren’t privileged to have. How does that guy keep getting on the bus day after day to sell his knock offs and handmade crafts if not for the belief that there’s an opportunity a little of the middle class life will rub off on him as he fills his wallet?

    That’s perhaps a bit arrogant, but in Africa I spoke to a few guys there about my life in the US, and though they were mostly baffled that a young single woman could do and have the things I do, there was a sense of “That’s why I do what I do too, because I believe that what you have is possible for me, too. I just have to work harder.”

  6. Interesting that you associate those tales with the middle class specifically. I’m inclined to think that inspirational stories are what emerges from those who don’t have the middle class arrogance. We were raised believing it’s perfectly alright (in fact, it was encouraged) for us to question authority, speak up when we have an idea, and claim a position in society that is ‘rightfully’ ours (I’m not discounting the work to get there).

    But then I think, the stories of others who have moved out of a position of poverty or perceived inferiority would be necessary for those outside of the middle class but who are still aware of the opportunities that they aren’t privileged to have. How does that guy keep getting on the bus day after day to sell his knock offs and handmade crafts if not for the belief that there’s an opportunity a little of the middle class life will rub off on him as he fills his wallet?

    That’s perhaps a bit arrogant, but in Africa I spoke to a few guys there about my life in the US, and though they were mostly baffled that a young single woman could do and have the things I do, there was a sense of “That’s why I do what I do too, because I believe that what you have is possible for me, too. I just have to work harder.”

  7. Interesting that you associate those tales with the middle class specifically. I’m inclined to think that inspirational stories are what emerges from those who don’t have the middle class arrogance. We were raised believing it’s perfectly alright (in fact, it was encouraged) for us to question authority, speak up when we have an idea, and claim a position in society that is ‘rightfully’ ours (I’m not discounting the work to get there).

    But then I think, the stories of others who have moved out of a position of poverty or perceived inferiority would be necessary for those outside of the middle class but who are still aware of the opportunities that they aren’t privileged to have. How does that guy keep getting on the bus day after day to sell his knock offs and handmade crafts if not for the belief that there’s an opportunity a little of the middle class life will rub off on him as he fills his wallet?

    That’s perhaps a bit arrogant, but in Africa I spoke to a few guys there about my life in the US, and though they were mostly baffled that a young single woman could do and have the things I do, there was a sense of “That’s why I do what I do too, because I believe that what you have is possible for me, too. I just have to work harder.”

  8. Interesting that you associate those tales with the middle class specifically. I’m inclined to think that inspirational stories are what emerges from those who don’t have the middle class arrogance. We were raised believing it’s perfectly alright (in fact, it was encouraged) for us to question authority, speak up when we have an idea, and claim a position in society that is ‘rightfully’ ours (I’m not discounting the work to get there).

    But then I think, the stories of others who have moved out of a position of poverty or perceived inferiority would be necessary for those outside of the middle class but who are still aware of the opportunities that they aren’t privileged to have. How does that guy keep getting on the bus day after day to sell his knock offs and handmade crafts if not for the belief that there’s an opportunity a little of the middle class life will rub off on him as he fills his wallet?

    That’s perhaps a bit arrogant, but in Africa I spoke to a few guys there about my life in the US, and though they were mostly baffled that a young single woman could do and have the things I do, there was a sense of “That’s why I do what I do too, because I believe that what you have is possible for me, too. I just have to work harder.”

  9. Thanks for this insightful and thought-provoking post. I came to it from a link on Twitter by @MattWilsontv.

    Story-telling is a powerful tool for teaching and for encouraging reflection. We don’t always take the time we should to tell our stories. It feels like bragging sometimes, and other times like living in the past.

    But we also have to remember how much people like stories and keeping up with them. And it’s not just the movies. I remember when I was a kid, the best stories I heard were from my grandmother, who lived through the great depression.

    Even the simplest facts were fascinating to me, and thinking back to those times reminds me where my passion for writing and music came from, and later, why I became interested in working in higher ed/student affairs. I love hearing people’s stories. I also like knowing that when I helped students in one way or another, that I was becoming a part of their story, even if only a bit part, walk-on role, with not that many lines.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Well said.

  10. Thanks for this insightful and thought-provoking post. I came to it from a link on Twitter by @MattWilsontv.

    Story-telling is a powerful tool for teaching and for encouraging reflection. We don’t always take the time we should to tell our stories. It feels like bragging sometimes, and other times like living in the past.

    But we also have to remember how much people like stories and keeping up with them. And it’s not just the movies. I remember when I was a kid, the best stories I heard were from my grandmother, who lived through the great depression.

    Even the simplest facts were fascinating to me, and thinking back to those times reminds me where my passion for writing and music came from, and later, why I became interested in working in higher ed/student affairs. I love hearing people’s stories. I also like knowing that when I helped students in one way or another, that I was becoming a part of their story, even if only a bit part, walk-on role, with not that many lines.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Well said.

  11. Thanks for this insightful and thought-provoking post. I came to it from a link on Twitter by @MattWilsontv.

    Story-telling is a powerful tool for teaching and for encouraging reflection. We don’t always take the time we should to tell our stories. It feels like bragging sometimes, and other times like living in the past.

    But we also have to remember how much people like stories and keeping up with them. And it’s not just the movies. I remember when I was a kid, the best stories I heard were from my grandmother, who lived through the great depression.

    Even the simplest facts were fascinating to me, and thinking back to those times reminds me where my passion for writing and music came from, and later, why I became interested in working in higher ed/student affairs. I love hearing people’s stories. I also like knowing that when I helped students in one way or another, that I was becoming a part of their story, even if only a bit part, walk-on role, with not that many lines.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Well said.

  12. Thanks for this insightful and thought-provoking post. I came to it from a link on Twitter by @MattWilsontv.

    Story-telling is a powerful tool for teaching and for encouraging reflection. We don’t always take the time we should to tell our stories. It feels like bragging sometimes, and other times like living in the past.

    But we also have to remember how much people like stories and keeping up with them. And it’s not just the movies. I remember when I was a kid, the best stories I heard were from my grandmother, who lived through the great depression.

