“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
Jim Rohn (Speaker & Author, The Art of Exceptional Living)
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
Anne Frank (Diarist & Writer, The Diary of a Young Girl)
“Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.”
Confucius (Chinese Philosopher, Five Classics)
“I’m the boss!”
My advisor shouted.
“You have to do what I say now. You have to respect me.”
The problem was I didn’t respect him. I feared him a little, but I didn’t respect him.
The year before I started graduate school, my now advisor was promoted to running his own lab.
He went from working in a lab to running it.
Nobody in particular promoted him to this position.
He simply got enough grant money to start his own lab.
Now he wanted respect.
A couple of times a week he would call a student or employee into his office and verbally berate them.
Sometimes he’d be particularly nasty and these people would end up leaving his office in tears.
Treating people like this made him feel powerful.
Yet, no one respected them.
The problem was he wanted people’s respect without doing anything to earn their respect.
He wanted the effect without the cause.
A few years after leaving graduate school I started working for a large biotech company.
My job was to market and sell the company’s products.
Once a week, everyone on the marketing team would meet and talk about ideas for making a marketing campaign “go viral.”
“Great idea!” “That will definitely go viral!” “Yes, we want the highest levels of virality!”
Our manager would sit in these meetings and listen to our ideas and nod but then choose the safest idea to move forward with.
Thousands and thousands of dollars would be funneled into this safe idea in the hopes of making it “go viral.”
But of course, it never did.
Instead, it would reach a few hundred people at best and be quickly forgotten.
The problem was our manager wanted to make a campaign go viral by playing it safe.
They wanted the effect without the right cause.
The Law Of Causality
Unhappiness is the result of believing you deserve something you have not earned.
Life is much simpler than most people want you to believe.
You do x and you get y.
It’s a simple math equation.
The problem is the average person thinks he deserves y just because he wants it.
This person has been taught to believe that he can achieve y just by talking about it, just by being a good person, or just by being born.
This is literally nonsense.
According to the book Discrete Mathematics with Applications, if x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x.
In other words…
You can’t deserve y when you haven’t done x.
You certainly can’t achieve y without doing x.
You can want something you have not earned. This is simply logical ambition.
But you cannot deserve something you have not earned. This is irrational evasion.
When you believe you deserve something you have not earned, you’re evading reality.
You’re trying to reverse the law of causality.
You’re trying to have your cake and eat it too.
5 Signs You’re In An Irrational Relationship
You can evade reality but you can’t avoid the consequences of doing so.
The majority of the population wants you to think you will never get ahead no matter how hard you work.
They want you to believe that other people’s happiness and success are more important than your happiness and success.
They want you to join them in evading the simple fact that you’re responsible for your own life and deserve everything you achieve, or don’t achieve.
Don’t join these people. You are better than they are.
These people want unearned respect, as if respect, the effect, could give them personal value, the cause.
They want unearned admiration, as if admiration, the effect, could give them virtue, the cause.
They want unearned money, as if money, the effect, could give them ability, the cause.
When people try to enslave you with their nonsensical conclusions about your own life, you can either walk away or be enslaved.
You can either take the red pill or the blue pill.
But you can’t take both and you can’t refuse both.
The key is knowing exactly when and how someone is trying to trap you in an irrational relationship.
Once you see their logical errors, you can walk away guilt free and start living your life free and clear again.
Here are 5 red flags you’re caught in an irrational relationship…
1. When they use the fact that they care about you as leverage to control your behavior.
You can care about anyone you want to care about.
You don’t need permission to care. Likewise…
Other people can care about you whether or not you give them permission to care.
But just because someone chooses to care about you does not mean you must care about them the same way in return.
Sure, it’s healthy to be polite and cordial to people in general.
But do not confuse politeness with penance.
You don’t owe other people anything.
Just because someone really likes you does not mean you have to really like them.
Just because someone considers you in every decision they make does not mean you have to consider them.
It sounds harsh but it’s true.
You must guard yourself against feeling like you owe other people things just because they care about you.
Otherwise, these people will take advantage of you by playing the victim.
2. When they expect you to take their feelings into account for every decision you make about your own life.
Your happiness is independent of anyone else’s happiness.
No one has a right to tie their happiness to you and your actions without your permission and then expect you to behave in a way that keeps them happy.
No one has any claim to your time just because you spent time with them in the past.
Likewise, no one has any claim to your feelings just because you had feelings for them in the past.
Sure, if you have kids or commit to some kind of long-term work or personal relationship, you’ve bonded your happiness with the happiness of others.
But this only goes so far.
At the end of the day, everyone is responsible for their own happiness.
You’re not responsible for how someone else feels. You can’t feel for anyone else.
A person’s feelings are the effect of that person’s decisions, not your decisions.
