The only blog post you have to read this year…
I don’t know about 99% of the things going on in the world right now.
Which of course perfectly qualifies me to write the only blog post you should read this year.
So here’s the thing…
There are just way too many things going on in this world that it’s basically impossible to keep track of it all.
Just to stay informed is already a full time job.
And I already feel like I have two full time jobs.
Sometimes even three…
The world has just gotten way too complex, is moving way too fast and there are millions of things to keep track of and millions of distractions out there.
Basically everybody out there wants your attention.
Even I want your attention.
Especially I want your attention…
And what happens when everybody wants your attention is that you can’t give yourself, your life, your friends, your spouse or your kids the attention they need.
And it’s not like we would hear or see anything new. It’s the same things over and over again. Every single day. For hundreds of years.
Wars. People being bombed. Women getting raped. Children being killed. People losing their jobs. Unhappiness. Sadness. Confusion…
That’s the only stuff we get to see. And to hear.
We never get to see the good stuff anymore.
And there is plenty of good stuff out there.
I see it every single day.
With my own eyes.
And not through some stranger’s eyes who might or might not have a stake in showing me what he or she wants me to see….
So I stopped keeping track of what’s going on in the world.
Because the same things happen day in and day out. Over and over again.
For hundreds of years already. Heck, probably even for thousands of years.
If you think this time it’s different, it really isn’t.
It’s the exact same thing that happened hundreds of times already in the past.
Maybe even thousands of times.
Here’s what’s been happening for hundreds if not thousands of years…
Some hundred years ago some members of two different tribes got into an argument.
About what? No one knows. Maybe it was about a woman. Maybe it was about money. Or maybe it was about goats. No one really knows. But thinking about it, it was probably about a woman.
And then they got into a fight. Then one tribesman said a mean thing to the other tribesman. Then they started arguing some more and things got really ugly. Wars were fought. Children got killed and women got raped.
And since then those tribes hate each other. And are constantly in war or fighting against each other.
Sometimes in very obvious ways like wars and sometimes in more subtle ways. Like discrimination. Or hidden violence. Or whatever…
And this kind of stuff never really stops. These things stay alive for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years.
Hatred will never go away. Just like fear will never go away. Or shame. Or guilt.
So what were these tribesmen initially arguing about?
Again, no one knows.
And probably no one will ever know.
And it doesn’t really matter.
Because we grow up hearing these stories.
Who is responsible for the loss of our jobs?
Who is responsible for the crisis?
Who is responsible for this?
Who is responsible for that?
Sometimes it’s the immigrants.
Sometimes it’s the jews.
And other times it’s the Chinese.
And maybe some time in the future it will be the robots.
But before that maybe even the Indians.
No one really knows
It will never stop.
Whenever things go bad we need someone or something else to blame.
It’s the easiest thing to do.
Because blaming yourself is hard. Really hard.
Blaming yourself for your own misery is never easy.
It’s probably the hardest thing out there.
I struggle with it almost on a daily basis.
But in the end I know that it’s always my fault.
In the end, the only person to blame is you.
I mean me…
Stuff like blaming others for our misery.
Our missed chances.
And on and on and on.
It’s a cycle that will never be broken.
It’ll repeat itself over and over again.
And it’s hard to see it all through.
It’s hard to really understand what has happened and why it has happened and why it keeps happening.
Because no one really remembers what the two tribesmen hundreds of years ago were arguing about.
But I’m sure people will keep arguing about it for hundreds if not thousands of more years to come…
# OLD VS. NEW
This is a constant battle that has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The new replaces the old.
And the old will become obsolete.
This isn’t about old people versus young people.
Or about innovation and technology against humans.
Even though it might be.
This is just how the world works. And we can’t do anything about it.
The more you try to fight it, the more you’ll get punished.
At the end of the day, it’s survival of the fittest.
The people, individuals or corporations that are able to adapt the fastest to a new environment will survive and thrive.
It has always been like this and it will be like this for the next thousands of years to come.
But who says that the old has to fade away?
No one says that.
