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How many unquestioned beliefs do you hold? How many unchallenged rules do you keep in your mind that control your behaviour? If you want to Get Rich, you need to question all of them.

Why does our society believe clothes need to be washed thoroughly with cleaning detergent after every use?

Why do we need to wash our hair with shampoo and conditioner every time we shower?

You need to realize that these ideas have been sold to us by the companies that sell the products satisfying these apparent needs. There is no logical basis to so much of what we grow up believing other than the fact that we see others doing it – often through careful product placement in movies and advertisements. Soap operas were in their infancy often financed by companies looking for a way to create an emotional connection between consumers and their brands.

Companies love backing studies to demonstrate worst case scenarios and then using fear-campaigns to sell you products that will eventually run out and lead you to buy more. Over time, they can implement little increases of eight or nine cents a bottle every year or simply decrease the package size and charge you the same amount. Once you’ve bought their theory that you must use their product and you’ve adopted the habit, they know you’ll just keep mindlessly buying for fear of the worst case scenario they’ve pushed on you.

Think For Yourself

Your best path to gaining control of your life and finances is not to get mad at these companies for working to brainwash you, but rather to simply question everything. Seriously, every little thing needs to come under the microscope if you want to get ahead. To win their game, your best defense is not to play it as a consumer in the first place. As an investor, of course, it is possible to benefit. If you are unable to logically find a standalone argument for a behaviour that is sold to you by the media or the world around you, you might as well cease and desist altogether.

Oh, but what about the tiny microorganisms that I cannot see but which exist and could kill me if I don’t use soap to kill 99.9% of the little critters? Think about it: Humans have existed for millennia and seemed to get by okay before we knew about germs and the apparent havoc they can wreak.*

When I was very young I started to get the uneasy feeling that a lot of what I held to be true wasn’t authentic whatsoever. Here are a few:

Why do we need to buy each other gifts on pre-determined days of the year?

Society: To show we love and appreciate one another.

Me: To enrich the companies selling the products. This practice keeps the middle and low classes needing to work for a living due to a low savings-rate and slavery to the system. If we actually wanted to show we loved and appreciated one another, couldn’t we just tell each other and mutually devote some quality time?

Why do we buy brand name products?

Society: Brand name products are of the highest quality. A good parent buys her children the best products because she loves them.

Me: Brand name products cost more and typically only sell because they: a) Are available in more places due to better distribution, and b) Have incredible marketing campaigns backing them to convince us of their worth.**

Conclusion

I could literally go on all day with the ideas I’ve been handed down and have since discarded, but the point is this: You need to do your own thinking. Just because your parents or your teachers or your friends believe something doesn’t mean you need to go along for the ride. We live in a very material society – one which I enjoy the perks of – and should have our wits about us when we’re parting with hard earned dollars (that cost us our most valuable resource of Time) to trade for goods we don’t really need.

Ryan

What beliefs do you hold that you’re willing to challenge?

* I’m not saying germs don’t exist or that infections can’t kill you. My point is that you’re probably not going to die if you don’t wash your hands every time you push a shopping cart. Unless you’re eager to get to the bottom of your bottle of hand cleaner and want to buy more.

There are, naturally, obvious examples where a sterile environment is paramount to success such as in a laboratory or operating room in the medical field. This falls outside of our discussion here of general, everyday circumstances.

** Some brand name products are worth the extra cost when you consider life-cycle cost vs. a lower price in the immediate term. If it is a product you are planning to get a decade of use out of, there are often times when it makes sense to go brand-name. Considering high-quality shoes that can be resoled over the years, it can indeed make sense to pay more upfront if you’re going to keep up with maintenance and repair.

Pictures courtesy of pixabay.com

4 thoughts on “Question Everything

  1. Karen says:

    One belief I question constantly is the need for a graduate degree or undergraduate degree for that matter. I found I didn’t really learn much in school, but rather in my jobs. I noticed I learn the best and retain stuff better by actually putting stuff into practice and learning things that interest me.