    Even the simplest facts were fascinating to me, and thinking back to those times reminds me where my passion for writing and music came from, and later, why I became interested in working in higher ed/student affairs. I love hearing people’s stories. I also like knowing that when I helped students in one way or another, that I was becoming a part of their story, even if only a bit part, walk-on role, with not that many lines.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Well said.

  13. This is a hard one. You know I’m in love with the US, I consider you a huge friend, but that has first world middle class all over it. Hear me out, I’m not trying to be offensive :P

    I’m middle class. But I’ve been as involved with people from the low-class as anyone else. We are much more “mixed” here in Argentina than in San Francisco, for example (or so I’ve heard, I may be wrong).

    My point is that the motivation is there. It’s not lack of motivation, or lack of stories. I’ve seen people from the low-class get out of there. It’s all about each person’s context, education and opportunities. It’s not about telling someone “you can do that.” It’s about changing their context so they actually CAN do that. Look at micro-finance. Those aren’t stories. Those are actions.

    It’s not lack of imagination, it’s lack of resources and possibilities.

    Don’t just tell a tale. Do something.

    PS: A great post by Ben Casnocha: http://ben.casnocha.com/2009/12/inequality-and-perceived-social-mobility.html

  14. This is a hard one. You know I’m in love with the US, I consider you a huge friend, but that has first world middle class all over it. Hear me out, I’m not trying to be offensive :P

    I’m middle class. But I’ve been as involved with people from the low-class as anyone else. We are much more “mixed” here in Argentina than in San Francisco, for example (or so I’ve heard, I may be wrong).

    My point is that the motivation is there. It’s not lack of motivation, or lack of stories. I’ve seen people from the low-class get out of there. It’s all about each person’s context, education and opportunities. It’s not about telling someone “you can do that.” It’s about changing their context so they actually CAN do that. Look at micro-finance. Those aren’t stories. Those are actions.

    It’s not lack of imagination, it’s lack of resources and possibilities.

    Don’t just tell a tale. Do something.

    PS: A great post by Ben Casnocha: http://ben.casnocha.com/2009/12/inequality-and-perceived-social-mobility.html

  15. This is a hard one. You know I’m in love with the US, I consider you a huge friend, but that has first world middle class all over it. Hear me out, I’m not trying to be offensive :P

    I’m middle class. But I’ve been as involved with people from the low-class as anyone else. We are much more “mixed” here in Argentina than in San Francisco, for example (or so I’ve heard, I may be wrong).

    My point is that the motivation is there. It’s not lack of motivation, or lack of stories. I’ve seen people from the low-class get out of there. It’s all about each person’s context, education and opportunities. It’s not about telling someone “you can do that.” It’s about changing their context so they actually CAN do that. Look at micro-finance. Those aren’t stories. Those are actions.

    It’s not lack of imagination, it’s lack of resources and possibilities.

    Don’t just tell a tale. Do something.

    PS: A great post by Ben Casnocha: http://ben.casnocha.com/2009/12/inequality-and-perceived-social-mobility.html

  16. This is a hard one. You know I’m in love with the US, I consider you a huge friend, but that has first world middle class all over it. Hear me out, I’m not trying to be offensive :P

    I’m middle class. But I’ve been as involved with people from the low-class as anyone else. We are much more “mixed” here in Argentina than in San Francisco, for example (or so I’ve heard, I may be wrong).

    My point is that the motivation is there. It’s not lack of motivation, or lack of stories. I’ve seen people from the low-class get out of there. It’s all about each person’s context, education and opportunities. It’s not about telling someone “you can do that.” It’s about changing their context so they actually CAN do that. Look at micro-finance. Those aren’t stories. Those are actions.

    It’s not lack of imagination, it’s lack of resources and possibilities.

    Don’t just tell a tale. Do something.

    PS: A great post by Ben Casnocha: http://ben.casnocha.com/2009/12/inequality-and-perceived-social-mobility.html

  17. I’m intrigued by your perspective and, I think, see it a little bit differently.

    While upward mobility in the First World is the opportunity that most of the middle class believes is attainable, it is that longing for “movin’ on up” that creates a constant mental battle. In a competitive, market-based society, there are inevitable winners and losers, and, as a result, an obsession with trying to figure out why success has not yet been had. The constant winners/losers dynamic is psychologically exhausting, and I think our current market slowdown has shown just how tough that dynamic can be.

    If you look at much of the world, the need for success and winning is considerably less prevalent. There’s a reason why Europeans are smart enough to take six weeks of vacation — they realize that quality of life doesn’t just mean achievement, it means having the flexibility to take the opportunity to enjoy what you already have. It is truly amazing what a shift from achievement-based thinking to appreciation-based thinking can do. I believe that your definition of “making it happen” is a culturally-influenced definition of success.

    My version of upward mobility is to have the opportunity to have the financial flexibility to do the things I want to do, which would include philanthropy and entrepreneurship and spending time with people I care about. For others, it’s working up to the CEO spot of a Fortune 500 and regular interviews on CNBC. I believe that I have the chance to reach my goal because of a society that is at least open to meritocracy, which is the critical differentiator between most First World societies and others where moving between classes is more rare. If that is arrogant (or, for these purposes, I prefer audacious), then I’m willing to accept the label.

  18. I’m intrigued by your perspective and, I think, see it a little bit differently.

    While upward mobility in the First World is the opportunity that most of the middle class believes is attainable, it is that longing for “movin’ on up” that creates a constant mental battle. In a competitive, market-based society, there are inevitable winners and losers, and, as a result, an obsession with trying to figure out why success has not yet been had. The constant winners/losers dynamic is psychologically exhausting, and I think our current market slowdown has shown just how tough that dynamic can be.

    If you look at much of the world, the need for success and winning is considerably less prevalent. There’s a reason why Europeans are smart enough to take six weeks of vacation — they realize that quality of life doesn’t just mean achievement, it means having the flexibility to take the opportunity to enjoy what you already have. It is truly amazing what a shift from achievement-based thinking to appreciation-based thinking can do. I believe that your definition of “making it happen” is a culturally-influenced definition of success.