But usually the old will try everything it can to keep doing things the way they were always done.
They will try to keep their power for as long as they can.
And by being busy trying to keep your kingdom together, the kingdom slowly fades away.
This doesn’t apply just to governments, rich people or the bourgeoisie only.
It applies to everyone. Whatever we have, even if it’s not a lot, we try to hold on to it.
Because we fought hard for it. So we don’t want to lose it. We don’t want to risk it.
Even if we just live in a trailer park and barely have enough to survive. We had to fight hard for it. And we don’t want to lose it. Ever…
But at the end of the day life is a high stakes poker game where you’re close to the abyss every single day and can lose everything you’ve ever worked hard for in a matter of minutes.
And then the next day you can make it all back again…
# LOST GENERATION
Every century we’ve lost at least one generation. For hundreds of years or maybe even thousands of years at least one generation had to suffer so that the next generation could prosper.
Lost generations happened and will keep happening because of wars, big diseases like the plague, cruel dictators and many other horrible things. This century the lost generation will probably be because of artificial intelligence and robots that leave many people without jobs, opportunities, perspective and hope.
Until we get universal basic income the majority of people are going to suffer. Mostly the people who don’t want to adapt. The people who think they can’t adapt. The people who blame others. The people who blame capitalism, the stock market, Wall Street, hedge fund managers, technology and on and on and on.
But just like I said before the new will always replace the old. And the only way to survive and thrive is to adapt to the new environment. I know it’s difficult. I struggle with it on a daily basis trying to do new things while failing at 95% of it. But that’s the only way.
And because most people won’t be willing to adapt we’re probably going to have a lost generation this century because of robots, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
And then some time down the road things will get better again. Probably through universal basic income. Which might or might not come in the next 10, 15 or 20 years. Depending on how fast robots, algorithms and artificial intelligence is going to wipe out most of the jobs out there.
So what about the next century? No one knows. But what’s likely going to happen is that during this and the the next century we’re going to completely ruin the planet so that it becomes almost impossible to live here anymore.
So most people will die. Or have diseases or whatever. And that might be the lost generation in the next century. And then things will get better. Once we’ve figured out a way to live on other planets things will start to get better.
Look. This isn’t fear-mongering. Or maybe it is. I don’t care. But this is exactly what happened over the past hundreds of years and will keep happening over the next hundreds or even thousands of years. One generation will be sacrificed for the next generation to thrive.
Is this science fiction?
Well, maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But most of life is way more science fiction than we ever thought possible anyway….
# RICH VS. POOR
This is another struggle that has been going on for thousands of years. And it will keep going on for thousands of more years…
Rich people make all the money and poor people have to work for the rich people.
So how does one go from poor to rich?
A surefire way that won’t work is to complain about the fact that the rich are getting richer and richer and the poor are getting poorer and poorer. Complaining never works. Only doing does.
And taking away money from anybody never really worked. Just like trying to take away the money from rich people won’t really work.
After all, if those rich people have less money who’s going to hire you, employ you and pay your salary? Right, no one will. If their margins go down, they’ll just leave the country. Or use robots. Or algorithms. Or whatever.
The problem is that we think corporations or business owners owe us something because we gifted them some of our precious time. But the truth is they don’t. They don’t owe us anything.
No one forced us to work for them. And it was all a business transaction anyway. Time in exchange for money. That was the deal right from the very start. No sugar coating. It was never anything personal. Even if it sometimes might have seemed that way. It was always about business. And it will always be about business. Especially when things are getting tougher and a lot more unpredictable…
And why should we even blame them? Rich people can do whatever they want with their money. Just like you can do whatever you want with your money. Just like I can do whatever I want with my money. I know this is very simplified. But that’s what it boils down to at the end of the day.
And the government won’t be able to help you either. Or pay your salary. The government and politicians are busy making sure that they stay in power for as long as they can. It has always been that way and will always be that way.
Sure, some people are betting big on universal basic income. And maybe we’ll have it in 10, 15 or 20 years. But who’s the rich then?
