Welcome back, brothers and sisters…
This week, I share with you one of the greatest secrets of success in the form of some past lessons from your cousins across the pond…
I just finished watching Meryl Streep’s latest film, ‘The Iron Lady’. If you haven’t seen it, please do, because she’s amazing in it. Streep’s not an actress, she’s a vessel- she actually becomes the character. And that’s not acting, it’s being.
In ‘The Iron Lady’, Streep plays the woman who was the British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher (somewhat a parallel to the Reagan era). Up until 1979, the UK was in the grip of trade unions, but she changed the country forever, pulling it out of post-war decline, and assuring it’s place in one of the G-8 countries.
This is all going somewhere that directly affects YOU, so please bear with me…
But in the UK today, the word “Thatcher” has become a dirty word, in spite of this. Brits seem happy to enjoy a good economy with all the modern comforts and facilities, as well as a corporation tax rate of just 20% to encourage entrepreneurship. All this is Thatcher’s legacy.
Why the intense disgust?
Because Margaret Thatcher made tough, but necessary decisions in order for the country to survive economically. Entire communities were decimated as she closed or privatized coal mines and steel works (though why the hell they weren’t always privatized in the first place is beyond me!). She sold off nationalized industries, including British Airways, and the stock market grew rich from the fact. There were many people who did lose their jobs and suffer. So it’s understandable why this anger towards her in engrained in modern British society. Think of an industry that your town revolves around, and then imagine what would happen if it closed…
But what was the alternative? Oblivion. But she had the guts (yes, “SHE”, a woman…) to do what the male politicians wouldn’t: to NOT pander to the voters, because she knew what was good for the country, and the voters CLEARLY did not- they had proven as much by voting for policies that were destroying it because they have no knowledge of economics. And the voters didn’t WANT to look at the new opportunities being created by Thatcher, such as buying shares in British Airways, an airline that, at the time, was a total monopoly (a monopoly, and an airline on an ISLAND. Think about it…). No, people just want that ‘steady’ paycheck each week.
Thatcher lived in reality, not fantasy. And she made the hard choice. She was a responsible politician who grew up during World War II under the blaze of Nazi bombs in the blitz of 1940, a time when people had a sense of unity, responsibility, and patriotism. She was a modern day Queen Elizabeth I. She would openly give tough advice to the 80s British population straight out of food-rationed, wartime Britain- things like: “If you’re on a tight budget, then don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.” (Nancy Patterson from our Easy Street newsletter would approve, I’m sure…)
And that’s why she was so unpopular. People don’t want reality, they want fantasy. They don’t want the pain, only gain. In short, the Western world isn’t populated by adults as much as children…
Human psychology can be boiled down to some very simple axioms, and one of them is this: most of what we do on a daily basis revolves around PAIN AVOIDANCE.
I’m not just talking about physical pain, but emotional, financial, and just about any other kind of pain. In caveman times, this is exactly what we needed to survive. This pain avoidance instinct is why we’re here today. But it also betrays you in this modern world…
Much of our actions are hard-wired from an ancient time in our evolution tens of thousands of years ago. Let’s take eating, as an example. Our brains are hard-wired to give us a pleasurable sensation when we taste fatty and sweet things on our tongue. Is it any wonder why losing weight is hard?! But of course, what our evolution has done is reward us to store up energy in the form of fat in case we (cavemen) hit a food crisis. But these days, you could throw a rock in any direction and hit a fast food joint somewhere!
Our safe and comfortable existence is relatively new in our evolution. If you think about it, it’s really only the last 100 years at most that we knew where the next meal was coming from. What’s 100 years compared to 40,000?!
So we are literally programmed to avoid reality, to avoid the hard decisions we know we must make deep down. In fact, most people wait until the looming crisis is on top of them before they do anything. Why do you think we hate going to the dentist so much? We get toothache and hope it will go away, but we only make it worse for the day when we inevitably must go…
Take diseases as an example, diseases like diabetes, cancer, etc. It’s a fact that by the time you’re actually showing any symptoms, all you’re seeing there is the tip of the iceberg. The damage that has been done under the surface, the part you never saw, built up over time, and now curing the problem is even harder. As the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.
So what about YOU? Do you have the discipline to make the hard choice? What have you been putting off that you secretly know that you shouldn’t be? Take an honest look in the mirror and write it down. And then honestly picture the END GAME, the final event that will play out as a result of your choice to be ignorant…
What are your eating habits and where are they taking you?
How are your relationships? Are you putting off something that you know will eventually happen? Are you in denial instead of being open and confronting an issue? Get it off your chest.
How are your finances? Listen, honestly minus all your expenses from your income, and if the number is a negative, you are technically insolvent. That’s to say, you are steadily getting poorer each day, when you should be getting richer. You have to slash expenses (tough choice) and boost income somehow, and FAST. Where expenses and PASSIVE income meet is automatic and permanent solvency. By passive income I mean income that comes in without any work, like property rentals or royalties.
It’s time for you to do what these limp-handed, spineless politicians can’t: make the tough choices. You don’t have a printing press like they do, so you have to live in the real world and make real choices with a real consequence (for the better ultimately, even though it may hurt today).
And you know what? Often the perception of the pain we imagined isn’t half as bad as we thought it would be when we actually face it. Worry is a death you have over and over, every day. Actual death isn’t nearly as bad, and it only happens once. As the saying goes: ‘A coward dies a thousand times, but the brave die just once.”
Sometimes we blow this worry out of all proportion until we turn the lights on and see that the monster under the bed can be tamed, or even USED to our advantage. Fear is power, and any power can be harnessed for strength.
Margaret Thatcher’s central message was the thing that made her most unpopular: Stand on your own two feet and be all you can be. Life is what you make it. The rewards are out there, and if you want them, go for it. But if you don’t, then get out of the way of people who do.
I mean, was she an evil woman, or what?! Jeez, what a total witch for telling people things like that.
How does her central message make you feel right now? What is your end game…?
Anyway, I’d better close this laptop and stop rambling.
Cheers! Until next time, my friend…