    My version of upward mobility is to have the opportunity to have the financial flexibility to do the things I want to do, which would include philanthropy and entrepreneurship and spending time with people I care about. For others, it’s working up to the CEO spot of a Fortune 500 and regular interviews on CNBC. I believe that I have the chance to reach my goal because of a society that is at least open to meritocracy, which is the critical differentiator between most First World societies and others where moving between classes is more rare. If that is arrogant (or, for these purposes, I prefer audacious), then I’m willing to accept the label.

  19. I’m intrigued by your perspective and, I think, see it a little bit differently.

    While upward mobility in the First World is the opportunity that most of the middle class believes is attainable, it is that longing for “movin’ on up” that creates a constant mental battle. In a competitive, market-based society, there are inevitable winners and losers, and, as a result, an obsession with trying to figure out why success has not yet been had. The constant winners/losers dynamic is psychologically exhausting, and I think our current market slowdown has shown just how tough that dynamic can be.

    If you look at much of the world, the need for success and winning is considerably less prevalent. There’s a reason why Europeans are smart enough to take six weeks of vacation — they realize that quality of life doesn’t just mean achievement, it means having the flexibility to take the opportunity to enjoy what you already have. It is truly amazing what a shift from achievement-based thinking to appreciation-based thinking can do. I believe that your definition of “making it happen” is a culturally-influenced definition of success.

    My version of upward mobility is to have the opportunity to have the financial flexibility to do the things I want to do, which would include philanthropy and entrepreneurship and spending time with people I care about. For others, it’s working up to the CEO spot of a Fortune 500 and regular interviews on CNBC. I believe that I have the chance to reach my goal because of a society that is at least open to meritocracy, which is the critical differentiator between most First World societies and others where moving between classes is more rare. If that is arrogant (or, for these purposes, I prefer audacious), then I’m willing to accept the label.

  20. I’m intrigued by your perspective and, I think, see it a little bit differently.

    While upward mobility in the First World is the opportunity that most of the middle class believes is attainable, it is that longing for “movin’ on up” that creates a constant mental battle. In a competitive, market-based society, there are inevitable winners and losers, and, as a result, an obsession with trying to figure out why success has not yet been had. The constant winners/losers dynamic is psychologically exhausting, and I think our current market slowdown has shown just how tough that dynamic can be.

    If you look at much of the world, the need for success and winning is considerably less prevalent. There’s a reason why Europeans are smart enough to take six weeks of vacation — they realize that quality of life doesn’t just mean achievement, it means having the flexibility to take the opportunity to enjoy what you already have. It is truly amazing what a shift from achievement-based thinking to appreciation-based thinking can do. I believe that your definition of “making it happen” is a culturally-influenced definition of success.

    My version of upward mobility is to have the opportunity to have the financial flexibility to do the things I want to do, which would include philanthropy and entrepreneurship and spending time with people I care about. For others, it’s working up to the CEO spot of a Fortune 500 and regular interviews on CNBC. I believe that I have the chance to reach my goal because of a society that is at least open to meritocracy, which is the critical differentiator between most First World societies and others where moving between classes is more rare. If that is arrogant (or, for these purposes, I prefer audacious), then I’m willing to accept the label.

  21. Very interesting post! You are a superb observer, I liked the way you pictured “your” and “their” pyramids. But I have to differ on your conclusion about the motivation. You are interpolating an american concept to another culture, but you have to understand that they live other reality -Funny thing eh? The concept of “real” should be the same to everyone, yet we can only grasp reality through our personal impressions-

    Anyway, I have been living in El Bolson for a month now, and I couldnt really say that people here lack of motivation. They are rulled by a completely different estimation of what is worth achieving in life. They might not have as much money, but how much do you need to just go by? And certainly they do have mental peace.

    Again, it is a total valid point. Story telling is good, but there will always be told from certain perspective, that should be taking into account.

  22. Very interesting post! You are a superb observer, I liked the way you pictured “your” and “their” pyramids. But I have to differ on your conclusion about the motivation. You are interpolating an american concept to another culture, but you have to understand that they live other reality -Funny thing eh? The concept of “real” should be the same to everyone, yet we can only grasp reality through our personal impressions-

    Anyway, I have been living in El Bolson for a month now, and I couldnt really say that people here lack of motivation. They are rulled by a completely different estimation of what is worth achieving in life. They might not have as much money, but how much do you need to just go by? And certainly they do have mental peace.

    Again, it is a total valid point. Story telling is good, but there will always be told from certain perspective, that should be taking into account.

  23. Very interesting post! You are a superb observer, I liked the way you pictured “your” and “their” pyramids. But I have to differ on your conclusion about the motivation. You are interpolating an american concept to another culture, but you have to understand that they live other reality -Funny thing eh? The concept of “real” should be the same to everyone, yet we can only grasp reality through our personal impressions-

    Anyway, I have been living in El Bolson for a month now, and I couldnt really say that people here lack of motivation. They are rulled by a completely different estimation of what is worth achieving in life. They might not have as much money, but how much do you need to just go by? And certainly they do have mental peace.

    Again, it is a total valid point. Story telling is good, but there will always be told from certain perspective, that should be taking into account.

  24. Very interesting post! You are a superb observer, I liked the way you pictured “your” and “their” pyramids. But I have to differ on your conclusion about the motivation. You are interpolating an american concept to another culture, but you have to understand that they live other reality -Funny thing eh? The concept of “real” should be the same to everyone, yet we can only grasp reality through our personal impressions-

    Anyway, I have been living in El Bolson for a month now, and I couldnt really say that people here lack of motivation. They are rulled by a completely different estimation of what is worth achieving in life. They might not have as much money, but how much do you need to just go by? And certainly they do have mental peace.

    Again, it is a total valid point. Story telling is good, but there will always be told from certain perspective, that should be taking into account.