Right. The government. And politicians…
Then they can tell you to do all sorts of things. And if you don’t obey you’ll be punished. They’ll take away some of your income.
Well, because they can. Because they are now the ones with power. They’re now the ones to tell you what to do and what not to. They can now give you orders. And they will…
At the end of the day, if you outsource responsibility for your life to someone else, you’ll always be a slave to someone else.
A couple of hundred years ago you were a slave to the king. Then you were a slave to the factory owner. Then you were a slave to corporations. And then at one point you’ll be a slave to the government. And then maybe one day to the robots.
It’s always been like this. And it will always be like this. The only difference is whose orders you’d have to follow.
And the only way to go from poor to rich, from prison to freedom is to take over responsibility for your life once again. To stop outsourcing responsibility to kings, governments, politicians, corporations and maybe even to robots some time in the future…
This is the only way.
And will always be the only way…
No matter how stable or unstable a country is, revolutions are always going to happen. When the gap between the rich and the poor gets too big, revolutions are going to happen. Just like revolutions are going to happen when people want more freedom.
It has happened and will keep happening over and over again. So what does it take for a revolution to happen, (either a good one or a bad one)?
In developing countries when the economy stops growing and people’s lives stop getting better, then people will start to complain and the ruling power will get into trouble. Sooner or later.
This happened over and over again. And it will keep happening. That’s the reason why China is buying technology, companies and brands all over the world. Because they know that once growth stops and people’s lives stop getting better, they’re going to be in trouble.
So they need to make sure that they go from workbench of the entire planet to the leader of the entire planet. Which they already managed to successfully do. Most people just haven’t realized it yet. And the reason they do it is because their politicians don’t want to lose their power. And as long as people’s lives get better they will keep their power. No matter what any human rights watch agency does…
So when do revolutions happen in developed countries? Once people can’t afford as much anymore as their parents were able to afford. Once people’s wealth is in danger. Once people fear they have to downsize their lifestyle. Or their freedom.
This is basically the reason why there’s so much going on in countries all over Europe. And America. And pretty much everywhere else.
Because people are either afraid that their lives will get worse, that they can’t afford as much as they were able to afford last year or because they already aren’t able to afford as much as last year anymore.
Whenever change happens, whenever people’s lives get worse or seem to be in danger of getting worse you’ll see an extreme right wing movement. And an extreme left wing movement at the same time. Which in itself is completely ludicrous.
How can extreme right wing movements and extreme left wing movements happen at the same time?
Pushing people’s buttons…
# PUSHING PEOPLE’S BUTTONS
Whenever change happens, whenever things go not as expected, left wing movements promise people who were left behind or people who feel like they’ll be left behind a bright future with plenty of opportunities.
Needless to say that most of the time these are empty promises. Because no politician in the world can do anything about change. Or will ever be able to do anything about change. Why? See the part where it says old vs. new. The old will always be replaced. No matter what politicians, the government or anybody else tells you.
On the other hand, the extreme right will always try to find someone to blame. The responsibility will always be outsourced away from the individual to someone else. To the immigrants. Or the jews. Or the Chinese. Or the robots. Or whatever.
That’s why in times of change, of insecurity, left wing movements and right wind movements will rise and thrive at the same time. In some cases it gets so ludicrous that people start supporting the extreme left and the extreme right at the same time.
Because people always want someone else to blame and at the same time they want to believe in the promise of a better, safer and more prosperous life.
And that’s how you push people’s buttons. It has always been like this in the past and it will always be like this in the future…
# MAKING MONEY
So how can you go from poor to rich?
I don’t know. There are millions of ways. And none of them includes being an employee.
Because just like the communists already figured out a couple of years ago, the bourgeoisie will always allow you to make just about enough money to survive.
Enough money so that you can still buy their products, their services, rent their houses and take a loan from them the second they handed you that paycheck.
But communism isn’t the answer. Or maybe it is and people just abused it to hide their true and ugly faces. I don’t know..
Again, the only answer is to stop outsourcing your responsibility to the government, to politicians, to kings, to banks, to corporations and yes also to robots in the future.
