What is the biggest lie society taught you to believe?

Answer by Keinosuke Johan Miyanaga:

To be happy, I need more. To get more, I need to get rich. To get rich, I need a job. That is by far the biggest lie.

Get a job.

If we were all focused on creating jobs, we wouldn’t be so busy helping our employers get rich. If you need one, by all means get one. They are great stepping stones. But we should always work towards a cause and be emotionally invested. Exchanging your time for only money is what ultimately devalues your time and you in general. It is exploitation of your most valuable resource. We shouldn’t get comfortable in any job. Our goal should always be to eventually be in a position to create more of them. All employers want are workers that are complacent. However, complacency is against human nature and a fulfilling life. What we need is growth. If you are blessed to be capable enough, don’t get a job. Create one, starting with yourself.

You need more.

No I don’t. Stop trying to sell me something. It would be nice to have a Ferrari, but knowing I have exactly what I need is nicer. Before having more, what we need is good honest healthcare, to be able to properly educate our children, and to know that people have your back in times of need or emergency. What we really need more of is love, conversation, and peace. Society ruins all of these things the moment it gives them prices and turns them into markets. Why must we compete to get by when we must cooperate to get along? What we need more of is each other.

Get Rich

And by rich, I mean financially. All we have to do is get rich then happiness is a given. You are successful if you are rich. Women will flock to you if you are rich. Your friends will love you if you are rich. Your parents will be proud of you if you are rich. The world is your oyster if you are rich. But then why, oh why, are so many rich people so openly miserable? Why are they so busy? Why do lottery winners end up bankrupt? Why aren’t those born into money always giddy? We are taught that money is the solution to all of our problems, but what if money is our biggest problem? What we need isn’t a fatter wallet. What we need is a bigger heart.

To be happy, I need more. To get more, I need to get rich. To get rich, I need a job. That is by far the biggest lie.

More won’t ever make you happy. You won’t ever have enough. You won’t ever be rich just working a job. All you will have is a job until you get fired or are retired, at which point you will have nothing.

A life long pursuit of money leads to a life exchanged for shiny objects and a hollow sense of self accomplishment. It is an inward spiral of self indulgence and self devaluation that ends in a big fat zero.

But there is hope.

Part II — The Best Kept Secret (with pictures)

Society taught me this was the formula for happiness:

This is what happens inside you:

By doing as we are told and taking from others, we expect others to take from us also. We become defensive of our possessions as well as our emotions. And we end up alone. You expect very little from other people, because you just assume they just want something of yours. The truth to this is the sad part. This is selfish economics, and this creates a selfish economy.

What if we have it all backwards?

In reality, no one survives alone. Every one of us arrived here because of two people consummating. We are then fed, nurtured, and educated until we can make it on our own. Even then, we are dependent on family and friends. And as a member of society, we are dependent on communities, economies, and social services. We need our cars to work, our money to be safe, and our bodies to be healthy.

Is this all in exchange for money? Or is it people caring for people? I’d like to think it’s the latter. At least, I’d like to think it started that way. And if it’s not that way now, I think we should fix it.

Everything you depend on others depend on also, and what it boils down to is this:

If everyone cared for everyone, everyone would care for you.

We all have our priorities and you may not be number one, but last I checked everyone was a lot of people.

What if we have it all backwards?

Amazingly, what you give isn’t taken away from you. That is also one of the special properties of love. It’s shared, not given or taken, and others will feel it when they receive it. Through others, you become a fountain of prosperity.

When success is defined by the amount of people you help, it makes you bigger. Your expectations rise at all levels — for others, for yourself, and for what everyone can do for each other. This is selfless economics, and this is the selfless economy.

The Evidence

You don’t have to take it from me. I’m just repeating what others have said and done.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worth living”
Albert Einstein.

Which will it be:

Sure, there is nothing wrong with that. Good job. Take it easy. RIP.

Or,

From the top, an Apple store with notes to Steve Jobs, a fan mourning the loss of Michael Jackson, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. One is an entrepreneur, one is an entertainer, one is an activist. Depending on who you ask, one is an a-hole, one is a kook, one is a disobedient baptist minister. Who cares? Everyone. What they have in common is they became valuable to a lot of people. No one was a fan of their money. Not even them.

This isn’t about entrepreneurship. You don’t need to think big or be a genius or be rich already. This isn’t about charity either. If you’re giving away stuff you took away, you are Robin Hood, which is awesome, but not what I am getting at. It all begins when you recognize that ultimately your preservation depends on the preservation of the people around you. By shifting your focus on those around you, you make the switch from selfish to selfless.

You can start with a lemonade stand, or mowing the lawn for your neighbors. You can open a coffee shop or a restaurant or a small graphic design studio. You can start with a painting or a song or a book. Create something and give it to people. What people get might be coffee, it might be a laugh, it might be an iPad, it might be the right to vote. And if it is valuable, you should sell it. In fact, how much someone pays is a great measure of the value you created. Price measures value. The key is to serve a need — anything besides the need for money, or the need for your time. It really is that simple. The selfless economy is already here. Join it.

By helping others prosper, you will prosper also. It does take time. However, the reward isn’t net worth, but self worth. When your worth increases in the eyes of others, your worth to them becomes obvious — even to yourself. Coincidentally, by then it’ll be hard not to make a buck or two along the way. Net worth will always catch up with self worth at varying degrees, but it never works the other way around. You don’t want to find this out the hard way.

When people buy your time, they are paying you despite you being replaceable. You become a disposable commodity. When people are buying awesomeness, they are paying you because you are irreplaceable. You become an indispensable part of their lives. They will want you to have their money.

But you’re not doing it for money anyway. You’re not working for money. You therefore can gladly reinvest that money towards your cause and your awesomeness. In other words, you make money work for you. And it all keeps growing — they keep growing, you keep growing, hence we keep growing. It’s not about you or them. It’s about us.https://personanonymous.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=890&action=edit

To be at the center of all this is a great life at any scale. This is the outward spiral of giving away the value that you create, which ultimately leads to a big fat everything for everyone involved, not just yourself.

Society is both selfish and selfless. Don’t let society take advantage of you. Take advantage of what is good about society. It will react to how you act:

When you give to society, society gives back.

That is society’s best kept secret.


(c) 2013. Diagrams composed by me (K. Miyanaga). Photos belong to their respectful owners.

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