  25. Really thought provoking, Colin – you just keep outdoing yourself. Carlos makes a good point about the necessity of available opportunities in order to be in a position to leverage one’s imagination, and I doubt you disagree with that. But your point seems to speak to a point in time far ahead of that – imagine if you’ve never even been exposed to any Western influence, nor even a passing tourist bus. Your imagination is limited, in a sense, because you aren’t aware that many of the things that exist, actually exist. So how can you aspire to do something you can’t fathom? It’d be as if you were trying to invent electricity for the first time. But your point is well taken–if suddenly they were to have proof that electricity existed, they would likely be driven to seek it. Same thing with microfinance, that Carlos mentioned. Most of the time, the only way those people find out about microfinance in the first place is through those that come and tell them about it. Until that point, its a largely unknown concept. So how could one yearn for a microfinance loan without the knowledge that they exist?

    Okay. I’m rambling. I’m done. Thank you for writing this – that’s one of the best parts of travel, is gaining a more objective perspective that allows you to reflect and reconsider your own circumstances, pushing us to expand our understanding of ourselves in relationship to the world. That alone is worth the trip.

  26. Really thought provoking, Colin – you just keep outdoing yourself. Carlos makes a good point about the necessity of available opportunities in order to be in a position to leverage one’s imagination, and I doubt you disagree with that. But your point seems to speak to a point in time far ahead of that – imagine if you’ve never even been exposed to any Western influence, nor even a passing tourist bus. Your imagination is limited, in a sense, because you aren’t aware that many of the things that exist, actually exist. So how can you aspire to do something you can’t fathom? It’d be as if you were trying to invent electricity for the first time. But your point is well taken–if suddenly they were to have proof that electricity existed, they would likely be driven to seek it. Same thing with microfinance, that Carlos mentioned. Most of the time, the only way those people find out about microfinance in the first place is through those that come and tell them about it. Until that point, its a largely unknown concept. So how could one yearn for a microfinance loan without the knowledge that they exist?

    Okay. I’m rambling. I’m done. Thank you for writing this – that’s one of the best parts of travel, is gaining a more objective perspective that allows you to reflect and reconsider your own circumstances, pushing us to expand our understanding of ourselves in relationship to the world. That alone is worth the trip.

  27. Really thought provoking, Colin – you just keep outdoing yourself. Carlos makes a good point about the necessity of available opportunities in order to be in a position to leverage one’s imagination, and I doubt you disagree with that. But your point seems to speak to a point in time far ahead of that – imagine if you’ve never even been exposed to any Western influence, nor even a passing tourist bus. Your imagination is limited, in a sense, because you aren’t aware that many of the things that exist, actually exist. So how can you aspire to do something you can’t fathom? It’d be as if you were trying to invent electricity for the first time. But your point is well taken–if suddenly they were to have proof that electricity existed, they would likely be driven to seek it. Same thing with microfinance, that Carlos mentioned. Most of the time, the only way those people find out about microfinance in the first place is through those that come and tell them about it. Until that point, its a largely unknown concept. So how could one yearn for a microfinance loan without the knowledge that they exist?

    Okay. I’m rambling. I’m done. Thank you for writing this – that’s one of the best parts of travel, is gaining a more objective perspective that allows you to reflect and reconsider your own circumstances, pushing us to expand our understanding of ourselves in relationship to the world. That alone is worth the trip.

  28. Stories are powerful, and I really dig what you are getting at here. Sometimes all it takes to motivate a lot of people to reach higher for their dreams is one person making it. It’s a matter of inspiration. I’d definitely agree there is an advantage to middle class in the stories and and successes of others that keep us moving forward.

  29. Stories are powerful, and I really dig what you are getting at here. Sometimes all it takes to motivate a lot of people to reach higher for their dreams is one person making it. It’s a matter of inspiration. I’d definitely agree there is an advantage to middle class in the stories and and successes of others that keep us moving forward.

  30. Stories are powerful, and I really dig what you are getting at here. Sometimes all it takes to motivate a lot of people to reach higher for their dreams is one person making it. It’s a matter of inspiration. I’d definitely agree there is an advantage to middle class in the stories and and successes of others that keep us moving forward.

  31. Stories are powerful, and I really dig what you are getting at here. Sometimes all it takes to motivate a lot of people to reach higher for their dreams is one person making it. It’s a matter of inspiration. I’d definitely agree there is an advantage to middle class in the stories and and successes of others that keep us moving forward.

  32. Good read, and im similiar to you with the whole ‘if I put my mind to it I can do it’.

    but I dunno what kind of chance I would have if I couldnt read and didnt have access to information resources like the internet…

  33. Good read, and im similiar to you with the whole ‘if I put my mind to it I can do it’.

    but I dunno what kind of chance I would have if I couldnt read and didnt have access to information resources like the internet…

  34. Good read, and im similiar to you with the whole ‘if I put my mind to it I can do it’.

    but I dunno what kind of chance I would have if I couldnt read and didnt have access to information resources like the internet…

  35. Good read, and im similiar to you with the whole ‘if I put my mind to it I can do it’.

    but I dunno what kind of chance I would have if I couldnt read and didnt have access to information resources like the internet…

  36. What if people were not so obsessed with “moving up” and just wanted to help other people? I think anybody from any class, anywhere in the world can do that and live a satisfied life.

  37. What if people were not so obsessed with “moving up” and just wanted to help other people? I think anybody from any class, anywhere in the world can do that and live a satisfied life.

  38. What if people were not so obsessed with “moving up” and just wanted to help other people? I think anybody from any class, anywhere in the world can do that and live a satisfied life.

  39. What if people were not so obsessed with “moving up” and just wanted to help other people? I think anybody from any class, anywhere in the world can do that and live a satisfied life.

  40. Wonderful post with huge insight my friend.

    It is true, those of us that belong to the middle class are often the most arrogant fighters out there. We take pride in our skills and try our best to succeed.

    It is also true that we are lucky to know the stories we know. Such as yours or Leo Babauta, which are great examples or success tales. We are able to learn a lot from such tales, the very least you feel inspired to do something.