The only way is to once again take over responsibility for your own life. To get out there and hunt again. To eat what you kill. Instead of eating what the ranger at the zoo throws into your mouth you each and every day.
Because one day that ranger will be gone. And then you’d have to figure out how to survive in the wild again. On your own…
# GOOD TIMES
Are easy to navigate. It’s easy to make the right decisions when times are good and things are going well. But it’s a lot more difficult to make the right decisions when times aren’t so good. That’s why essentially no government or no politician in the world will ever be able to save you or anybody else during bad times.
Simply because most politicians have no clue about how to navigate bad times. Because most of them have never been in bad times themselves. Most politicians come from rich families, have never had to work really hard outside the field of politics and have generally never killed what they eat.
Most politicians are professional politicians. And professional politicians only know how to manage things in good times. But not that much about what to do during bad times. When it’s about facing a possibly not so bright future. And coming up with new ideas.
Ideas about how to deal with robots for example. Or artificial intelligence. And every other thing that is about to completely change the world as we know it. Most politicians don’t have a lot of ideas. Because they grew up in a system where they did what they were told to do. That’s what professional politicians do.
So when it is about time to figure out how to deal with drastic change most politicians have no clue. That’s why when times are getting tough, the only thing you can really do is to start to learn how to kill what you eat. To take responsibility for your life once again. In bad times even more so than in good times.
I know I’m generalizing a lot here. But again, that’s what it basically boils down to…
Come and go. The empire Dschinghis Khan built disappeared. The majas disappeared. The incas disappeared. The Egyptian culture was once one of the most developed cultures in the world and now it basically disappeared. The roman empire disappeared. The Chinese empire disappeared for hundreds of years.
Empires come and go. Faster than ever before. Old ones disappear and new ones take over. Sometimes new ones make the world a better place. Sometimes they don’t. But it’s just the way it is. It’s been like this for thousands of years already. And it will be like this for thousands of years to come. And we can’t do anything about it.
But the Chinese are taking over you say?
Well, I don’t care. They were ruling the entire planet for hundreds of years in the past. Just like the Romans once did. And now they’re gone. Just like the Americans once did. And soon they’ll basically also be gone.
Who cares? As long as the “world leader” is peaceful and makes this world a better place without killing millions of innocent people I couldn’t care less whose flag is blowing in the wing.
The only thing I care about is to try to be the best version of myself. Because that’s how you start building your own empire. One day at a time…
There will always be a crises. The longer there was no crisis, the harder it’ll hit. It’s very simple. The longer you think you’re safe, the lazier you’ll get. And the lazier you’ll get, the less you pay attention to risk. And the less you pay attention to risk, the less you’ll be prepared for a crisis.. And the more you’re going to panic.
It’s just like the chicken who gets fed day in and day out. So the chicken is happy that it has such a worry and stress free life. Until the day where the butcher cuts the chicken’s throat…
So when the crisis hits and no one is prepared, because there wasn’t a crisis for decades or maybe even centuries then everybody is going to freak out. And when everybody is going to freak out and there’s panic everywhere, then the crisis will get even worse.
The panic will make everything worse. The markets will plummet even more. Prices will go down (or up) even more. More jobs will be lost. And more value will be destroyed. And the longer there was no panic, the bigger the panic is going to be. And it will keep getting bigger and bigger. Just like a tiny snowball that rolls down a snow covered hill.
At the end of the hill the small snowball has turned into a big enough snowball to wipe out entire families, cities, countries and maybe even the entire planet.
It’s just like with wildfires. The longer there wasn’t a wildfire, the bigger the fire will get. Simply because the longer there wasn’t a fire, the more small leaves and stuff will be on the forest floor. And these small leaves will accelerate the wildfire even more. Because they burn really, really fast.
That’s the reason why rangers usually start small but controlled wildfires. To get rid of all the small leaves and the stuff on the forest floor. So that in case of a real wildfire, it won’t be as devastating.
