In the past decade, we’ve witnessed the rise of witch hunts against a wide variety of people. We expect these to continue and we expect it will take more discipline to avoid them. Some of this rise is due to social media and the view that we have a right to judge others (we don’t). Some of this is also due to the propagandist Ryan Holiday who used the technique of “outrage marketing” – highlighting outrageous errors by others so that it spreads across social media platforms quickly. Some witch hunts are popular because the person is an “enemy” of a group and trashing the person serves that purpose. Finally, all witch hunts lack reflection that we are all guilty of making mistakes. In all of these witch hunts, we waste our time, energy, and encourage ourselves to engage in strong self delusion. In other words, we lose significant amounts of potential due to these – not just money, but a loss of character.
Every person reading this and the person writing this has made mistakes. No one is exceptional here. No one. If we all make mistakes, why do we judge others? If we all make mistakes, why are we outraged by other peoples’ mistakes? If we all make mistakes, why do we think we have a right to judge others’ mistakes?
In the biographical financial series (see below this), we highlight famous people in history for what they’ve done well. We avoid passing judgment on these people because we’ve made more mistakes than any of the people we’ve highlighted. And the same holds true today: we are no better than any of the people featured in witch hunts the past few years and in the future. We know how much time and energy it takes to perfect ourselves and even with all that time and energy, we’re still not close to perfection. If we feel frustration, we should feel frustration at our own shortcomings, not other peoples’ shortocmings.
We have nothing against imperfect people. We are imperfect. And people’s errors are not our business anyway – our focus should be on perfecting ourselves.
Let’s credit Jamie Kilstein for seeing his own flaws and admitting that his former criticisms of other people, compared to his own mistakes, were absurd. Let’s also recognize that we do the same thing when we engage in witch hunts of other people – while making huge errors of our own, we condemn others who do.
None of us are better than Jamie Kilstein: all of us are just as likely to become witch hunters.
As long time readers know, we state that discipline is the greatest form of wealth because it cannot be controlled by anyone and can be used in every situation. The one ring of power is discipline. In the case of witch hunts, what is the most disciplined action we can take? Avoid them. This takes work, especially in a world that encourages us to mind other people’s business, even though we should not.
Discipline takes work: “mind your own business” requires discipline. Judging other people demonstrates a lack of discipline. Not only are we guilty of making mistakes, our focus on other’s problems means we’re not focusing on perfecting ourselves. This won’t lead to anywhere successful. We only have so much energy everyday to spend for mental attention – how much are we wasting on witch hunts? As the most powerful form of wealth, discipline means we avoid the witch hunt, which saves us energy that we can direct on becoming better versions of ourselves.
We won’t succeed financially, or in any area of life, if we’re constantly focusing our attention on witch hunts. In doing this, we lose sight of our own flaws and we lose energy that we could devote to perfecting ourselves. If our goal is to become losers, fail miserably, and waste time, we should focus our attention on others and engage in witch hunts. But if we want to improve ourselves, we must learn to focus our attention on our own flaws and work on ourselves. Other people are not nearly as flawed as we are and when we look in the mirror, we should see a huge list of mistakes in ourselves that we don’t see in others.
The only definition of failure is not living up to our full potential and we can only achieve our full potential with discipline. We should never worry about other peoples’ potential – it’s not our business.
Suppose that we lose three hours a week in a witch hunt. That’s a loss of three hours we could be building a skill or doing something productive, like connecting with people in a positive way. We could also use those three hours to reflect over our flaws and ask how we can improve. It doesn’t stop at three hours though: as we know with behavior, as we build a pattern of behavior (judging), we increase the activity. We’ve all seen people who started small in witch hunts, but soon it began to consume their life. Looking at it from a compound perspective, in time, we began to consume more of our time engaging in witch hunts. That three hours becomes ten hours eventually and none of these hours improve our lives.
If you look at median income for the individual, most witch hunts waste several thousand dollars a year for the individual. Is a loss of $3000 a year worth feeling superior to someone else, even when we’re all just as flawed? As we continue our behavioral pattern, is $6000 worth it? $12000? We’re not just losing time, we’re losing potential that we could have devoted elsewhere.
To avoid these witch hunts, here are five techniques to use that will help all of us:
Let’s ignore a person’s mistakes and errors – as we’ll commit greater errors – and let’s focus our energy on learning skills that we can use to become better people. Anyone can find a flaw with the characters we cover, but how many people can learn pragmatic skills and see the virtue in each person? This takes work. We’re naturally negative people who don’t want to learn – we are naturally undisciplined. Yet perfect or not, the below people show us some positive lessons we can apply in our life.