    I guess it is also very important to acknowledge the situation of the lower class too. It is impossible to solve all their needs or maybe it is possible but out of our hands. Knowing that you can also feel the courage to lend a hand to those around the fire. As I said over at my place, you don’t need to take huge actions, but small ones are a great start and have a good impact.

    Keep the good spirit Colin, also keep your desire to move forward!

  41. Wonderful post with huge insight my friend.

    It is true, those of us that belong to the middle class are often the most arrogant fighters out there. We take pride in our skills and try our best to succeed.

    It is also true that we are lucky to know the stories we know. Such as yours or Leo Babauta, which are great examples or success tales. We are able to learn a lot from such tales, the very least you feel inspired to do something.

    I guess it is also very important to acknowledge the situation of the lower class too. It is impossible to solve all their needs or maybe it is possible but out of our hands. Knowing that you can also feel the courage to lend a hand to those around the fire. As I said over at my place, you don’t need to take huge actions, but small ones are a great start and have a good impact.

    Keep the good spirit Colin, also keep your desire to move forward!

  42. Wonderful post with huge insight my friend.

    It is true, those of us that belong to the middle class are often the most arrogant fighters out there. We take pride in our skills and try our best to succeed.

    It is also true that we are lucky to know the stories we know. Such as yours or Leo Babauta, which are great examples or success tales. We are able to learn a lot from such tales, the very least you feel inspired to do something.

    I guess it is also very important to acknowledge the situation of the lower class too. It is impossible to solve all their needs or maybe it is possible but out of our hands. Knowing that you can also feel the courage to lend a hand to those around the fire. As I said over at my place, you don’t need to take huge actions, but small ones are a great start and have a good impact.

    Keep the good spirit Colin, also keep your desire to move forward!

  43. Wonderful post with huge insight my friend.

    It is true, those of us that belong to the middle class are often the most arrogant fighters out there. We take pride in our skills and try our best to succeed.

    It is also true that we are lucky to know the stories we know. Such as yours or Leo Babauta, which are great examples or success tales. We are able to learn a lot from such tales, the very least you feel inspired to do something.

    I guess it is also very important to acknowledge the situation of the lower class too. It is impossible to solve all their needs or maybe it is possible but out of our hands. Knowing that you can also feel the courage to lend a hand to those around the fire. As I said over at my place, you don’t need to take huge actions, but small ones are a great start and have a good impact.

    Keep the good spirit Colin, also keep your desire to move forward!

  44. Pingback: Friday’s Links — A Meaningful Existence

  45. A very good post. We are often told how good we can do for the world and what power we have over ourselves and of our own world around us. This is true as we obviously are making things happen when we just get down to actually taking some form of action and doing anything we haven’t done yet.

    That’s just it though, we can and we do do things and that alone, after the fact we’re told we can, should be enough to keep us going but half of the time it just isn’t.

    What more does it taken I wonder?

    What do you think?

  46. A very good post. We are often told how good we can do for the world and what power we have over ourselves and of our own world around us. This is true as we obviously are making things happen when we just get down to actually taking some form of action and doing anything we haven’t done yet.

    That’s just it though, we can and we do do things and that alone, after the fact we’re told we can, should be enough to keep us going but half of the time it just isn’t.

    What more does it taken I wonder?

    What do you think?

  47. A very good post. We are often told how good we can do for the world and what power we have over ourselves and of our own world around us. This is true as we obviously are making things happen when we just get down to actually taking some form of action and doing anything we haven’t done yet.

    That’s just it though, we can and we do do things and that alone, after the fact we’re told we can, should be enough to keep us going but half of the time it just isn’t.

    What more does it taken I wonder?

    What do you think?

  48. A very good post. We are often told how good we can do for the world and what power we have over ourselves and of our own world around us. This is true as we obviously are making things happen when we just get down to actually taking some form of action and doing anything we haven’t done yet.

    That’s just it though, we can and we do do things and that alone, after the fact we’re told we can, should be enough to keep us going but half of the time it just isn’t.

    What more does it taken I wonder?

    What do you think?

  49. A great post Colin. What I think is even more inspiring are the stories of success that come out of these cultures. Its almost too easy for us – we have every opportunity, and even if we bitch about the rest of society “not getting it”, the fact is, we can pretty much do whatever we want. Thats why, success stories out of communities such as the one you were travelling through are even more special.

    Im sure the wives tales exist there, but are simply harder to find

  50. A great post Colin. What I think is even more inspiring are the stories of success that come out of these cultures. Its almost too easy for us – we have every opportunity, and even if we bitch about the rest of society “not getting it”, the fact is, we can pretty much do whatever we want. Thats why, success stories out of communities such as the one you were travelling through are even more special.

    Im sure the wives tales exist there, but are simply harder to find

  51. A great post Colin. What I think is even more inspiring are the stories of success that come out of these cultures. Its almost too easy for us – we have every opportunity, and even if we bitch about the rest of society “not getting it”, the fact is, we can pretty much do whatever we want. Thats why, success stories out of communities such as the one you were travelling through are even more special.

    Im sure the wives tales exist there, but are simply harder to find

  52. A great post Colin. What I think is even more inspiring are the stories of success that come out of these cultures. Its almost too easy for us – we have every opportunity, and even if we bitch about the rest of society “not getting it”, the fact is, we can pretty much do whatever we want. Thats why, success stories out of communities such as the one you were travelling through are even more special.

    Im sure the wives tales exist there, but are simply harder to find

  53. @Tim: I think appreciating what we’ve got is a great first step in any journey. The next step is the harder part…I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that step will be.

    @Kristin: Good point..there definitely does seem to be a sense of ‘if I just work a little harder..’ in most cultures. But the fact of the matter is that in a lot of places the stories don’t match the reality, and though the guy on the bus may think ‘today is the day I’ll sell my entire stock and then I’ll be rich!’, even if he does manage to sell the whole stockpile he’ll have a few more Soles in his pocket but won’t be in a much better position. A larger cultural awareness, acceptance and pursuit of vertical social movement, on the other hand, I think will lead to more practical and frequent results.