And the exact same thing applies to any kind of crises. The more crises a country, a region or a city had over the past couple of decades or centuries, the more people will be prepared for it and the better they’ll know what to do and the less they’ll panic.
The more people are used to things being not so stable, to a crisis hitting every couple of years or decades, the better they’ll be prepared for it and the better they’ll know what to do when they are about to drown.
That’s why I’m a little bit worried about what’s going to happen in Germany once a crisis hits. After all, there has basically been no crisis whatsoever since World War 2 and everybody feels safe and enjoys the free meals each and every day…
# BUY LOW, SELL HIGH
The more risk you’re willing to take, the bigger the potential upside will be. It’s always been like this and will always be like this. For hundreds if not thousands of years.
Cavemen that went out of their safe caves into the wilderness ended up conquering the entire planet. While their ancestors were stuck in their dark caves living a miserable life. It was a high risk game to leave that cave. Just like it was a high risk game to go out there and try to find the end of the world.
But it’s the high risk games that have the highest possible upside in life. When you buy low while the risk is still high, you’re going to be able to sell very high. That’s the only way.
No risk. No upside…
The good thing about opportunities is that in the end both sides are happy.
The ones who did take the opportunity and benefited from it and the ones who didn’t take the opportunity and didn’t benefit from it.
The ones who did take the opportunity and benefited from it are happy, well because they benefited from it and cashed out.
The ones who didn’t take the opportunity and hence didn’t benefit from it are also happy because they waited for that crash to happen and the opportunity to fade away. They are happy because they didn’t end up in that crash.
So in the end both sides are happy. The ones who took the opportunity and benefited from it and the ones who didn’t take the opportunity and didn’t benefit from it.
But whatever you do, whether you repeatedly take opportunities or not, will define your view of the world.
A world that’s either full of dangers and scarcity or a world that’s full of opportunities and abundance.
It’s your choice. It always is.
And that’s the good thing about opportunities…
But what about the ones who didn’t see the opportunity, the ones who thought they didn’t have the chance to benefit from that opportunity?
Well, they’re probably going to blame others for it. The government. The stock market. Politicians. Corporations. Capitalism. Robots. Algorithms. Their neighbors, the Joneses and on and on and on.
When the truth is that the only one to blame is you. No matter what…
Because of the wrong choices you made.
Because of the way you let others treat you.
The way you invested your time and energy.
The partners (or clients) you picked.
The jobs you took.
That crappy relationship you didn’t end that you should have ended years ago.
That chance you never took.
And on and on and on. It never stops.
But the good news is this…
It’s never too late to make another choice.
And then another one.
And then another one.
There are millions of choices out there waiting to be made.
Choices that will lead to even more choices.
Choices that will ultimately lead to opportunities.
Opportunities that will then lead to even more opportunities..
Is the key to everything. Reinvention has and will always be the key to success. That’s why pretty much every big empire failed. Or most of the big companies.
Reinvention is necessary. Every couple of decades. Today, even more so than ever before.
Reinvention is messy. But necessary. If there’s no reinvention, there’s no growth. And where there’s no growth, there’s only managing. Managing your past achievements. Managing your past successes. Managing your past relationships. Managing the past…
No reinvention means stagnation. And stagnation is usually the end. Because at one point you can’t just optimize a thing anymore that has already been optimized hundreds of times in the past. At one point you’ve gotta do something else. At one point you’ve gotta reinvent yourself and start totally from scratch again.
Or you’ll get replaced trying to build a better carriage while everybody else is already working on the next car…
But I’m getting tired right now.
And I could probably continue writing for hours and hours.
But I can’t. I have to go to sleep now.
But one more thing before I leave…
Repeats itself. Over and over again. And there’s nothing we can do about it.
Except acknowledging it, embracing it, leveraging it and learning our lessons before it’s too late.
And that was the only blog post you needed to read this year. And then the next year. And then the next year to come. And then in ten years again…
History repeats itself.
And it’s always a good idea to know which movie you’re watching.
Or which book you’re reading.
Because ultimately, you’re the main character in it…
Originally published at yanngirard.typepad.com.