All witch hunts start with one of the most powerful vices: pride. Humility says that we should be focused on our errors, our mistakes, our flaws, which we all hate to do. It takes significant discipline to be humble, but without humility we won’t improve. Let’s devote our attention to improving ourselves and stay out of witch hunts. Witch hunts come and go and many people will someday regret all the time they spent judging others when they realize that they are guilty of similar – or worse – mistakes. We are not better than other people and we never will be better than other people.
In the last decade, China has risen to the most powerful country in the world. Historically, China has been a great power three times in its past history and has one of the most successful cultures in human history. Thomas Sowell points out that the Chinese are successful wherever they migrate. As an example, if we look at the top incomes by ethnicity in the United States, we’ll see that the Chinese are high up on the list (note that Taiwan is officially the Republic of China, or the non-Mao version of China, as Mao set China back, while Taiwan never had to worry about Mao). China has also impacted many other Asian cultures throughout history, which shows in other Asian cultures having the strongest levels of income and wealth in the United States and other countries. Yet, in the last century, China turned communist like Russia and almost lost ground against the United States. Deng Xiaoping changed China’s destructive communist fate and is one of many reasons China is the world power.
1. Be quick to admit mistakes and adjust behavior.. True to his adaptable background, Deng Xiaoping admitted that China had jumped into socialism too early. Even though he adopted socialist thought when he was younger and was attached to socialism, he recognized the failure of China’s socialist adoption. Karl Marx had argued that capitalism would eventually make itself irrelevant. Marx was right and wrong: Marx is correct that capitalism will continue to increase productivity in time, making some labor irrelevant. However, labor will always exist – its manner will change. Deng Xiaoping understood that increased productivity can only come under a system that encourages competition and private property (both inherently capitalistic). Socialism cannot increase productivity; its an inherently predatory system, unless productivity has increased to such a level that output is guaranteed regardless of human labor (ie: robots that can make everything humans need will change the nature of human labor).
Why did Deng Xiaoping see this and not other socialistic academics? Deng Xiaoping put aside his ego and his attachment to socialism and accepted what reality said. Ego hindered others from adopting necessary change and China would have never been a world power had the academics succeeded, just like the United States has gone into decline as academics have had more power (the Soviet Union also had the same problem).
What makes a person exceptional is his ability to swallow his ego and accept what works. Not even 1% of people can do this. Deng Xiaoping did.
2. Deng Xiaoping, like Genghis Khan, proved that the underdog has the advantage.. Deng Xiaoping grew up as a peasant with agriculture experience (similar to Mikhail Gorbachev who ended the communist rule in the Soviet Union). A poor background combined with agriculture teach reality more than any school on the planet – you cannot escape reality when you’re poor. You cannot escape reality when you live by what you produce. By contrast, most modern education is nothing other than an escape from reality. Case in point, this TED talk we highlighted to portray another view of success and failure – though interesting, the talk is filled with inaccuracies and false assumptions. Anyone who’s actually raised livestock knows what mixing breeds with productive and less productive breeds results in catastrophe – in fact, breeds like Araucanas have been selected out of other breeds due to their laying frequency. While it’s true that a chicken will never lay 30 eggs a week (impossible), a chicken which lays 8 eggs a week versus 5-6 eggs a week is superior – this is why we have specific dog breeds, chicken breeds, etc. As humans, we select out the genes we want and this refutes the TED assertion. The difference is the experience of people who live in the reality (producers) versus the academics who postulate theories and formulate meaningless experiments (ie: A chicken only has so much potential so a “super chicken” isn’t a possibility anyway; by contrast, what’s the potential to consciousness? Consider that several hundred years ago people would have said flight was impossible yet the Wright Brothers refuted this).
After Mao Zedong passed, Deng Xiaoping should have been at a disadvantage due to his poor background. Yet, he outmaneuvered his opponents and was able to influence the direction of China. His poor background and experience in agriculture taught him to humbly seek results exclusively – never protect ego, as ego blocks results. When you look at modern education, what you see is the opposite of what success does: modern education protects ego by ignoring results.
3. The exception defines future rules and Deng Xiaoping was an exception. In The Power of the Powerless, Vaclav Havel identifies that a system which is built for the average person destroys everyone in the long run. Why is this? Anyone who undertands basic statistics knows that most people conform to the bulk of a standard bell curve – most people fall within 1-2 deviations of the mean. Why would a system designed for most people fail them in the long run? Because exceptions (statistical outliers) define future rules. The Wright brothers were exceptions – we now can fly. Sir Isaac Newton was an exception – our knowledge of mathematics and physics greatly expectanded because of him. Deng Xiaoping was an exception – he recognized the limits of socialism in its time and China is where it is today.
