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THE ‘GET RICH QUICK’ MYTH: HOW IT CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION

It’s official:  suicide is the biggest killer of men under fifty years old in the United Kingdom.

We men are living with rocketing stress levels in a modern world that demands more and more from us in order to be ‘successful’ in its eyes.

The demand on us to make more money, have bigger houses, provide more for our family, provide more for our second family, impress our friends, impress our neighbours, scale the corporate ladder right to the top rung, own a big company, be great at sports … it never ends.

By the time we reach our fifties, no wonder so many of us are feeling burned out, super-anxious and suffering from full-blown depression.

The problem is, we find it so hard to talk about.  When was the last time you looked around for support from your friends and colleagues?  Did you look at them online to see if you could connect with just one of them, only to find that they’re doing so much better than you?  This one’s off on holiday this week … that one’s just remarried … the other one’s about to launch a new business …

APPEARANCE VERSUS REALITY

Don’t be fooled.  Lots of people have learned how to look wealthier than they truly are.  For one thing, many of them live on credit – racking up debts on cars, homes, designer labels that they’re certain will make them fulfilled.  If not those things themselves, then at least the look of envy in your eyes as they roar past you in their Lamborghinis.

It’s the ‘Appearance versus Reality’ game.  Many men, particularly, have a deep need to appear ahead of the pack – on top, the leader, doing better than you.  What’s more, there’s a brigade of believers in the ‘positive thinking’, “manifestation’ craze of the last thirty years or so.  You know the one:

“If you can conceive and believe it, you can achieve it!”

… which is a nice idea but based so loosely on a mishmash of ideologies that it disappoints more often than not.  Just because you can imagine yourself behind the wheel of a flashy sportscar doesn’t mean that your bank manager can.  Many times, those who jump the gun and wave the credit card on status symbols and ego massages end up losing more than they started off with in the first place.

OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORIES

Of course, you do hear overnight success stories sometimes.  That guy who won the lottery – how about that?  Or your pal from high school who always hated his strict parents but who finally inherited the whole shebang …. We’ve all heard of someone who’s made monster returns on a blessed investment or been awarded a big payout for an insurance claim.

These are the lucky overnighters … or high riskers, as in the case of some of the insurance claimants.  Their stories are spread around on the news and social media, fuelling daydreamers’ imaginations further and causing a lot of mischief.

Because the painful truth is this:

NO ‘GET RICH QUICK’ SCHEME WORKS

I’m sorry to burst that bubble.  There are a few that seem as though they work for a little while, only to show their true, wishy-washy colours a few weeks or months down the line.

History shows that most people who attain significant wealth do so over time.  They have realistic expectations as to how to grow it and learn methodically how to keep it.  It usually involves one or more of the following things:

1)    Years in education – attending college, university and extra courses.

2)    Investing wisely – taking advice, learning about the stock exchange or at least meeting and hiring the best traders and financial advisers.

3)    Growing a business – either starting one or several from scratch or inheriting a family business and building it slowly over years, even generations.

4)    Saving – holding back from splashing out on big treats such as superhuge family homes, expensive yearly holidays and that Lamborghini that sped past you earlier.

Looking at those options, it’s easy to understand why the “Get Rich Quick” myth is so appealing.  None of these methods looks like much fun.  When you remember why you’re committing yourself to a long journey, of course, you need to keep reminding yourself of why you’re taking it.  Where will you be at the end of it?

THE EMOTION OF SUCCESS

Remembering that ‘it’s never just about having money’ is a good start.  Money itself is a just a commodity:  it’s what you can do with it to make you feel good that really counts.

If your dream is to be free of the stress of debt, having money will do that.  If it’s to create as many memorable, fun moments with friends and family in lovely settings all over the world, having money will do that, too.  If it’s to experience the rush of adrenaline every time you put your foot down on the pedal of a flashy sportscar, then money will get you there.

The end result of having money is ruled by our emotions.  No wonder, then, that the way we decide to make it in the first place is driven by them, too.  Entrepreneurs usually have one or more of the following attitudes towards making money when they start out:

  •  “I WANT TO MAKE MONEY EASILY AND FAST.”
    That’s understandable.  The internet and social media in particular are guilty of giving us a false representation of how wealthy the top earners really are.  We see them online in their black ties and tuxedos, surrounded by beautiful people and relaxing in the lap of luxury in all sorts of hotspots with no hint of the debt they’re racking up by their lifestyle.  It’s a reality versus fantasy trap that we fall into when we allow ourselves to be so easily impressed.
  •  “I DESERVE TO BE WEALTHY.”
    That’s forgivable.  It’s not necessarily true, though, given that the vast majority of the world’s population is on the breadline or below it.  However, you’re a product of a modern, affluent society which is constantly telling you that you’re worth it.  What’s more, it even points the finger at you by hinting that if you don’t have it by now it’s because you haven’t been ‘visualising’ hard enough.  In a report by Oxfam, the world’s twenty-six richest people own as much as fifty per cent of the world’s poorest people.
  •  “I’M DESPERATE FOR MORE MONEY!”
    Anybody who’s been significantly in debt will testify to the sense of desperation that accompanies it.  Unless you’re a sociopath, you hate owing money to creditors and will likely be desperate to do anything to get free from the sense of shame it brings.  (Don’t worry – I know you’re not a sociopath – you would have stopped reading this article halfway through the first paragraph if you were.)
    The reality is, though, that you need to make a plan and schedule your growing success over days, weeks, months and years.  Remember:  there is no “Get Rich Quick” fix.

So, don’t believe the hype of everybody else around you, making out as though they’re having such a brilliant time of it.  Inside everyone of us there’s a thread of insecurity.

We need to learn how to talk together as men more in order to stave off the threat of depression that comes from loneliness and silence.  It’s a proven killer – our greatest enemy. Let’s be more honest with each other about how things really are – beyond the “Get Rich Quick” myth.

 

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