    @Sean: Great point about the power of stories; it’s a good reminder, too, that that power can go both ways. First World countries may be able to inspire people living in worse conditions with their stories, but the folk on the other end of the equation have just as much to offer, if possibly about different subjects and with different contexts.

    @Carlos: It’s definitely true that stories alone won’t make change, but those stories can make people aware of opportunities they can act on. To say ‘just take action’ is leaving out an important step. You mention the microfinance movement…those people receiving the money wouldn’t have known about the program, much less put in the effort to jump through the hoops required to get such financing if they hadn’t heard of other success stories and gotten motivated first.

    @jonah: Thanks, jonah!

    @Albert: I don’t think we disagree at all. What we’re aiming for doesn’t matter (I actually have the same definition of success as you…I definitely don’t aspire to the ‘work 100 hours a week for a bundle of money’ lifestyle!), but to get to the point where we have the kind of flexibility and balance that we desire, there is some footwork required (unless you’re betting on luck, in which case priming yourself to be ready for that luck if it occurs is important anyway, and that too requires a little elbow-grease).

    @Chezz: You are totally right that the way I’m seeing this situation is through the lens of my upbringing and experiences and socioeconomic situation. On the other hand, I think to say just because someone has a different socioeconomic standard they have mental peace is disingenuous. The concept of the ‘noble savage’ – that people who are less constrained by societal pressures and the burden of wealth have higher ideals, inner-peace, etc – is an outdated and slightly racist one (not to mention generally incorrect). I’m definitely not saying that my priorities are everyone else’s, but I do think that in general people have certain priorities and the pursuit of some kind of upward movement seems to be a consistency from culture to culture.

    @Ash: Very well said, Ash. I have nothing to add!

    @Nate: Thanks Nate! I think we could all use as much extra inspiration as we can get!

    @Vinay: Amen to that. I’m sure we’d make it work whatever the circumstances (like people all over the world do), but we should definitely make use of any advantages we’re fortunate enough to have.

    @Jarred: I would argue that those goals are one in the same. When we help each other out, we also help ourselves. At the same time, when we help ourselves, we require the assistance of others less and less. Working on both of these things leads to a surplus of available time and energy that everyone will benefit from.

    Alejandro: Well said. “To move a mountain, you must start by carrying very small rocks.” (I’m pretty sure I butchered that quote, but you get the picture).

    @Brian: Thanks buddy!

    @Maren: Thanks Maren!

    @Eric: That’s a great question, and honestly I wish I had the answer. All I can figure at this point is that if we all plant as many seeds as possible and water as many other seeds as we come across, eventually we’ll get the kind of plant we want.

    @Anthony: I think you’re right, and I imagine that any culture that has survived this long has a rich history FULL of old wive’s tales. I just wonder how many of them are practical in modern society, and how many still exist because of tradition, but hold back the society who tells them?

  54. @Tim: I think appreciating what we’ve got is a great first step in any journey. The next step is the harder part…I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that step will be.

    @Kristin: Good point..there definitely does seem to be a sense of ‘if I just work a little harder..’ in most cultures. But the fact of the matter is that in a lot of places the stories don’t match the reality, and though the guy on the bus may think ‘today is the day I’ll sell my entire stock and then I’ll be rich!’, even if he does manage to sell the whole stockpile he’ll have a few more Soles in his pocket but won’t be in a much better position. A larger cultural awareness, acceptance and pursuit of vertical social movement, on the other hand, I think will lead to more practical and frequent results.

    @Sean: Great point about the power of stories; it’s a good reminder, too, that that power can go both ways. First World countries may be able to inspire people living in worse conditions with their stories, but the folk on the other end of the equation have just as much to offer, if possibly about different subjects and with different contexts.

    @Carlos: It’s definitely true that stories alone won’t make change, but those stories can make people aware of opportunities they can act on. To say ‘just take action’ is leaving out an important step. You mention the microfinance movement…those people receiving the money wouldn’t have known about the program, much less put in the effort to jump through the hoops required to get such financing if they hadn’t heard of other success stories and gotten motivated first.

    @jonah: Thanks, jonah!

    @Albert: I don’t think we disagree at all. What we’re aiming for doesn’t matter (I actually have the same definition of success as you…I definitely don’t aspire to the ‘work 100 hours a week for a bundle of money’ lifestyle!), but to get to the point where we have the kind of flexibility and balance that we desire, there is some footwork required (unless you’re betting on luck, in which case priming yourself to be ready for that luck if it occurs is important anyway, and that too requires a little elbow-grease).

    @Chezz: You are totally right that the way I’m seeing this situation is through the lens of my upbringing and experiences and socioeconomic situation. On the other hand, I think to say just because someone has a different socioeconomic standard they have mental peace is disingenuous. The concept of the ‘noble savage’ – that people who are less constrained by societal pressures and the burden of wealth have higher ideals, inner-peace, etc – is an outdated and slightly racist one (not to mention generally incorrect). I’m definitely not saying that my priorities are everyone else’s, but I do think that in general people have certain priorities and the pursuit of some kind of upward movement seems to be a consistency from culture to culture.

    @Ash: Very well said, Ash. I have nothing to add!

    @Nate: Thanks Nate! I think we could all use as much extra inspiration as we can get!

    @Vinay: Amen to that. I’m sure we’d make it work whatever the circumstances (like people all over the world do), but we should definitely make use of any advantages we’re fortunate enough to have.

    @Jarred: I would argue that those goals are one in the same. When we help each other out, we also help ourselves. At the same time, when we help ourselves, we require the assistance of others less and less. Working on both of these things leads to a surplus of available time and energy that everyone will benefit from.

    Alejandro: Well said. “To move a mountain, you must start by carrying very small rocks.” (I’m pretty sure I butchered that quote, but you get the picture).

    @Brian: Thanks buddy!

    @Maren: Thanks Maren!

    @Eric: That’s a great question, and honestly I wish I had the answer. All I can figure at this point is that if we all plant as many seeds as possible and water as many other seeds as we come across, eventually we’ll get the kind of plant we want.