You’re not responsible for causing other people’s happiness.
Happiness is a personal decision and it’s up to them to decide to be happy, regardless of what you decided to do with your own life.
3. When they ask for a handout and expect you to pretend like they earned it.
There are too many people asking for charity today.
Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, KickStarter, and IndieGoGo have been great tools for helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off of the ground.
But they’ve also been destructive tools for beggars without ability who simply want other people to give them money.
No one deserves other people’s time, money, or resources.
These things must be earned.
Just because you spent a day putting some pictures up on a crowdsurfing platform does not mean other people owe you money.
The biggest problem with crowdsurfing platforms is they encourage people to ask for charity while simultaneously asking you, the funder, to pretend like you’re not being charitable.
Instead, these platforms work to convince you that you’re investing in other people.
The truth is you’re just giving your money away.
You can’t invest when there’s no chance of getting a return on your investment.
Very often, when people dupe you into being charitable, you’re simply helping them evade the law of causality and evade reality overall.
Sure, you’re free to help others as you please and there is nothing wrong with giving someone a helping hand.
But you shouldn’t let yourself become a crutch.
You shouldn’t let other people constantly guilt you into giving them your time, money, or resources.
You certainly shouldn’t let them guilt you into giving them unearned resources while pretending like they earned these resources.
When someone asks for a handout, make sure they know they’re asking for a handout.
Make them earn what they’re asking for whenever possible.
Otherwise, you’ll just empower their weak-minded behavior and further teach them to be helpless.
4. When they work to make your life harder simply because they are discontent with their own life.
Some people don’t like their own lives.
Some people are lazy and miserable and like being that way.
The problem is misery loves company.
When someone values misery, or they value victimhood, they will try to make you miserable.
They will try to turn you into a victim.
Your life can only go in two directions, towards pleasure or pain.
Towards the top or the bottom. Towards productivity or sterility. Towards creation or destruction.
Towards life or death.
That’s right, every day is a life or death decision.
You are either going to seek more life—more happiness, more strength, and more success, or more death—more misery, more weakness, and more failure.
It seems like a simple decision to make.
The problem, again, is that many people choose to head towards death.
They want misery and they want you to want it too.
People who value misery will do whatever they can to make you miserable too.
They will use the power of suggestion and psychological warfare to drag you down.
They will use threats and guilt instead of logic and reason to get what they want from you.
Beware of these people.
As soon as they show you their real colors, cut them out of your life.
Don’t stick around to see if they’ll change.
You can’t save someone who values misery over happiness.
You can’t save someone who chases death instead of chasing life.
5. When they act like you owe them something simply because they feel like you should owe them something.
The man is not keeping you down in life.
You are keeping yourself down in life.
You’re sabotaging yourself by blaming other people for your problems.
It’s easy to fall in the trap of feeling like other people owe you something.
Life is hard and it feels good to place the blame on others when things go wrong, especially others you haven’t even met.
“It’s not my fault I failed! It’s the government’s fault! It’s the bank’s fault! It’s rich people’s fault!”
“If only someone would give me a chance!”
The problem is that for every time you blame someone else for your problems, there are millions of other people in the world blaming you for their problems.
Likewise, for every person you try to drag down, there are millions beneath you trying to drag you down.
You blame others, others blame you, and round and round it goes.
The only way to escape this cycle is to accept the fact that no one owes you anything and you don’t owe anyone else anything.
How many times in your life has someone—maybe a boss, friend, family member, or relationship partner—wanted you to care about something that they care about without any explanation as to why you should care about it too?
Your boss really cares about a project at work and wants you to come in on the weekend to work overtime for free.
Your significant other wants you to go to an event to support people you don’t know and to participate in activities you don’t enjoy.
The list goes on and on.
Just because someone feels like you should owe them something does not mean you owe them something.
Just because someone will act hurt if you don’t do what they want does not mean you should do what they want.
Remember when your parents used to yell, “Because I said so!”
You were a kid and your parents didn’t have time to explain something to you, or they didn’t have an explanation, so they simply told you to do what they said just because they said it.
Doing something for someone just because they feel like it is even worse.
It’s the equivalent of them screaming, “Because I feel like it!”
Don’t feel obligated to do things for people because they feel you owe them.
You’re not a toddler anymore. You’re an adult. Act like it.
Remember, you can evade reality but you can’t avoid the consequences of doing so. You can reverse the law of causality in your own head but you can’t reverse it in real life. You can’t get y without first doing x. There will be tough times in life and these times will only be made tougher by pretending that they are someone else’s fault. Stay away from those who encourage you to be irrational. Don’t empower their behavior. Instead, take responsibility for yourself and surround yourself with other equally responsible people.
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