Average people hate exceptions, like Bill Gates, even though exceptions like Bill Gates drastically increase wealth for everyone in the future, and sometimes in the present. A system designed for average people ends up undermining those same people because no exception can exist in the system (the Soviet and communist systems remove exceptions), thus the people do not benefit from the wealth that exceptions create. A world without the Wright brothers, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, Deng Xiaoping, etc is not a world you want to live in – these exceptions made us all much richer.
4. Challenge yourself. We’ve heard and seen the “I’m triggered” from weak Millennials who can’t handle disagreement. The future for these Millennials is poverty, even if that poverty is only reduced opportunity (unseen). Deng Xiaoping never feared challenging his ideas; even as a devoted socialist when younger, he showed a willingness to hear and see other views. His willingness to challenge his own views led to massive wealth creation, not only for himself, but for others in China.
We can find echo chambers everywhere, but be aware – they are incredibly dangerous. They limit potential and wealth. Isolation equals poverty; challenge your views and always stay outside your comfort zone.
Deng Xiaoping lived as the exception that changed the rule, a reflect of how Mother Nature favors the one for the many. As China has grown into the most powerful country in the world for its fourth time in its history, it’s important to review what made China rise to its position and avoid the fate of the Soviet Union. Deng Xiaoping reminds us that poverty can create wealth, humility will lead us to results, and that we should always be where we’re most uncomfortable while staying grounded.
At the end of January 2018, we will be hosting the FinTekNeeks 2018 Investment Outlook Webinar, covering opportunities and answering questions for a few attendees. Like 2017, we will only allow a few participants, so we’re opening registration now for the webinar. We generally offer a bonus, or allow people to take advantage of a bonus, so this limits how many bonuses we give out.
The topics for the 2018 webinar:
Reserve your spot for the webinar. Since the webinar is first come, first serve, we will use the time stamp on email to determine the cutoff. The cost for the webinar is $891. Once we close the enrollment, we will not admit others.
Enrollment is closed.
The recent Equifax hack will cost consumers significant amounts when measured in time, money and waste. Consumers saw their private information stolen and these detailed pieces will come with costs, even if not immediate. Consumers have already jumped on incorrect solutions (no surprise) and worse may happen. A few months ago, students were cautioned to take certain actions in a limited time only video after the Cloudfare compromise. We caution about security, as it continues to be a re-occuring issue. While most people focus on returns, they fail to pay attention to the most important issue of all – security. A 100% return becomes a 0% return with poor security.
In a recent podcast, we discussed two ugly truths about this hack. None of us want to see hacks, but when people live in denial of reality, reality doesn’t cease to be true. This is like a farmer denying that insects will eat his crops and ignoring this truth. The farmer’s denial of truth doesn’t change the truth that insects eat crops, if given the chance. When insects come and consume his crops, he loses his investment. If he had accepted his reality, he could have prepared. The first step to changing one’s reality is to accept the truth of that reality, even if it makes them feel uncomfortable.
The Equifax hack mirrors this. Multiple videos have been removed from the internet with interviews featuring key people. First, why is this? Second, those videos revealed disturbing truths that few seemed to pay attention to at the time. Find videos of other key people at other companies. What about these videos? What are they in charge of? How many hacks have happened recently in the last year and how significant were these hacks?
You don’t need to be an expert to see a trend. Even after the early failures this year, we still see bigger hacks. Have consumers been safer due to their solutions? Have leaders helped improved the situation over the last decade, or even last five years? Your answers to these questions offer insight to the truth. What may be true that you don’t want to admit?
We will be releasing a Security Special Protection Sheet directly related to this hack. Provided that enough people express interest, we will release this in the last two weeks of December – you can contact us now about this and by the end of this week, we will determine if there’s enough interest. If enough interest exists, you will send a payment next week and the email address you send will receive the protection sheet. The cost of this Security Special Protection Sheet is $559. If there is not enough interest, we will not produce this.
For those with fewer funds, we have The Millionaire Guide To Digital Security. Provided that you take all the advice in the course – including the repetitive points – you will have strong security and better security than some people. However, if you fail to follow even one piece of the advice, you almost guarantee your failure in the end.
You were warned. And you’re being warned again. Most people only pay attention to their returns. Yet without strong security, those returns won’t exist.