    @Anthony: I think you’re right, and I imagine that any culture that has survived this long has a rich history FULL of old wive’s tales. I just wonder how many of them are practical in modern society, and how many still exist because of tradition, but hold back the society who tells them?

  55. @Tim: I think appreciating what we’ve got is a great first step in any journey. The next step is the harder part…I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that step will be.

    @Kristin: Good point..there definitely does seem to be a sense of ‘if I just work a little harder..’ in most cultures. But the fact of the matter is that in a lot of places the stories don’t match the reality, and though the guy on the bus may think ‘today is the day I’ll sell my entire stock and then I’ll be rich!’, even if he does manage to sell the whole stockpile he’ll have a few more Soles in his pocket but won’t be in a much better position. A larger cultural awareness, acceptance and pursuit of vertical social movement, on the other hand, I think will lead to more practical and frequent results.

    @Sean: Great point about the power of stories; it’s a good reminder, too, that that power can go both ways. First World countries may be able to inspire people living in worse conditions with their stories, but the folk on the other end of the equation have just as much to offer, if possibly about different subjects and with different contexts.

    @Carlos: It’s definitely true that stories alone won’t make change, but those stories can make people aware of opportunities they can act on. To say ‘just take action’ is leaving out an important step. You mention the microfinance movement…those people receiving the money wouldn’t have known about the program, much less put in the effort to jump through the hoops required to get such financing if they hadn’t heard of other success stories and gotten motivated first.

    @jonah: Thanks, jonah!

    @Albert: I don’t think we disagree at all. What we’re aiming for doesn’t matter (I actually have the same definition of success as you…I definitely don’t aspire to the ‘work 100 hours a week for a bundle of money’ lifestyle!), but to get to the point where we have the kind of flexibility and balance that we desire, there is some footwork required (unless you’re betting on luck, in which case priming yourself to be ready for that luck if it occurs is important anyway, and that too requires a little elbow-grease).

    @Chezz: You are totally right that the way I’m seeing this situation is through the lens of my upbringing and experiences and socioeconomic situation. On the other hand, I think to say just because someone has a different socioeconomic standard they have mental peace is disingenuous. The concept of the ‘noble savage’ – that people who are less constrained by societal pressures and the burden of wealth have higher ideals, inner-peace, etc – is an outdated and slightly racist one (not to mention generally incorrect). I’m definitely not saying that my priorities are everyone else’s, but I do think that in general people have certain priorities and the pursuit of some kind of upward movement seems to be a consistency from culture to culture.

    @Ash: Very well said, Ash. I have nothing to add!

    @Nate: Thanks Nate! I think we could all use as much extra inspiration as we can get!

    @Vinay: Amen to that. I’m sure we’d make it work whatever the circumstances (like people all over the world do), but we should definitely make use of any advantages we’re fortunate enough to have.

    @Jarred: I would argue that those goals are one in the same. When we help each other out, we also help ourselves. At the same time, when we help ourselves, we require the assistance of others less and less. Working on both of these things leads to a surplus of available time and energy that everyone will benefit from.

    Alejandro: Well said. “To move a mountain, you must start by carrying very small rocks.” (I’m pretty sure I butchered that quote, but you get the picture).

    @Brian: Thanks buddy!

    @Maren: Thanks Maren!

    @Eric: That’s a great question, and honestly I wish I had the answer. All I can figure at this point is that if we all plant as many seeds as possible and water as many other seeds as we come across, eventually we’ll get the kind of plant we want.

    @Anthony: I think you’re right, and I imagine that any culture that has survived this long has a rich history FULL of old wive’s tales. I just wonder how many of them are practical in modern society, and how many still exist because of tradition, but hold back the society who tells them?

  56. @Tim: I think appreciating what we’ve got is a great first step in any journey. The next step is the harder part…I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that step will be.

    @Kristin: Good point..there definitely does seem to be a sense of ‘if I just work a little harder..’ in most cultures. But the fact of the matter is that in a lot of places the stories don’t match the reality, and though the guy on the bus may think ‘today is the day I’ll sell my entire stock and then I’ll be rich!’, even if he does manage to sell the whole stockpile he’ll have a few more Soles in his pocket but won’t be in a much better position. A larger cultural awareness, acceptance and pursuit of vertical social movement, on the other hand, I think will lead to more practical and frequent results.

    @Sean: Great point about the power of stories; it’s a good reminder, too, that that power can go both ways. First World countries may be able to inspire people living in worse conditions with their stories, but the folk on the other end of the equation have just as much to offer, if possibly about different subjects and with different contexts.

    @Carlos: It’s definitely true that stories alone won’t make change, but those stories can make people aware of opportunities they can act on. To say ‘just take action’ is leaving out an important step. You mention the microfinance movement…those people receiving the money wouldn’t have known about the program, much less put in the effort to jump through the hoops required to get such financing if they hadn’t heard of other success stories and gotten motivated first.

    @jonah: Thanks, jonah!

    @Albert: I don’t think we disagree at all. What we’re aiming for doesn’t matter (I actually have the same definition of success as you…I definitely don’t aspire to the ‘work 100 hours a week for a bundle of money’ lifestyle!), but to get to the point where we have the kind of flexibility and balance that we desire, there is some footwork required (unless you’re betting on luck, in which case priming yourself to be ready for that luck if it occurs is important anyway, and that too requires a little elbow-grease).

    @Chezz: You are totally right that the way I’m seeing this situation is through the lens of my upbringing and experiences and socioeconomic situation. On the other hand, I think to say just because someone has a different socioeconomic standard they have mental peace is disingenuous. The concept of the ‘noble savage’ – that people who are less constrained by societal pressures and the burden of wealth have higher ideals, inner-peace, etc – is an outdated and slightly racist one (not to mention generally incorrect). I’m definitely not saying that my priorities are everyone else’s, but I do think that in general people have certain priorities and the pursuit of some kind of upward movement seems to be a consistency from culture to culture.

    @Ash: Very well said, Ash. I have nothing to add!