    If people never questioned anything, society would have never progressed. We need to question things more!
    Karen recently posted…Saving For My Wedding with Technology +GIVEAWAY!!!My Profile

    1. Karen,

      Questioning everything is how we grow.

      Questioning does not mean “discarding”, it simply means “intellectually challenging” to determine what merits a place in our lives and what does not. We have to keep in mind the vested interest others have in selling us a certain way of life. In the case of graduate or undergraduate degrees, consider how much there is at stake for the establishment to keep things moving as they have been.

      Formal Education = Loans made and profits reaped for banks/governments issuing student loans + tuition fees for universities/colleges + book sales for textbook publishers + jobs for teachers/professors + [insert what you please]. So, there is quite clearly more at stake for society and those taking part in it than whether or not formal education is “good or bad”. People’s livelihoods are at stake to keep the train moving along the tracks. That’s why you need to question whether it is good for you or not. Only you can answer that.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting,
      – Ryan

  2. Allan says:

    Hi Ryan, I love that post. For the same reasons you’re mentionning here I’ve questionned myself about why I was eating meat and drinking cow milk after seeing some interesting documentaries about animal mistreatments only to realize that most of our arguments to eat meat and drink milk (and enslave, deprive them from their right to live and kill more than 37 billions animals per year) are weak and most are sophisms.

    The fact is that corporations, governments and school are shaping our minds to make us adhere to the reality they have created for us. Our society is based on a huge collective psychosis. 🙂

    I became vegetarian after taking enough time to analyze and think. I’ve set my twelve years plan to reach financial freedom after taking the time to analyze and think.

    If you don’t take the time to stop and question yourself about what we take as granted (this whole world and society) then you accept the reality imposed by others and you live your life the way “they” want you to live it. You play “their” game and you get stuck in the rat race.

    Why do you have to work 40 hours a week? Because that’s the way it is.

    Why do you have to retire at 65? Because such is life. Because everybody does it.

    Life could be very different then it is if only we could all take the time to stop and think and wash our brainwashed brains.

    Think about school. We’re trained like Pavlov dogs with a bell to get in on time, 5 days a week, to take breaks at fixed hours and to bring work back home. Our vacations are limited and set in advance. It’s the best preparation to give to create a good conditionned salaried worker.

    When you start to think and analyze our society you get to realize that brainwashers are everywhere and that everybody is a potential agent of the brainwashers. If you’re a little deviant from the norm, people are going to ask questions. Why are you single. We have to find you a girfriend. Why do you want to stop working at 45. You’re crazy! You have to work until you’re 65… why do you work part-time. Are you lazy? You should work full time.

    In that sens, the movie The Matrix is a master piece.

    Cheers,
    Allan recently posted…May 2015 passive income update : what an incredible month!My Profile

    1. Allan,

      Thank you for the insightful reply to the article!

      You really grasped what I was trying to get at. The entire system is designed to funnel the average person into a specific mold. As much as schools put up posters on the walls about individuality and free speech, these are the exact things which such institutions tend to squash. We are systematically – as you put it – brainwashed to become factory/9-5 workers who earn just enough to pay bills and keep the economy moving.

      If you’ve heard the Myth of Sisyphus, this is the model for the average person. Just as he had to roll a rock up a hill for eternity only to have it fall back to the bottom to do it again, most people get up every morning to punch the clock at jobs that destroy their spirit just to “earn a living” which feels more like sustained death all so they can feed the establishment by purchasing their brand named goods.

      I often cite the Matrix in discourse with people. Whenever something stands out or challenges the status quo, I like to refer to it as a “glitch in the Matrix”.

      Imagine people suddenly woke up one day and realized they could guy by just fine by spending less money, consuming less goods, working less hours, and just being content with the life they have rather than pursuing some idealized Hollywood version? Imagine how the world might change. Imagine how individuals might be more content. Imagine the economic disruption.

      While I don’t see such a scenario playing out, by recognizing the situation and taking advantage, we can enrich our own lives as we also try to spread the message to others. I cut my cable television last year and looking back over the time since, I haven’t missed a beat. If anything, I’ve had more time for reading, writing, and improved my Marathon time.

      Take care, friend.
      – Ryan

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