    @Nate: Thanks Nate! I think we could all use as much extra inspiration as we can get!

    @Vinay: Amen to that. I’m sure we’d make it work whatever the circumstances (like people all over the world do), but we should definitely make use of any advantages we’re fortunate enough to have.

    @Jarred: I would argue that those goals are one in the same. When we help each other out, we also help ourselves. At the same time, when we help ourselves, we require the assistance of others less and less. Working on both of these things leads to a surplus of available time and energy that everyone will benefit from.

    Alejandro: Well said. “To move a mountain, you must start by carrying very small rocks.” (I’m pretty sure I butchered that quote, but you get the picture).

    @Brian: Thanks buddy!

    @Maren: Thanks Maren!

    @Eric: That’s a great question, and honestly I wish I had the answer. All I can figure at this point is that if we all plant as many seeds as possible and water as many other seeds as we come across, eventually we’ll get the kind of plant we want.

    @Anthony: I think you’re right, and I imagine that any culture that has survived this long has a rich history FULL of old wive’s tales. I just wonder how many of them are practical in modern society, and how many still exist because of tradition, but hold back the society who tells them?

  57. I think a lot of people don’t understand real wealth. True wealth isn’t measured in dollars or how much gold you own. Gold is just a metal that can be melted or filed to dust, turned into wire, etc. It’s only valuable because people like it, but it’s not real wealth. Real wealth is what you own: cars, homes, shovels, hammers, soap, cigarettes, etc. How much of a chunk of metal you have in your safe or how many numbers your computer says you have in a bank is not real wealth. What you BUY with that gold or money is what real wealth is. If you have 100,000 dollars in your closet, that’s no different than a stack of printer paper, but if you trade those dollars for a yacht, then you have something real and practical. If you trust the dollar, save it. Hold it. If you trust gold, do the same. But if you trust neither, trade the dollars your employer pays you for bars of soap. They have value and are useful. THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t owe anybody any money, and convert the dollars your boss pays you into something YOU control, like gold (if you want it), land, canned food, etc. Or take your chances on the dollar. It’s your choice.

  58. I think a lot of people don’t understand real wealth. True wealth isn’t measured in dollars or how much gold you own. Gold is just a metal that can be melted or filed to dust, turned into wire, etc. It’s only valuable because people like it, but it’s not real wealth. Real wealth is what you own: cars, homes, shovels, hammers, soap, cigarettes, etc. How much of a chunk of metal you have in your safe or how many numbers your computer says you have in a bank is not real wealth. What you BUY with that gold or money is what real wealth is. If you have 100,000 dollars in your closet, that’s no different than a stack of printer paper, but if you trade those dollars for a yacht, then you have something real and practical. If you trust the dollar, save it. Hold it. If you trust gold, do the same. But if you trust neither, trade the dollars your employer pays you for bars of soap. They have value and are useful. THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t owe anybody any money, and convert the dollars your boss pays you into something YOU control, like gold (if you want it), land, canned food, etc. Or take your chances on the dollar. It’s your choice.

  59. I think a lot of people don’t understand real wealth. True wealth isn’t measured in dollars or how much gold you own. Gold is just a metal that can be melted or filed to dust, turned into wire, etc. It’s only valuable because people like it, but it’s not real wealth. Real wealth is what you own: cars, homes, shovels, hammers, soap, cigarettes, etc. How much of a chunk of metal you have in your safe or how many numbers your computer says you have in a bank is not real wealth. What you BUY with that gold or money is what real wealth is. If you have 100,000 dollars in your closet, that’s no different than a stack of printer paper, but if you trade those dollars for a yacht, then you have something real and practical. If you trust the dollar, save it. Hold it. If you trust gold, do the same. But if you trust neither, trade the dollars your employer pays you for bars of soap. They have value and are useful. THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t owe anybody any money, and convert the dollars your boss pays you into something YOU control, like gold (if you want it), land, canned food, etc. Or take your chances on the dollar. It’s your choice.

  60. I think a lot of people don’t understand real wealth. True wealth isn’t measured in dollars or how much gold you own. Gold is just a metal that can be melted or filed to dust, turned into wire, etc. It’s only valuable because people like it, but it’s not real wealth. Real wealth is what you own: cars, homes, shovels, hammers, soap, cigarettes, etc. How much of a chunk of metal you have in your safe or how many numbers your computer says you have in a bank is not real wealth. What you BUY with that gold or money is what real wealth is. If you have 100,000 dollars in your closet, that’s no different than a stack of printer paper, but if you trade those dollars for a yacht, then you have something real and practical. If you trust the dollar, save it. Hold it. If you trust gold, do the same. But if you trust neither, trade the dollars your employer pays you for bars of soap. They have value and are useful. THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t owe anybody any money, and convert the dollars your boss pays you into something YOU control, like gold (if you want it), land, canned food, etc. Or take your chances on the dollar. It’s your choice.

  61. I am from Honduras a third world country just like Peru, in this type of enviromment there is a perception that the only way to succeed is being a corrupt polititian or a drug dealer, It’s likely imposible to succeed been 100% honest, so people wont beleive success tales unless you are corrupt.
    If someone is doing good, he probably is a drug dealer.

  62. I am from Honduras a third world country just like Peru, in this type of enviromment there is a perception that the only way to succeed is being a corrupt polititian or a drug dealer, It’s likely imposible to succeed been 100% honest, so people wont beleive success tales unless you are corrupt.
    If someone is doing good, he probably is a drug dealer.

  63. I am from Honduras a third world country just like Peru, in this type of enviromment there is a perception that the only way to succeed is being a corrupt polititian or a drug dealer, It’s likely imposible to succeed been 100% honest, so people wont beleive success tales unless you are corrupt.
    If someone is doing good, he probably is a drug dealer.

  64. I am from Honduras a third world country just like Peru, in this type of enviromment there is a perception that the only way to succeed is being a corrupt polititian or a drug dealer, It’s likely imposible to succeed been 100% honest, so people wont beleive success tales unless you are corrupt.
    If someone is doing good, he probably is a drug dealer.

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